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Coyotes Win First NHL Playoff Series in Phoenix, Oust Blackhawks

The Phoenix Coyotes won their first National Hockey League playoff series since relocating to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996, advancing to the second round with a 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

It was the first game in the best-of-seven series that wasn’t decided in overtime, with the Coyotes, the third seed in the Western Conference, winning four games to two.

“It’s the first step of what we want to do,” said Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who has been with the organization since its final season in Winnipeg in 1995-96. “It’s been a little lean for a long time and to get out of that first round is big.”

Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith made 39 saves for the shutout, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson snapped a scoreless game with a power-play goal 13 minutes, 14 seconds into the second period last night at the United Center in Chicago.

Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette and Kyle Chipchura added third-period goals for the Coyotes, who won even though they were outshot by the Blackhawks 39-20. Phoenix advances to face the fourth-seeded Nashville Predators in the second round.

“Winning the first series in franchise history is a huge achievement for our team,” Smith said. “We’ve grown a lot as a group. We have to keep improving. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re finding ways to win games Coyotes-style.”

The St. Louis Blues will play the Los Angeles Kings in the other Western Conference second-round series.

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