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Coyotes edge closer to title

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Smith made 31 saves in another stingy start, helping the Phoenix Coyotes take the Pacific Division lead with a 4-1 victory over the suddenly beatable St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

Patrik Berglund's rebound goal in the first period ended Smith's shutout streak at 234:25 and tied it at 1, but Smith was perfect the rest of the way. The Coyotes won their fourth in a row and extended the Blues' season-worst winless streak to four games in St. Louis' home finale.

Keith Yandle, Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker scored for Phoenix, and Antoine Vermette had two assists. The Coyotes, who've won the last four by a combined 14-1, can win the first division title in franchise history with a victory in the regular-season finale tonight at Minnesota.


Tortorella fined

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella was fined $20,000 by the NHL on Friday for his comments following the team's 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Tortorella called the Penguins "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league" during a profanity-laden tirade that focused on Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik's knee-to-knee hit on Derek Stepan.

"It's a cheap, dirty hit. I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there," Tortorella said, referring to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

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