Coyotes look to stay hot in March

Mar 1, 2012, 11:27 PM | Updated: 11:36 pm

When the month of February started, the Phoenix Coyotes
were mired in a 3-way tie for 10th place in the Western
Conference.

With the month of March now here, the Coyotes are atop the
Pacific Division and in possession of the third seed in
the Western Conference standings.

That’s what happens when you reel off a near-perfect month
like the Coyotes just did.

The ‘Yotes earned 23 of a possible 24 points during the
month and look to continue their winning ways Thursday
night as they host the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena.

Despite their recent success, the Coyotes are staying
humble and focused on the task at hand — earning a third
straight trip to the postseason.

“We know this is going to be a very month for us, it’s
going to be a hard stretch and we’re going to have to
continue to play well to earn a playoff spot,” head coach
Dave Tippett said. “But not just earn a playoff spot,
make sure we’re playing well if we do get that spot.”

You don’t have to be a detective to figure out exactly why
the Coyotes thrived in February. Goalie Mike Smith was
perfect, going 10-0 during the month, which was good
enough to earn him the NHL’s
First Star of the Month

Thursday.

“The key would be ‘Smitty,'” center Martin Hanzal said.
“He was just outstanding last month.”

Defenseman Michal Rozsival believes the team gelled from
top to bottom during February.

“We really realized what’s on the line and everybody
started to focus and play better; everybody contributed,”
he said. “I’ve never been part of anything like that.
It’s definitely something special. It’s a great feeling.”

The Coyotes have won both meetings with the Flames this
season, and you guessed it, both wins happened in
February. The Flames have struggled coming into
Thursday’s game, losing four straight and five out of
their last six.

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