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On This Day [March 18]: Franchise Record Forty-Four

Coyotes' 4-3 shootout win over the Panthers on March 18, 2010 sets a franchise record for wins (44) in a single season

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

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.

BOX SCORE | HIGHLIGHTS

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

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GAME PHOTOS

Traveling Coyotes fans hold a sign along the glass as forward Petteri Nokelainen prepares to cycle through a drill during warm-ups. (Joel Auerbach - Getty Images)

The left side of Ilya Bryzgalov's mask is shown up-close during a stoppage in play on March 18, 2010. (Eliot J. Schechter - NHLI via Getty Images)

Martin Hanzal connects from the short-side slot to score early in the third period. (Joel Auerbach - Getty Images)

Florida's Rostislav Olesz, Kamil Kreps, and David Booth catch their legs on the bench at Bank Atlantic Center on March 18, 2010. (Eliot J. Schechter - NHLI via Getty Images)

Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett looks over his bench during a stoppage in play on March 18, 2010. (Eliot J. Schechter - NHLI via Getty Images)

Lauri Korpikoski stretches just far enough wide to beat Tomas Vokoun against-the-grain in the second round of the shootout. (Eliot J. Schechter - NHLI vis Getty Images)

Ilya Bryzgalov denies Florida's Stephen Weiss with a pokecheck in the third round of the shootout. (Eliot J. Schechter - NHLI via Getty Images)

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VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

  • Martin Hanzal Goal: 2:52 mark
  • Lee Stempniak Goal: 3:12 mark
  • Radim Vrbata Goal: 4:55 mark
  • Lauri Korpikoski SO Goal: 6:19 mark
  • Radim Vrbata SO Goal: 6:39 mark
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