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Coyotes -- Coyotes! -- can climb atop West

Hope all you DirecTV folks are happy now that you have Versus and you can see tonight's Sharks-Wild battle. Yawn. But iIf you have Center Ice, you've got a great night ahead. I'm starting at 7 with Boston at Atlanta and then moving to the 7:30 Philly at Ottawa game.

But the big one is at 8:30 when Phoenix travels to Chicago as the Coyotes -- yes, the run-by-the-NHL Phoenix Coyotes -- can move into first place in the Western Conference with a win. Amazing. The Coyotes have won nine straight while the Blackhawks are just 4-4-2 since the Olympic break. Five of those Phoenix wins are by shootout, including the last three. If they win tonight's game in a shootout, the Coyotes would be the first team in NHL history to do that in four straight games.

San Jose is also skidding, allowing 24 goals in losing all five games on its current road trip, and that's allowed Phoenix to keep climbing the standings.

The Coyotes, of course, got much better at the NHL trade deadline and the acquisition of West Seneca native Lee Stempniak has really keyed their team.  Stempniak has nine goals since joining the Coyotes from Toronto. For those scoring at home, of course, that's nine more than Raffi Torres has since coming to Buffalo from Columbus. Hmmm, that deal seemed like a good idea at the time.

---Mike Harrington


NHL | NHL trade deadline
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |