Ten years ago, the Coyotes were steamrolling through their March schedule.
They'd won six straight and had their eyes on a sweep of a four-game, cross-country Atlantic road trip. Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay -- all vanquished. The Florida Panthers were up next, at the then-titled Bank Atlantic Center on the evening of March 18, 2010.
Seven-straight was the goal, not to mention a franchise record for wins.
It wasn't easy, but a thrilling, 4-3, come-from-behind victory improved the team's record to 44-22-5, surpassing the Winnipeg Jets' 1984-'85 final record of 43-27-10.
That night, the Coyotes found themselves in a 3-0 hole after 40 minutes of play.
Then along came the third period; and in a flash, things changed.
First, Martin Hanzal scored on a power play. Forty-three seconds later, Lee Stempniak tallied with a crafty backhand. Suddenly, it was 3-2, with more than 15 minutes to play.
Then, as the clock wound down to a minute, then less, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov sprinted to the bench for the extra attacker. Right wing Radim Vrbata crossed the red-line and dumped the puck onto the Panther goal.
What happened next was perhaps a gift from the hockey gods - with an assist from some rough, early-spring, south Florida ice.
Vrbata's garden-variety dump-in somehow flummoxed Panther goalie Tomas Vokoun.
And, just like that, it was a tie game with 59.7 seconds left.
With that tying goal, the teams advanced to overtime, though a shootout was needed to decide a winner. Lauri Korpikoski settled down a bouncing puck and snuck it home with a slick move in the second round of that shootout. Vrbata clinched the win with a nifty maneuver to his backhand in the third round.
"We kept pushing and took some chances and they didn't take any chances," then-coach Dave Tippett said. "We were lucky to get some bounces."
For the record, Vrbata scored eight shootout goals during the 2009-10 campaign, a Coyotes single-season mark.
"It was just one of those games where we never quit," Vrbata told reporters after the game. "We came back and it was nice to get that."
One more note: The Coyotes have overcome third-period deficits of three or more goals just three times in club history. The March 18, 2010, win was the second of those instances.
Lead Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach - Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: NHL, Fox Sports Arizona