The Phoenix Coyotes have no control over what happens off the ice, but they’re definitely controlling everything on it after Sunday’s convincing 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Western Conference semi-finals.
After taking care of Chicago in the opening round, Dave Tippett’s team continues to get better and better as the series shifts to Nashville for Game 3 Wednesday.
The team’s success comes as no surprise to someone who’s familiar with the organization.
“No, not at all,” former Coyotes All-Star center, now NHL on NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick told Brad Cesmat Monday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “This team has impressed me all year long. What surprised me most has been the play of [goalie] Mike Smith. This team is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. I’ve been impressed.”
Even with Tippett’s team in the driver’s seat in the series and knowing the Coyotes can win on the road in the playoffs as they proved against Chicago, Roenick said Phoenix can’t get caught looking at the big picture.
“They have to make sure they take it one game at a time,” Roenick explained to Cesmat. “It becomes a two-game series in Nashville. You have to try to steal one of those games. They can’t get too cocky. They can’t get ahead of themselves.”
As for the future of the franchise in Glendale or elsewhere once this magical post-season ride ends, Roenick says the sticking point for the ‘Yotes always comes back to one thing.
“Year-by-year, this team struggles getting fans,” Roenick said. “The fans are going to have to decide if they want a team there and get out there and support it. The team has done their job. They’re winning in the playoffs. They’re giving everybody the opportunity to come to Glendale and watch a hockey game. If it doesn’t work, it’s going to be the fans fault. Period.”
They will drop the puck for Game 3 Wednesday at 6:00 Arizona time.