- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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CHICAGO -- The changing of the guard in the West is now complete.
The Phoenix Coyotes joined St. Louis, Nashville and Los Angeles in the second round of the playoffs; a fresh-faced group signaling not only a new era in the Western Conference but also a change in style of play.
All four teams, to varying degrees, play defense-first systems and win low-scoring games when they're having success.
"I really do think it has a lot to do with team play," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said after Monday's 4-0, series-clinching win. "You look at the way Nashville plays, St. Louis plays, I think that's how you have to win in today's hockey. Probably the best example is the Boston Bruins last year. They were a hard, committed team that just grinded through series and ended up being the Stanley Cup champion."
Much like the Sharks, Blues and Red Wings in these playoffs, the Blackhawks were stymied against the Coyotes, scoring only 12 goals in six games.
LeBrun: The Blackhawks were stymied against Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.