If any team deserves a storybook run in the NHL playoffs, it just may be the Phoenix Coyotes.
They’ve endured a tortuous three-year search for the proper ownership group. They’ve been rumored dead in the desert a number of times, but now, with their ownership situation clarified Monday night, they’re winning hockey games, too. With their latest victory, the Coyotes eliminated the Nashville Predators on Monday night, advancing to the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings.
Three previous ownership deals have fallen through and the latest one, with former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison, may crumble as well, but the announcement of it, coupled with the series-clinching win, made Monday one of the greatest nights in the team’s history.
“It's been hard being a Coyotes fan for a few years, so it's nice to win this one at home,” captain Shane Doan said in an NBC interview after Game 5. ”I had friends and family in the stands, so it's nice to win this for all of them.”
Phoenix has been winning with strong defensive play and stellar goaltending. “Coyote ugly — that’s kind of been the motto here,” said Mike Smith, who has a 1.77 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. “We just find a way to win.”
How much farther can the Coyotes go?
“We don't have the superstars,” Smith said. “We have a bunch of guys who chip in every night. Different guys [like former Capitals winger Boyd Gordon step up] every night and that's what you need this time of year.”
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