Apr 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) shoots the puck against the Phoenix Coyotes during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
There are always things to work on even if you have the #1 seed clinched, and one of those things for the Blackhawks has to be the power play. The Hawks broke through on the power play twice last night against the Predators and the momentum didn’t let up in the first period against the Coyotes. On their second power play of the first period Nick Leddy put a perfect pass on the stick of Brent Seabrook who blew one past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. It almost felt like Chelsea Dagger was still playing when Rostislav Klesla from almost center ice shot one in on Crawford and it somehow found the back of the net. There are bad goals, there are soft goals, and there are goals that just can’t happen and a goal from almost 100 feet out just can’t happen. Something else that can’t happen is turning the puck over in your own end like Marcus Kruger did to set up the second Coyotes goal this one by Radim Vrbata. One thing that did remain strong for the Hawks was the penalty kill which stopped both Coyote power plays of the period. Brandon Saad and the #1 line had a lot of chances but didn’t cash in and the horn sounded with the Coyotes leading 2-1 after 1 period.
The top line continued their offensive attack on Mike Smith for long stretches of time with lots of chances but no success. Bryan Bickell finished off two checks which has been rare the last few games and drew a high stick penalty from Antoine Vermette and the Hawks cashed in on the power play. Patrick Kane made an incredible pass to a wide open Brent Seabrook who didn’t miss on his second goal of the contest. The United Center broke out in Happy Birthday to celebrate Seabrook’s 28th birthday. The biggest check of the night was delivered by Viktor Stalberg unfortunately he put it on Nick Leddy. The Coyotes had two very unsuccessful powerplay chances in the period and hardly tested what seemed like a shaky Crawford by only getting 4 shots on goal in the 2nd period which ended tied at two.
The only difference between the third period and the first two is that the Coyotes outshot the Hawks for the period 15-8. Hossa, Toews, and Saad did everything but score a goal in the contest and the penalty kill stopped every chance the Coyotes had (5) Both teams had their chances but Mike Smith played well all night long for the Coyotes, and after a shaky 1st period Corey Crawford stood tall the rest of the contest. The game went to overtime and a shootout with David Schlemko scoring the deciding goal in the shootout.
The Coyotes escape Chicago with the much needed two points and their faint playoff lives still alive The Hawks played hard in a meaningless game and still managed a point against a desperate team.
The Hawks next contest is Monday night in Vancouver the puck drops at 9pm Central time. Only four more of these games left until the real season starts!