The Coyotes beat the Kings in Game 4 in Los Angeles on Sunday, avoiding elimination and forcing the Kings the put the brooms back in the closet, winning 2-0. It followed the same recipe we've seen from the Coyotes all postseason that brought them to this point.
They were doubled up in shots in the first period 10-5 yet they were up after one period 1-0 thanks to a Shane Doan goal. It came on the power play after what I can safely call a questionable interference call against L.A.'s Justin Williams. Seconds later Doan was walking the goal line and putting a nasty backhand shot top shelf.
Frankly, it wasn't a good call -- on the penalty to Williams, I mean. But the Coyotes made it a moot point as the game wore on.
That's because the Coyotes hung tough and so did Mike Smith. Doan scored another goal in the second period that went in and out so quickly that play didn't stop. That was all they would need as Smith was once again the goalie Nashville and Chicago grew to dread this postseason. He made 36 saves on the day while his counterpart Jonathan Quick stopped just 19.
It's not a way that most would suggest a team plays, but that's the Coyotes' game. They got back to it for the most part on Sunday, doing a better job with the L.A. forecheck and allowing the Kings into the scoring zones too often. When they did Smith took care of the rest.
Of course you are probably thinking there's a fine line between the recipe the Coyotes cook with and being dominated. There is. But the whole key is keeping the scoring chances down. Other than a short-handed breakaway for Trevor Lewis, the Kings didn't have a tremendous amount of golden opportunities in the game. That makes life on a goaltender much easier, obviously.
The next question; is that sustainable? Phoenix has been winning on its heels all postseason but L.A. hasn't allowed them to do that, well the Kings hadn't allowed them do that until Sunday. It doesn't seem like a sustainable way to play if they want to come back and make this a series.
You certainly don't want to overstate what winning this game means. Yes, it means that they stay alive in the season but the challenge is still as tough as it was to look at the Coyotes' future in Phoenix just a few months ago. They face a near impossible task here.
But this is the part where the players will spit out the clichés at you. Just take it one day at a game, only being focused on tomorrow, etc.
And you'll remember the Kings have been here before. They won the first three games against the Canucks in the first round before dropping Game 5 at home. Los Angeles came back out and took Game 5 to advance. So the point is, all this win does for the Coyotes right now is put their foot in the door, not letting it slam.
At least it means that the Coyotes get to come home once again to play in front of their fans.