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Coyotes magical season comes to abrupt end

By Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

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Coyotes magical season comes to abrupt end
Phoenix falls short of ultimate goal, but fans show appreciation.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Coyotes came to Game 7 expecting to weather another first-period storm from the Detroit Red Wings.
 
But the storm lasted all night, and washed the courageous Phoenix team right out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in a 6-1 final that wasn't as close as the final scored indicated.
 
"It was more like a hurricane that a storm," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.
 
Before it was over, the Red Wings had put 50 shots on shell-shocked goalie Illya Bryzgalov -- who stopped all 17 in the first period, but couldn't stop them all in the second and third periods. The Red Wings scored on breakaways, from set plays, off rebounds -- even once in the third period by Nicklas Lidstrom while teammate Henrik Zetterberg was collecting a beer bottle that had been tossed on the ice.
 
"They were playing unbelievable," said Bryzgalov who finished with 44 saves. "You can say we didn't play well enough, we made too many mistakes ... but they were unreal tonight."

The Coyotes registered on the Unreal Scale, too, in this series.
 
"We're proud of what we did, we're just disappointed in the way it ended." defenseman Derek Morris said. "That's a good team, a world-class team and we pushed them to seven. It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but we believed we could win the game. Guys played as hard as they could, they were just better than us tonight."

As if they were angered by having to make an extra trip to Arizona to finish off the Desert Dogs, the Red Wings brought their A-game out when it mattered most and dominated in every aspect.
 
"They were relentless and when their top players played like that, the whole group jumps right in," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We had no answer no matter what we were doing … they just turned it up another level that we couldn't get to."
 
It was a tough way for Phoenix's Cinderella season to end, with captain Shane Doan missing his fourth straight game with a separated shoulder and a sold-out crowd totally taken out of the game by not only Detroit's offense -- but their defense.
 
If not for a did-you-see-that goal by Vernon Fiddler, who scored directly off the face-off to cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period, the last WhiteOut of 2010 would have been a whitewash.
 
"We talked about getting pucks on net and Tipps said 'Just put in on net off the draw.' " Fiddler said. "I didn't even know it went it. We'll take it, but at the end of the day we didn't get enough of those."
 
The Coyotes had 33 shots in the game. The Red Wings had 22 in the second period, scoring four times including a Brad Stuart breakaway with five seconds left before intermission– right after the Coyotes failed to get even token pressure during 70 seconds with a 5-on-3 advantage."
 
There were still 20 minutes left to play, but it was little more than a countdown.
 
With the clock ticking down, the fans who stayed to the bitter end rose as one and saluted the team -- which started the season with longshot prospect to not only make the playoffs, but not the best of odds to stay in Arizona -- with a standing ovation. As the played shook hands at center ice, the fans chanted "Let's Go Co-yotes," prompting the team to raise their sticks en mass in recognition before leaving the ice.
 
"(The sendoff)  makes you want to come back that much more next year and go even farther,"  Fiddler said. "I think it gives you a sense that hockey is back in the desert."
 
Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle agreed, "The whole city came together and the fans did a great job of supporting us. We wish we were getting that ovation for hoisting the Stanley Cup, but it was still awesome to hear."


Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic