COLUMBUS, Ohio - The buzzword floating around the Coyotes this weekend is resiliency.
Bob Francis talked about it. Captain Shane Doan talked about it. The media were talking about it.
With good reason.
After winning just one game in an 11-game stretch, the Coyotes were staring Stanley Cup contenders Colorado and Dallas in the face. A hard fall was almost a foregone conclusion.
Instead, Phoenix rallied from third-period deficits to gain an overtime win against the Avalanche on Thursday and a tie Friday in Dallas. In its last four games, Phoenix has earned six points while pulling within a game of .500.
Even the dark clouds and rain Saturday in Columbus could not dampen the team's mood as a number of players went to watch the Ohio State-Purdue football game.
“When we went for nine games without winning, I think everyone just expected us to putter away, but they don't know the great group of guys we have in the locker room. We expect more out of each other," Doan said with conviction. “There's real chemistry on this team. You've got different groups, but we all get along and that's huge."
Perhaps more so than critics imagine. Phoenix may not have the talent to contend for a championship, but its energetic core of players may be too young or too ignorant to know this team isn't supposed to make the playoffs.
The coaching staff seems more than willing to harness that raw energy and ride it as far as it will carry it.
“All you can control is your actions," Francis said. “One thing we've been consistent with is effort, and you can't say our games are not exciting."
Of late, they're also producing positive results.
“It's nice when you get some results," Francis added, “because then you enjoy the process a little bit more."
LOOSE PUCKS: Former Coyote Keith Tkachuk, now with St. Louis, was suspended for three games without pay and will forfeit $365,853.63 for cross checking San Jose's Rob Davison. Tkachuk will miss the Blues' game Wednesday in Phoenix