The Phoenix Coyotes have the entire NHL on notice, as they just ran through the month of February, with the Canucks being the latest victims.
Phoenix was down 1-0 for a good portion of the game, thanks to defenseman Alexander Edler’s power play goal in the first period.
Left winger Ray Whitney would tie it in the third, with his 19th goal of the season. The game would go to overtime, and eventually a shootout.
Whitney would come up big again in the shootout, beating Canucks goalie Cory Schneider with a wrist shot glove-side on the Coyotes first attempt.
Fellow left winger Mikkel Boedker would cement the victory with a goal of his own, as Phoenix slid by Vancouver 2-1, ending the month of February 11-0-1.
“We’ve got some momentum, and we rallied around it this month,” said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. “When you do things right, and everybody contributes the way they can, you can have a good chance at success.”
And success has definitely made its home in Glendale right now.
With the win, the Coyotes maintain a two-point lead over the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division. San Jose beat Philadelphia 1-0 at home last night to keep pace with Phoenix.
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was incredible in goal, stopping 39 out of 40 shots.
“I saw a lot of things, and I think from a goaltender’s perspective that’s important,” said Smith. “I think if I’m not seeing things, then I’m in trouble.”
Tippett had nothing but high praise for his super goalie.
“He’s established himself as a very good No. 1 goaltender in the NHL,” Tippett said. “He’s doing nothing to tarnish that reputation right now.”
It was hard going for the Coyotes for the majority of the game, as the Vancouver defense and Schneider were impenetrable, despite all Phoenix laid at them.
The Coyotes had many chances to score on the power play – they had four power play chances – but came up empty on them all.
It sure wasn’t for lack of trying either. They were just up against a man and a defense that weren’t going to let them score easily, if at all.
“[Schneider] is a heck of a goaltender, and he showed it tonight,” said Smith. “I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get one by him or not, but we were able to do that.”
A new month means new beginnings. But the Coyotes hope to carry the streak into March and beyond.
“That was a heck of a month by any team’s standards,” said Whitney. “We realize that if we work hard, we can compete with the big boys.”
The competition continues on Thursday night, when the Calgary Flames come to town.
Phoenix is quite familiar with this team, as this will be the third time they will have played Calgary in less than a month, thanks to a quirk in the schedule. The other two times they’ve beaten the Flames, including a 4-3 victory in Calgary just six days ago.