With or without Rostislav Klesla, the Phoenix Coyotes have the Nashville Predators backed into a corner in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The upstart Coyotes are up 3-1 in their best-of-seven series and can advance to a conference finals matchup with Los Angeles with a victory over the Predators on Monday night. The Kings completed a four-game sweep of St. Louis on Sunday.
But the Coyotes are mixing confidence with caution. They had a chance to close out their first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks at home but lost in overtime in Game 5. Phoenix went on to a dominating 4-0 triumph on the road in Game 6.
''We're aware it's not going to come easy,'' said Phoenix center Antoine Vermette, who played in the Stanley Cup finals for Ottawa in 2007. ''We've been there just a couple of weeks ago. They're going to play desperate. That's what we saw with Chicago. You've got to come hard. They're not going to give it t...