Skip to content

Top 2012: Remembering the Coyotes’ improbable playoff run

Dec 25, 2012, 8:00 PM EDT

The Phoenix Coyotes have managed to shake off serious financial worries while succeeding on the ice ever since Dave Tippett took over behind the bench in 2009, but the 2011-12 season represented their most improbable run yet.

Instead of sliding after Ilya Bryzgalov took his tiger-fearing act to Philly, the Coyotes advanced beyond the first round for the first time since they moved to Phoenix and made the franchise’s first conference finals appearance.

Let’s take a look back at some of the standout moments from that surprising run.

Hits and ‘Hawks

Phoenix began its run by dispatching the Chicago Blackhawks in a six-game series that will be remembered for a few major storylines:

Prevailing against Predators

Smith went up against Pekka Rinne – aka the goalie who will carry the league’s highest cap hit – and played so well in that five-game series that even Rinne raved about someone who could be Canada’s next Olympic netminder.

While Smith out-dueled Rinne, the Coyotes admittedly capitalized on all the distractions caused by the Nashville Predators suspending Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn during the series.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

A painful ending

Even though Smith continued to play wellenough to break a record – the Coyotes eventually met their match against the Los Angeles Kings.

The series ended in a stunning turn of events in overtime of Game 5. First, Dustin Brown delivered a controversial knee-to-knee hit on Michal Rozsival, angering the ‘Yotes enough to make the handshake line awkward.

Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury didn’t pull punches in debating that check, as you can see:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Just moments later, Dustin Penner ended the Coyotes’ longest playoff run ever with an overtime game-winner.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Even with a finish that likely left a sour taste in the Coyotes’ mouths, the playoffs were still a smash success for the struggling franchise. The team even became a front page story – and it wasn’t because of their money troubles, for once.

Latest Posts
  1. In Bernier, Leafs hope they have a stabilizing force

    Aug 2, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Jonathan Bernier Getty Images

    His newly signed two-year deal is an opportunity for

  2. Looking to make the leap: Nick Ritchie

    Aug 2, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Nick Ritchie Getty Images

    He’s got the size and skill to potentially make an impact.

  3. Under Pressure: Anaheim’s goaltenders

    Aug 2, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    150802_FrederikAndersen Getty Images

    Andersen, Gibson & Khudobin have a combined 27 Stanley Cup playoff games on their resume.

  4. Bernier, Leafs agree on two-year, $8.3 million deal

    Aug 2, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT

    Jonathan Bernier Getty Images

    That will eat up his first year of UFA eligibility.

  5. Anaheim Ducks ’14-15 Outlook

    Aug 2, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five Getty Images

    Can they close to final gap between them and the Stanley Cup?

  6. Erik Haula signs two-year extension with Wild

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:48 AM EDT

    Erik Haula Getty Images

    They avoided an arbitration judgment.

  7. Devils’ Zacha to skip Czech’s world junior evaluation camp

    Aug 1, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Round One 2015 NHL Draft - Round One

    New Jersey is still working on getting the 18-year-old signed to an entry-level contract.

  8. Flyers’ Hakstol flew 4,000 miles to have dinner with Voracek

    Aug 1, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Dave Hakstol Dave Hakstol

    The two met in the Czech Republic to get to know one another.

  9. Nill believes Stars have ‘two No. 1 goalies’

    Aug 1, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    Jim Nill AP

    Lehtonen and Niemi will account for $10.4 million in cap space next season.

  10. No extension on the horizon for Flyers’ Brayden Schenn

    Aug 1, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Brayden Schenn Getty Images

    He’s heading into the final year of his two-year, $5 million deal.

  11. Jets partner with ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers

    Aug 1, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    ECHL_-_logo

    Winnipeg was affiliated with the Ontario Reign last season.

  12. Armed with new deal, Galchenyuk expects to have a ‘great year’

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    gal Getty Images

    He signed a two-year, bridge contract worth $5.6 million on Thursday.

  13. Arbitrator awards Marcus Johansson $3.75M contract

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    That’s close to the middle between his and Washington’s requests.

  14. Maloney: RFA Domingue will play in Europe

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    Louis Domingue Getty Images

    The decision surprised Arizona’s general manager.

  15. Siegenthaler signs entry-level contract with Caps

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

    Jonas Siegenthaler Getty Images

    The defenseman spent the 2014-15 campaign in the Swiss League.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (2334)
  2. J. Toews (1742)
  3. L. Couture (1550)
  4. G. Bettman (1533)
  5. C. Wilson (1501)
  1. B. Gionta (1498)
  2. A. Chiasson (1432)
  3. N. Bonino (1396)
  4. E. Fehr (1376)
  5. A. Larsson (1131)