Hawks-Coyotes: Three Stars for Game 4Continue reading.
Blackhawks 4, Coyotes 3: Bickell wins Game 2 in OT with second goal
By Ben Meyer-Abbott
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Blackhawks left it to the last momentum again. This time they were able to get the victory.
Faced with falling behind to the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 in their first-round playoff series, Patrick Sharp deflected a shot from Brent Seabrook past Mike Smith (46 saves) with 5.5 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 2 and send Game 2 of the series to overtime.
Bryan Bickell then scored 10:36 into overtime to tie the series at 1-1. It his second goal of the game and the first overtime game-winner of his career.
The late dramatics came after the Blackhawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford (30 saves) for the extra attacker with just over a minute for the second consecutive game. Seabrook sent Game 1 of the series on Thursday to overtime with a goal with 14.2 seconds left in the third period of that game.
Before the game, the Hawks had talked about how important it was not to return to the United Center for Game 3 on Tuesday in a 2-0 hole in the series.
“It’s huge,” Kane said. “You never want to go down 2-0, and if we split here and go back home with a 1-1 score I think it’s probably in our advantage going back to our building. We know how well we’ve played there this year and what kind of crowd (we have), they give us a huge boost back at home.”
The series also took a giant leap in intensity in the second period when Andrew Shaw appeared to use his shoulder to strike the head of Coyotes’ Mike Smith while the Coyotes’ goalie was handling the puck behind his net.
Smith remained down on the ice for several minutes while a scrum ensued around Shaw. Smith did not miss any game-time and returned to his crease after receiving attention for the Phoenix medical staff.
Shaw, whose hit in Game 1 on Radim Vrbata caused the Coyotes’ star forward to miss nearly all of that game, received a five-minute major penalty for charging and was assessed a game misconduct.
Antoine Vermette scored his second power-play goal of the game to give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead they would take into the second intermission.
Raffi Torres also scored for Phoenix, who said beforehand they were expecting the Hawks to play with more desperation in Game 2.
“Absolutely, it’s the playoffs, you got to get 100 percent from the team every night,” Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said before the game. “It doesn’t matter if you’re up one, or down one, you got to expect them to come hard.”
The Hawks much-maligned power play gave them an early lift. Though, not from the unit they would have expected.
Coach Joel Quenneville loaded the Hawks’ No. 1 power play unit with the team’s top stars before the start of the playoffs in an effort to jolt it to life.
But it was the Hawks’ less talked about second-unit that gave them an early 1-0 lead when Bickell punched in his first goal of the game just over four minutes into the first on a rebound on a shot from Johnny Oduya with three seconds remaining on their first man-advantage.
The top power play unit of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook did look much better than Game 1 prior to Bickell’s first goal.
Quenneville elected to change the Hawks’ lines in response to Vermette’s goal with Toews centering Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg and Kane at center between Hossa and Andrew Brunette.
Brandon Bollig scored his first NHL goal to tie the game at 2 in the second. Bollig had no goals in 18 regular-season games this year.