GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Mike Smith stopped 32 shots and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Monday night to earn their first trip to the Western Conference finals.
The Coyotes learned earlier in the day that a tentative deal with a new owner had been reached.
They followed up with another tight victory, withstanding a late goal by Nashville’s Colin Wilson to reach the conference finals for the first time in 33 years as an NHL franchise.
Derek Morris and Martin Hanzal each scored and Smith nearly had an empty-net goal to set off a raucous celebration in the desert. The Coyotes will face the Los Angeles Kings, the first No. 8 seed to knock off Nos. 1 and 2 in the same playoffs.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.