Most Memorable Arizona Coyotes Moments
Since relocating from Winnipeg, the Arizona Coyotes haven’t exactly been a heavyweight NHL franchise. The team has never reached the Stanley Cup Finals and even winning a playoff series has been a rare occurrence. However, fans in the desert continue to grab Arizona Coyotes tickets because the franchise has had a tendency to surprise fans with triumphs and memorable moments from time to time. To prove that Arizona Coyotes single game tickets are worth the price of admission, here are some of the most memorable Coyotes moments.
Brian Boucher’s Shutout Streak
While team success has been somewhat lacking for the Coyotes, they’ve had a few players achieve greatness. One such accomplishment came from goalie Brian Boucher during the 2003-04 season. Over the span of five and a half games, Boucher set the modern-day NHL record for the longest shutout streak. The previous record was held by Bill Durnan at 309 minutes and 21 seconds. On January 9, 2004, Boucher passed that mark, which had stood for over 50 years. Two days later, Boucher finally conceded a goal, setting the new record at 332 minutes and one second.
Coyotes Win First Division Title
It took them 15 seasons to do it, but in 2012, the Coyotes finally won their first division title in franchise history. After a sluggish March, the Coyotes found themselves in a tight race with the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings for the top spot in the Pacific Division coming down the stretch. Fortunately, goalie Mike Smith gave the Coyotes three consecutive shutouts in late March and early April, including one against the Sharks. Behind Smith, the Coyotes were able to win their final five games of the regular season, finishing with 97 points, putting them one point ahead of the Sharks and two points ahead of the Kings. It was a tight race, but the Coyotes came out on top, setting the stage for a memorable run in the playoffs.
Shane Doan’s Hat Trick
Shane Doan is arguably the best player in franchise history. However, late in his career, Doan had 38 games in which he scored two goals but failed to register a hat trick. At the time, he was considered one of the best players in NHL history to never record a hat trick and was quickly approaching the record for most two-goal games without getting a third. However, that finally came to an end on January 7, 2012.
With the Coyotes skating with a comfortable 4-1 lead in the third period, coach Dave Tippett continued to give Doan ice time and his teammates went out of their way to get him the puck. After Doan missed one scoring chance after another, he finally beat New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov with less than a second on the clock. The goal was so late that it needed to be reviewed, forcing Doan and every Coyotes fan to wait a little longer before it became official. In the end, the goal counted and Doan was able to feel a tremendous weight lifted off his shoulders.
Mike Smith’s Goaltender Goal
Not many hockey goalies have ever scored a goal, but longtime Coyotes netminder Mike Smith is one of them. The special occasion happened on October 19, 2013, while the Coyotes were hosting the Detroit Red Wings. With time running out and the Coyotes holding a 4-2 lead, Smith made a save with five seconds left on the clock and quickly launched the puck toward Detroit’s open net. The puck traveled the length of the ice and passed over the goal line with .1 seconds left on the clock. There was just enough time for Smith to be credited with the goal in a 5-2 win in a game that the Coyotes once trailed 2-0. There are some who consider Smith’s goal the best moment in Coyotes history.
“Everything has to work right and the clock has to slow down at the right time in the game to let it trickle over the line,” Smith said of the goal. “It was just a bonus to a great win.”
Playoff Win Over Blackhawks
The 2012 season was a banner year for the Coyotes, and one of the reasons is the first playoff series win in franchise history. In 14 previous seasons since the move to Phoenix, the Coyotes reached the playoffs seven times, losing in the First Round all seven times. That trend finally changed in 2012, although it was far from easy. The first five games of the series all went to overtime, becoming just the second playoff series in NHL history to do that. A few brilliant performances from goaltender Mike Smith helped the Coyotes survive those tense overtime battles. Finally, the Coyotes were able to seize control of the series in Game 6, winning in Chicago 4-0 to clinch the first playoff series victory in franchise history.
Coyotes Reach Western Conference Finals
To date, the greatest team achievement in Coyotes history is reaching the Western Conference Finals during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Coyotes advanced past the Nashville Predators in the Conference Semifinals in five games, although the series was a lot closer than it seems. The Coyotes needed an overtime goal from Ray Whitney in Game 1 to jump out to a lead. After taking a 2-0 series lead for the first time in franchise history, Nashville took Game 3 to tighten things up. But the Coyotes responded with a 1-0 win in Game 4 thanks to a goal from Shane Doan before returning home to win a close 2-1 battle in Game 5, clinching the series. Unfortunately, the Coyotes were out-classed by the Kings in the Western Conference Finals, losing in five games.