On that memorable night back in 1987, the franchise was then located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a city approximately 1,364 miles away from Phoenix and a full 180 degrees different in every regard. Since then, a lot of time has passed; not a single NHL player, much less a Winnipeg player, from that date in time is still a part of the league today.
And after the club's move to the desert in 1996, the Coyotes—recently mired in a literal dust storm of financial instability and lack of support—had been eliminated in the first round in each of their seven postseason appearances.
Until this week.
Now, the 'Yotes can build on their long-awaited playoff triumph and look forward to facing a team with a story much like theirs—the Nashville Predators—beginning Friday night. They'll surely be underdogs, as always, in that matchup, but don't expect Phoenix to roll over when merely given the back of the hand.
Backed by an emerging superstar goaltender and an extremely well-traveled and well-balanced crew in front of him, the Coyotes maintain strong reasons to legitimately believe that they can win the Stanley Cup this spring.
Still not jumping on the bandwagon? We can't blame you. But while the rest of the hockey world continues to ignore a dark horse hidden in the shadows, here are five key rationales why, against all odds, Phoenix might just have the slimmest of chances to capture the Cup come June.