Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/24/12 at 12:18 PM ET
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
The cheers and applause slithered under the locker-room door and into the bowels of the United Center.
After a history that’s included six consecutive seasons of not making the playoffs and seven first-round exits, the Coyotes on Monday pushed their way into the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since the franchise moved to the Valley, earning a 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” goalie Mike Smith said. “For a guy like Shane (Doan) to play as long as he has and to not get through the first round just shows how hard it is to actually win in the playoffs, and nothing comes easy and we found ways just to get through.”
The last time the franchise was in the second round was 1987 when the Winnipeg Jets took their first-round series over the Calgary Flames, also by a 4-2 margin.
“It’s a long time,” defenseman Keith Yandle said. “I was born in ‘86, so that’s a long time. We wanted to do it for each other and obviously Doaner and the guys who haven’t been there for awhile. So it’s something special. We’re going to enjoy it.”
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