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Instant Reaction: Oilers say bye to Arizona Coyotes, falling 5-2

Arizona Coyotes Mullett Arena
Photo credit:Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
18 days ago
In the penultimate game of the season, the Edmonton Oilers played a meaningless game for them, losing 5-2. However, to the Arizona Coyotes, the game and the win mean a ton, as the organization will be heading to Salt Lake City.
Forget recapping the game, let’s talk about the Arizona Coyotes. The first time I ever heard about the Arizona Coyotes, then Phoenix Coyotes, I was maybe six or seven. At the time, the greatest player hockey has ever seen coached the team and they played a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. Living in Ottawa at the time, I didn’t get to see a lot of the west teams.
I don’t remember the game, one they won, but it was my first exposure to the organization, and it’s a fairly vivid memory.
Thinking about the fans in Arizona — and yes, they do have fans — my heart is broken for them. The organization called the Phoenix area home for 27 years, and is even the home city of a generational talent, Auston Matthews.
While the attendance numbers haven’t been great in recent seasons, the sport matters to people in the city. Let’s talk about the high point of the franchise in Arizona.

The high point

The franchise in Arizona had many downs as there were constant relocation rumours surrounding the team. However, the team finally won their first playoff series during the 2012 playoffs after seven failed series.
They defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, yes, the team in the midst of a modern day dynasty, four games to two. In the next series against the Nashville Predators, they won in five games, before being stopped by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
 While they averaged the fewest fans at their games during that season, 12,421 fans per game, that building was packed during the playoffs, pulling out an old Winnipeg Jets tradition: The Whiteout.
During the playoffs, Mike Smith played 16 games for the Coyotes, posting an unreal .944 save percentage and a 1.99 goals-against average, along with three shutouts. One of the best playoff performances in recent times.
The team was a low scoring team, as Antonie Vermette and Shane Doan tied for team scoring with just five goals, while the former had 10 points to lead the team. Still, it was a magical run, falling one playoff win shy of making the Stanley Cup Finals. Who knows what would have changed if they made it and maybe even won it?
It took a while to make it back to the playoffs, and they only did so due to the Pandemic during the 2019-20 season, but if there’s one thing that Coyotes fans will remember, it’s that cup run.

Things worth mentioning…

There were some things that happened in this game, of course.
Mattias Ekholm tied his career-high in points in the game, assisting on Sam Carrick’s goal to pick up his 47th point. This matched the 47 points he had in 2018-19, while his 11 goals are already a career-high. He’ll have a chance to surpass it tomorrow.
Warren Foegele continues to build on his career-high in goals, scoring his 20th goal of the season. Contract McLovin’ is going to get paid, and there’s a good chance he’s priced himself out of the Oilers payroll. Hopefully, Foegele continues this in the playoffs.
Philip Broberg picked up an assist on Foegele’s goal, for his first point in 11 National Hockey League games this season. The Oilers need to crap or get off the pot in regards to Broberg – meaning they either need to play him next season (likely trading Brett Kulak), or trade Broberg for an important piece. He can’t play another season in the American Hockey League.
Up next: The Oilers will play their final game of the season on Thursday, as they’ll head to the Mile Hile City for the first time this season to face off against the Colorado Avalanche. Expect Adam “Rockstar” Erne and Sam Gagner to be in the lineup as Connor McDavid and a few others rest.
If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.

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