Same movie, different results in Game 2 as the Chicago Blackhawks rallied from a late deficit to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in overtime and even their Western Conference Quarterfinal series matchup.
“Obviously, disappointed. Frustrated.” a dejected Shane Doan said after the game. “As ugly as it looks, it’s just one game.”
Saturday night followed the script of Game 1at Jobbing.com Arena as the Blackhawks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead when Bryan Bickell fired in a rebound past Mike Smith just over three minutes into the game.
Six minutes later the Coyotes answered when Doan, swinging behind the Chicago net, fired a perfect pass to left-winger Raffi Torres who rifled a shot past Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford to tie it up.
Later in the period, Phoenix grabbed the lead when Antoine Vermette re-directed a Keith Yandle blast from the point. The power play goal was Phoenix’s first of the series as the ‘Yotes went 0-4 in Game 1.
After Brandon Bollig re-tied it at two, the Coyotes and their fans got a scare when center Andrew Shaw drilled a defenseless Smith behind the net. Smith immediately dropped face down to the ice as trainers rushed to his aid. Fans booed as the the hit was re-played in the arena. Shaw received a five-minute major for game misconduct.
“It was a hit to the head behind the net,” Doan said. “We gotta protect our goalie. He’s a competitor. He loves to play.”
The gritty Smith stayed in the game and Phoenix capitalized as Vermette netted his second power play goal of the game off another Yandle assist to give the ‘Yotes a 3-2 lead.
The Coyotes fended off a number of third period rushes from Chicago before lightening struck twice for the Blackhawks when right winger Patrick Sharp scored with just 5.5 seconds to play in regulation. It erased a well-played period the Coyotes dominated until the final minute, eerily similar to Game 1 when the Hawks forced overtime in the closing seconds.
Unlike Thursday, the Blackhawks capitalized on their momentum heading into sudden death and sent the series back to Chicago even at one when Bickell scored his second of night beating Smith in front of the net.
Afterwards, Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett lamented on another late goal allowed in regulation.
“I’m disappointed we had the empty net and didn’t take advantage of it. We had a chance to get it out [of the zone] and we couldn’t get it out. We had a chance to put the game away.
For the second straight game, the Coyotes were outshot (50-33).
Game 3 is Tuesday in Chicago. They will drop the puck at 6:00.