WOW!!! What a perfect ending to a PERFECT Chicago sports day. It all started with Philip Humbert throwing just the 21st perfect game in major league history, the Chicago Bulls beating Dallas to inch closer to the #1 seed in the East, even the Cubs threw in a 6-1 win at Wrigley… All of this was a great appetizer to the 5th straight overtime playoff game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks. Could the night end any other way??? I think not!!!
For only the 2nd time this series the Coyotes scored first which has been bad news for most NHL teams this season since the Coyotes were 32-4-6 when scoring first. The score was by Gilbert Brule beat Corey Crawford on the glove side on a 2-0 breakaway by the Coyotes. The Blackhawks defense man were apparently given a task to do tonight, and that was to pinch every play possible, and the lone Coyotes goal was when the D got caught pinching. The defensive support was good all night though which led to the shot discrepancy of 38-19. Mike Smith was very good in goal stopping a lot of good chances throughout the entire game.
The Hawks power kill was superb for the entire night killing every penalty, and also yielding excellent short handed chances for Marcus Kruger and Patrick Sharp. With all the good the Hawks were doing they were still trailing 1-0 midway through the third period, when Nick Leddy(which played well most of the night) fired a rolling puck past Smith for the Hawks first goal!! Leddy missed another golden chance when he fired the puck over the cross bar with Smith down and out. Overtime was assumed and realized tonight for the 5th straight game!!
Last night I asked for a star to rise to the occasion and guess what… The #1 star on this Hawks team, the Captain Jonathan Toews won a draw to himself, won the puck against the wall and beat Mike Smith for the Game winner!!! Hawks Win Hawks Win at 2:44 of the overtime period, see you in Chicago Monday night at the United Center at 9pm eastern!!
Phoenix has now lost 6 straight game 5!!
Andrew Shaw returns to the lineup Monday night after serving his 3 game suspension.
Corey Crawford was solid all game long! The talk since Thursday night that Ray Emery would replace him was unfounded and really wasn’t necessary. The Hawks would not have gotten to overtime in 3 of the games if it wasn’t for the stellar play of Crawford in regulation.
The Hawks defense man had their best game of the series. Maybe being more aggressive all night into the offensive end helped their defense or maybe it was just not having Ole Man O’Donnell out there! Finally I was happy with the roster Coach Q put on the ice tonight. Without Raffi Torres out there the rest of the series (and a lot more after that!!) I see no need to have Brandon Bollig out there again!
The Hawks need to ride this momentum into Game 6 and not let up and keep firing pucks at Mike Smith and maybe get a few more bodies in front of him! No handshakes tonight and lets hope for no handshakes Monday night! Use the greatest home ice advantage in the NHL to our advantage and take this series back to the Desert where the pressure of not dropping another series that they led 3-1 could be suffocating for these Coyotes!!
A perfect ending tonight.. Let’s repeat perfection two more times!
Let’s Go Hawks!!!!