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On This Day [April 27]: Whitney's Winner

The Coyotes' 2012 playoff run continued with another overtime thriller in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-final

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

On this day in 2012, the Coyotes won their first-ever second-round postseason game, and did so in dramatic fashion.

Ray Whitney scored 14:04 into overtime to secure a Game 1 win over the Nashville Predators in the 2012 Western Conference semi-finals, in front of a home sellout crowd of 17,187.


It was business as usual for that Phoenix club, which played in five overtime games in its first-round defeat of Chicago.

The Coyotes became the first team in NHL history to have six of its first seven playoff games extend past regulation.

Nothing came easy.

"We do everything the hard way," Whitney said. "There's certainly nothing easy about what we're doing right now." 

Whitney chipped the game-winning goal past Pekka Rinne to execute a set play that was initiated by Martin Hanzal's face-off. Hanzal's faceoff skills had sparked the Coyotes' Game 1 victory in the prior series.

Mike Smith made 39 saves for the second consecutive game. The Coyotes were outshot 42-24.

"It's important to start off a series with a big win," Smith said. "More importantly, to win at home, so obviously it's a big, big win for our team and we need to keep pushing forward and keep improving every game."

The Coyotes led three times during regulation with goals from Radim Vrbata, Rostislav Klesla, and Mikkel Boedker. The Predators clawed back each time, including the game-tying goal with less than five minutes remaining. 

Despite surrendering a third period lead - something the Coyotes had done on four occasions in their previous series against Chicago -- Phoenix survived for yet another win. The team was 33-1 during the regular season when leading after two periods.

"We're fortunate to get the first one under our belt," said head coach Dave Tippett. "But if we expect to have a chance to win this series, we're going to have to be far better than that."

Lead Photo Credit: Christian Petersen - Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Christian Petersen - Getty Images

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