Sports fans live for those special moments that come only a few times per season. Whether it is something they have never seen before or something they could not even imagine. It brings them to their feet in the stands and in their homes and is something they will always associate with that season.
Last year was no different as the Arizona Coyotes completed their first season under new ownership. While it did not end in a playoff run, there were still plenty of memorable moments.
The Five for Howling staff chose eight of their favorite on-ice moments. Now you decide what the moment of the year was. Today's post features a pair of matchups from the top half of the bracket.
(1) Goalie Goal vs. Shiny New Free Agent (8)
The tournament favorite took place on Oct. 19, 2013 as goaltender Mike Smith capped off a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings with a goal of his own. He did it in style too, scoring with one-tenth of a second remaining in the game. Click here to relive the moment in an intentionally dramatic fashion. It was only the 14th time in NHL history that a goalie scored.
The goalie who is constantly accused of playing the puck too much with commentary of "he is not a forward" got the last laugh on this night with his first career, but second professional, goal. Smith scored a goal 11 years earlier in his ECHL and professional hockey debut. He also had a shutout that night (talk about a one-man team!).
Smith's goal may very well have been the second most exciting goal in team history.
Shiny New Free Agent
Lost in the shuffle of Smith's goal, was the strong performance of the new guy in town, Mike Ribeiro. In the same game as the moment above, Ribeiro scored a pair of goals for his first multi-point game as a Coyote in his 9th game with the team. He followed that up with another two-goal performance three nights later against the Calgary Flames, including the game-winner.
Through 10 games with his new team, Ribeiro scored five goals and nine points and appeared well on his way to earning that four-year, $22 million contract he signed in the offseason. Unfortunately, the story did not end well and that puts a damper on this moment, but let's not forget how exciting back-to-back multi-goal games inside Jobing.com Arena were.
(4) Hot Start vs. New Year's Eve Magic (5)
When the clock struck triple zeros on Nov. 16, 2013, the Coyotes found themselves with a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and owners of the third best record in the entire NHL (14-4-3). The game also featured Connor Murphy's first career NHL goal. Everything was coming together for the team with new owners.
The high would not last as the Coyotes would go on to play below .500 hockey (23-26-12) and miss the playoffs. But, that does not take away from the moment as the Coyotes displayed how tough they can be when they are clicking on all cylinders (and a high PDO).
New Year's Eve Magic
With the exception of the goalie goal, the New Year's Eve OT winner was arguably the goal of the year for the Desert Dogs. It capped off a rally from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. The game-winning goal, Keith Yandle's second goal and third point of the night, sent the crowd home happy with the new year just hours away.
The goal was a spectacular mix of speed and skill, showing off Yandle's best assets. Put this video on loop because you would be hard-pressed to find a fancier goal than that pulled off by a Coyote in the last couple seasons. The fact that he did it on Ilya Bryzgalov only makes it sweeter.