Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
There feels as if there needs to be a happy ending to this story. In a season that began with so much promise and potential Stanley Cup dreams dancing in their heads like sugarplums, it has ended with an unsatisfying consolation prize.
Snapping their crippling seven game losing streak, the Coyotes finally found a way to sneak out a win against a perennial playoff contender; it just came way too late. In what was supposed to be one of the biggest nights in Coyotes franchise history, will come and go with a passing glance.
For the rest of time, it will always read that the final game the “Phoenix” Coyotes played was won by a score of 2-1 in front of 15,146 at Jobing.com Arena. The next time the maroon and white take to the ice, they’ll be your Arizona Coyotes.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Dallas took the ‘Yotes final playoff spot, they may also take the cake on the best sweaters in the league. Admittedly, the Coyotes have some of the finest gear you can find, but that stoic green color the Stars employ is top notch. For at least one night though, Phoenix found their way to be on top.
Things initially appeared to be more of the same. Just about two and a half minutes into the game, Colton Sceviour battled and scraped with Thomas Greiss to punch in a power-play goal that redefines taking a lucky bounce. Greiss executed a near flawless poke check, yet the puck unluckily rolled to his right, with Sceviour astutely keeping his stick in the area to slam it home.
The shots on goal would not continue. For the night, Dallas only managed 17 shots in the direction of Greiss. While the game had zero bearing on much of anything for the Stars, it’s hard to imagine they took the ice without actually trying. As maligned as Greiss was at the back end of the season, he performed as admirably as one could in the absence of Mike Smith.
For the second consecutive night, Shane Doan didn’t feel like waiting very long into the period to hammer home a goal. On Sunday night, it took him just 31 seconds to knot the game back up at one on his 23rd goal of the year. Earning the game’s first star and the admiration of all in attendance, Doan was as exemplary of a captain as one can ask for.
Embroiled in a stalemate for the remainder of the game, it appeared overtime was the fate destined for both on this historic evening in Coyotes history. That is, until Martin Erat delivered one of the finer passes of the season. Delivering a fantastic, change of direction pass to David Moss, the crafty veteran took advantage and beat Stars’ goalie Tim Thomas stick side with just over two and a half minutes remaining in the contest to cinch it for Phoenix.
While the win temporarily soothes the gaping wound left by a late season collapse, it’s also a time to reflect back on the terrific season the ‘Yotes had. It’s a fair question to ask “What if?” when it comes to the health of Mike Smith but that’s all it will ever be. The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are going to occur with the Phoenix Coyotes sitting at home on their couch.
The season began with a home win against a playoff team (the New York Rangers) and it ended with a home win against a playoff team (the Dallas Stars). Things do come full circle, and hopefully for the Arizona Coyotes, the name change will spark a new tradition of winning hockey out in the desert.
My initial plan has been to do a “Top 10 Moments” Countdown type of post and I will stick to it. The date of it cannot be set in stone, but it will be coming in the near future.
In addition to that, all off-season, Heat Waved will be your primary go-to source of coverage for your new Arizona Coyotes. Everything from free agent signings, to trades, to juicy gossip surrounding the club, you’ll be informed as soon as we hear any information. We look forward to welcoming you back in just a few short months as we begin a new season filled with hope and promise.