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On This Day [April 23]: Series Clincher

The Coyotes eliminated the Blackhawks in Game Six of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

On this day in 2012, the Coyotes won their first playoff series in team history, eliminating the Blackhawks in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The series had hinged on overtime; the first five games extended past regulation. But the Coyotes made short(er) work of Chicago in the clincher with a 4-0 win.


Mike Smith recorded his first-ever postseason shutout in outstanding fashion. The goaltender, who recorded eight shutouts in the regular season, made 39 saves to stymie the Blackhawks.

"He was unbelievable," said captain Shane Doan. 

"He was awesome … we expect him to play the way he has," said Keith Yandle. 

"It was just one of those games when pucks were hitting me," Smith said. "Our guys were doing a good job to get rebounds and tie guys up after their shots. It was just the rhythm of the game, it seemed like."

Smith recorded 229 saves during the six-game series.

Second-year defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson broke a scoreless tie with 7:46 left to play in the second period when he hammered home a long power-play slap shot through traffic. It was his first playoff goal.

Ekman-Larsson's tally proved to be the game-winner. Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette, and Kyle Chipchura provided insurance goals in the third period.

The Coyotes won all three away games in the series, and posted a perfect 5-0 record that year at the United Center. The record included a pair of regular season wins. 

The series win was the first for the franchise since the 1986-87 Winnipeg Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers in six games in the Clarence Campbell Conference semifinals.

Lead Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: NBC Sports Network, CNBC

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