With a strong 4-3, come-from-behind win in sudden death overtime against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to conclude their preseason, the Phoenix Coyotes gained some much needed momentum heading into the regular season, where the race to Lord Stanley's Cup begins Wednesday in Vancouver, British Columbia.
No more pointless games will be played this year as an 82-game regular season marathon is awaiting and the Coyotes players are looking forward to it.
"The intensity is definitely going to pick-up starting Wednesday," said defenseman Paul Mara. "It's for real as we work our way to the playoffs and Lord's Stanley's Cup."
Captain Shane Doan has been with the Phoenix Coyotes organization for ten years and can't wait for the regular season to begin.
"We can't wait to get it going for real," said Doan. "It's been a long training camp and after eight exhibitions, to play for real is going to be nice."
Veteran forward Mike Ricci is prepared to begin his 15th season of NHL duty and is optimistic about the Coyotes chances in 2005-06.
"Its anticipation, looking forward to the start of the regular season, "said Ricci. "Tonight was a better effort by us and we need to build on it."
Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky was pleased with his club's effort on Friday night and the momentum it will bring the Coyotes as they start the regular season.
"It was a nice strong effort," said Gretzky. "To get a win heading into Wednesday's game with a little bit of confidence is key."
After an extended time off since the conclusion of the 2003-2004 season, the Coyotes are eager to return to the ice and begin a new chapter of Coyotes history; a chapter that begins Wednesday night in Vancouver.