Coyotes knew they’d be contenders — in February

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While it largely flew under the radar, what Phoenix accomplished in February turned the entire season around.

The Coyotes went 11-0-1 during the month and developed a penchant for playing — and winning — tightly-contested games:

Feb. 4 vs San Jose: 5-3 win
Feb. 5 vs Detroit: 3-1 win
Feb. 7 at Dallas: 4-1 win
Feb. 9 vs. Calgary: 2-1 win OT
Feb. 11 vs. Chicago: 3-0 win
Feb. 13 at Vancouver: 2-1 loss SO
Feb. 16 at Los Angeles: 1-0 win
Feb. 18 vs. Dallas: 2-1 win OT
Feb. 21 vs. Los Angeles: 5-4 win SO
Feb. 23 at Calgary 4-3 win SO
Feb. 25 at Edmonton 3-1 win
Feb. 28 vs. Vancouver 2-1 win SO

Shane Doan said it was during February the team believed it could take on all comers.

“Everybody kind of thought we could beat anybody now,” Doan told the Arizona Republic. “We really did. We thought we could beat anyone. That was probably the first step.”

The similarities between this playoff run and the run through February are mirror-like. Outstanding goaltending from Mike Smith? Check. Effective penalty kill? Check.

Balanced scoring? Big check. In 12 February games, the Coyotes got goals from 14 different players, including Derek Morris (one of his two on the year), Boyd Gordon and Kyle Chipchura.

Through 11 playoff games, 13 different players have scored at least once — that includes Gilbert Brule and Antoine Vermette, who have combined for seven after scoring eight in the regular season.

“You count on so many different guys, and so many different guys are the heroes every night,” Doan said. “It makes it fun.”