Phoenix Coyotes Preseason Countdown: 21 Days

Christian Petersen

With three weeks to go before the first preseason game of the 2013-14 season, we go back to one of the more entertaining quirks in last year's schedule.

A home-and-home series are fairly common in today's NHL. What is far less common is what happened to the Phoenix Coyotes in their 21st game of the 2012-13 season. That was game one of what became a three game mini-series against the Anaheim Ducks.

Coyotes fans may have gotten a strange sense of déjà vu out of seeing their team play the same opponent twice in a row at Jobing.com Arena, but the Coyotes decided to double down on the weird vibes. Phoenix won both home contests in eerily similar fashion; the Coyotes conceded the first goal, scored the next two, gave up two more, and then alternated goals until they went into OT tied 4-4. Both games then went to a shootout, where the Coyotes finally prevailed, 5-4 (another fun fact, Steve Sullivan scored both times as the third shooter).

Things finally got more familiar as the Desert Dogs followed the Ducks to the Honda Center to wrap up the series. Jason LaBarbera played reasonably well, after Mike Smith played the night before, but the torrid offense the Coyotes had in the first two contests must have been left on the tarmac at Sky Harbor, as the Coyotes would be shutout 2-0.

Unfortunately, the excitement that kicked off the month of March would fizzle out as the Coyotes struggled to string wins together. Their 5-7-3 record left too much of a hole for the team to climb out of, and the Coyotes would be forced to watch the playoffs from home. But even if there was no postseason last year, Coyotes fans got a little taste of playoff action thanks to the quirks of the post-lockout schedule.

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