Has Coyotes' confidence taken a hit?

Updated 4/22/2012 10:28 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A 1-0 lead midway through the third period.

A Whiteout crowd in a frenzy over the possibilities.


Cue the sad tuba.

What they had hoped would be a series-clinching performance Saturday night in front of a standing room-only crowd in Glendale turned into a 2-1 overtime loss instead, and now things have changed for the Phoenix Coyotes -- their timetable, their schedule ... their confidence, too?

That uber-relaxed and confident Phoenix team reporters saw Saturday morning suddenly seems more vulnerable after failing to dispose of the Blackhawks in Game 5 in the desert Saturday night.

"I felt confident in our group going into the third period," defenseman Keith Yandle said of the Coyotes, who held a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes to go. "I thought we were going to be able to close it out and shut them down and get the win in front of our home fans ..."

Instead of an historic celebration for winning their first series since moving to Phoenix, it's more talk of the team's playoff history -- particularly going 25 years without a series win -- that's front and center as the Coyotes head back to Chicago for a crucial Game 6 tonight.

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"Regroup, get on the flight, get there, get a good meal and play," Yandle said "That's a good thing that you get to play; you're not sitting around dwelling on it."

But it's hard not to let it creep into the back of your mind, particularly if you're Coyotes captain Shane Doan -- who has yet to win a playoff series in his otherwise illustrious career.

On Sunday, Doan tried his best to downplay the elephant in the room.

"Obviously we haven't won for a long time. I mean that's nothing new," Doan said. "We've had to deal with that. I don't think it's a very big deal for most of the guys ... for the most part the only guy feeling it the most would probably be me.

"Obviously I'd like to get out of the first round of the playoffs, I mean everyone does. We worked hard and got ourselves a 3-1 lead. I'd much rather be in the position we're in."


They'll be facing a Hawks team coming off what coach Joel Quenneville called its best game of the playoffs, capped off by Jonathan Toews' game-winner a couple of minutes into OT.

"I think you can kind of imagine the feeling that they have right now," Toews said of Phoenix. "They didn't want to come back to Chicago. They wanted to end the series right there.

"Every time we can keep pushing this series to another game, I'm sure they're getting that feeling that it's theirs to lose, so we're trying to put all that pressure on them."

The Coyotes realize it's a very simple equation.

"We need to find a way to win one more game," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "The series isn't over. In a best-of-seven you've got to win four games. That's our mindset. I'm sure they're thinking they want to stave off elimination, so that's just the reality of the situation.

"They have a reality of their situation. We have a reality of ours."

The puck drops at 8 p.m.

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