It’s the calm before the storm for the Phoenix Coyotes.
After dispatching the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Semi-Finals in five games, their next task is attempting to slow down the Los Angeles Kings who have rolled through the first two playoff series losing only once.
As the dark ownership cloud continues to hover over the franchise and the City of Glendale, the ‘Yotes have quietly and efficiently gone about their business during this unlikely run to the Stanley Cup.
Many experts believe, once again, Phoenix is the decided underdog against the red-hot Kings but the Coyotes like their chances.
“They’re a very good team,” Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney told Brad Cesmat Wednesday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “We played them very hard. If you look at the regular season records…we were evenly matched. They were tight games, low-scoring games. We know we have our hands full. Hopefully we can find a weakness.”
The series is expected to become quite personal to Valley fans as the Coyotes are faced with the task of eliminating a team from Los Angeles, just as the border state rivalries have blossomed between the Suns and Lakers and more recently, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
“To have success…to build your fan base, you need your natural rivalries,” Maloney explained to Cesmat. “LA is a natural rivalry for us. We should have a rivalry with them. With the Suns and the Lakers there’s no love lost and I think it’s going to be the same with us and the Kings.”
Maloney said the extended break between series has been beneficial to the Desert Dogs as they’ve used this time to re-group both physically and mentally entering the third round of the post-season.
The third-seeded ‘Yotes hold home ice advantage with Game 1 being played this weekend at Jobbing.com Arena.