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Coyotes will enter playoffs rested, healthy

The Coyotes begin the Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday, five
days after they closed out the regular season and won the
Pacific Division with a 4-1 victory in Minnesota.

It was the team’s fifth-straight win and seventh in 10
games.

The Coyotes are playing good hockey but now they rest.

The waiting, said forward Raffi Torres, may not be a bad
thing.

“It’s always nice to get right back in to it, but
I think with these couple of days off it’s also a benefit
to us,” he said.

“Especially us,” joked defenseman Keith Yandle. “We’ve
got some older guys who need the rest: [Ray] Whitney and
[Shane] Doan.”

Only a handful of players took to the ice Monday following
a team meeting; everyone is expected to skate during
practice Tuesday.

“The one thing that we have going for us right now is we
have everybody available to play,” said head coach Dave
Tippett. “Everybody is healthy and available for
selection. We had a few guys battling some minor injuries
but by Thursday we’ll have everybody ready to go.”

Tippett added that included defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who
has played in only three of the last 11 games because a
lower body injury.

The last time the Coyotes enjoyed a break this long was
the last week of January. After six days off, they lost
at home to Anaheim on the 31st but then didn’t lose again
in regulation until March.

“It’s always nice to have some time off,” said Torres.
“It gives you a chance to relax a little bit, let the body
heal up.”