The Coyotes’ last game as a franchise was a 5-2 win over an Oilers team that seemed to be looking ahead

17 days ago
It’s a strange coincidence that the Edmonton Oilers squared off against the Arizona Coyotes for the final time in that franchise’s history, but that was the scene last night at Mullett Arena as fans bid farewell to their team, which will now be moving 1000 km north to its new home in Utah. And in their last game as Coyotes, the home side wrapped things up on a high note, cruising to a 5-2 win over an Oilers team that might have given it their best 75%.


Locked in second place in the Pacific Division regardless of what happened over the final two games, I really don’t care what happens on the scoreboard so long as all of the Oilers made it through the night in one piece. As much as it’s more fun to win than lose, the Oilers have bigger things to play for over the coming month or two than two meaningless points against the Coyotes. Besides, and maybe it’s just me, it almost would have felt dirty to win that game, given how much it meant to the fans in Tempe.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that McDavid and Draisaitl won’t be playing Thursday in Colorado with Sam Gagner and Adam Erne being recalled Wednesday afternoon, and I wish there were more reinforcements coming to take more regulars out of the lineup. I know it’s not a thing that happens anywhere ever, but if the decision were up to me, I would recall the entire Bakersfield Condors lineup and have them play against the Condors to all but guarantee the health of the NHL club’s regulars.


What a weird game to watch. As the night was playing out on my TV, it almost felt like watching a funeral. I guess part of me thought that this saga in the desert was going to go on forever, and I’m almost not comprehending that the team we watched won’t be in Arizona next season. For the second time in nearly three decades, the Jets/Coyotes franchise is on the move.
Then I started thinking about how it’s already been 15 years since the Blackberry guy tried and failed to buy them and how the Coyotes’ fanbase hasn’t had a break from dealing with relocation talk for basically two decades. Having been to Mullett Arena back in February, you understand why the NHL can’t have one of their teams playing in an arena that small, but I naively figured that they’d still find a way to keep the dream alive just as they’ve always done.
Yet, despite seven owners and playing in three different buildings over the course of 28 years, the Coyotes are moving on, and the small but loyal fanbase gets kicked in the pills once again. Instead of watching this talented roster of young talent continue to develop, they’ll watch Ryan Smith move his new toy to Salt Lake City and capitalize on their pain. Pro sports is a cruel business for so many reasons, and last night, Coyotes fans were the latest round of “suckers” left in its wake.


Listen, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m happy that the Oilers lost, but I’m not exactly disappointed that the Coyotes won their last game in franchise history. It was almost like the Hockey Gords had this loss locked in the moment Frank Seravalli broke the news that the team was leaving for Utah. One last win for the home crowd on fan appreciation night? It had to be so, right?
It was almost like the good-guy Oilers knew their role was to be good houseguests and give Coyotes fans a happy ending to what was an otherwise sad evening. I mean, if you’re going to lose your team then the least he opponent can do is let you win the last home game they’ll ever play, right? Of course, I’m right. This loss was written in the stars, my friends, and the last thing any of us should be is concerned with the result.
Besides, as I mentioned earlier, everyone seemed to make it through the night in one piece and that’s what really matters.


-Make it the first 20-goal season of Warren Foegele’s after he sniped a beauty from the slot midway through the third period that beat Connor Ingram top shelf. I wrote about Foegele a couple of days ago, so I’m not going to rehash the reasons why I think he’ll be leaving in the offseason, but I’m absolutely going to miss the guy if he does decide to chase the bag on July 1st.
-It’s getting to the point where I love Mattias Ekholm so much that I almost wish that he’d adopt me. I could join his beautiful Swedish family as a large adult son who happens to be five years older than he is. Can you picture it too? It’s a scene so beautiful that you’d made it a postcard, my friends.
-Philip Broberg was having a fantastic season with the Bakersfield Condors after being assigned earlier in the year, scoring five goals and 35 points in 48 AHL games played. It made sense for the Oilers to give him a look, and I thought he looked mostly fine in the first 16:17 he’s played in the NHL since November 23rd against the Carolina Hurricanes. During the second intermission, Bob Stauffer mentioned that Broberg will likely return to Bakersfield to help the team with their playoff push, but it’s important to see where he’s at with the playoffs kicking off early next week.
-I’m slight concerned about how mediocre the Oilers looked on their two power play chances. Not only did they strike out on the scoreboard, but they didn’t really get many high quality chances either. It wasn’t like they were shooting the lights out and just got goalie’d, but rather it was another night where the PP didn’t quite look like itself.
-I thought Sportsnet did a pretty good job of including season ticket holder and Shane Doan in the broadcast to tell stories about what the Coyotes franchise meant to them and how it feels now that the team is leaving.
-Just because the Arizona Coyotes no longer exist doesn’t mean that I can’t still enjoy the fact that the Oilers won 61.7% of the faceoffs.


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