#5- 2012: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes
Apr 7, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Arizona Coyotes right wingShane Doan
(19) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks came into the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a tired group, with 6 of their last 8 games going to overtime, and 5 resulting in a shootout. For the second straight year since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks would finish in the bottom half of playoff teams, this time qualifying for the 6th seed, drawing the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes in the first round.
As it turned out, all that extra-time practice in the final games of the regular season came in handy. The Blackhawks and Coyotes played an NHL-record five consecutive overtime games.
In Game One, the Blackhawks scored the first goal of the series, but were put on the ropes by the Coyotes for the next two-and-a-half periods. However, the final 15 seconds was all Brent Seabrook needed, tying the game as he crept behind the Coyotes’ defense and fired home Patrick Kane‘s rebound into the open net. However, the Coyotes would finish the game less than 10 minutes into extra time, with a Martin Hanzal goal that sent the Coyotes fans into a frenzy.
It was the same story for the second game in the desert, as the Blackhawks took an early lead, but the Coyotes responded quickly. The two teams traded goals, and as time wound down, the Blackhawks found themselves with their net empty, in need of another goal. As luck would have it, Seabrook’s shot was tipped by Patrick Sharp in-front of Mike Smith, and with just 6 seconds left, the Blackhawks silenced the Phoenix crowd with another late game-tying goal. This time around, the Blackhawks wouldn’t let the Coyotes off the hook. Bryan Bickell scored his second goal of the game at 10:36 in OT, resulting in the most memorable sequence of the entire series.
In Game Three, the Blackhawks took a first-period lead again, and this time, it held until the third period. However, three goals in less than 90 seconds, two of which were scored by the Coyotes, sent the game to overtime once again. Mikkel Boedker was the hero, sending Blackhawks fans home grumpy, and giving the Coyotes a 2-1 series lead with his over-time goal.
However, the story of Game Three was Raffi Torres‘ vicious hit to the head of Marian Hossa. Torres was handed the second-worst suspension in league history for the hit; 25 games (it was later reduced to 21). Hossa would miss the rest of the series with a concussion.
The Blackhawks fought to tie the series at home in Game Four, but contrary to the previous three contests, the first goal wasn’t scored until the third period, and it wasn’t the Blackhawks who got on the board first. Shane Doan started the scoring, and the teams again traded goals, including Michael Frolik tying the game with 90 seconds remaining, In overtime, Boedker scored his second straight game-winner, giving the Coyotes the series stranglehold as it shifted back to the desert.
Game Five was all Blackhawks, as Chicago finished the game out-shooting the Coyotes by double, 38-19. However, the score didn’t tell the same story, as it took yet another over-time to solve this one. This time, Jonathan Toews took it into his own hands to extend the series, scoring just two-and-a-half minutes into extra time.
The series shifted back to the Windy City for Game Six, as the Blackhawks tried to fight off elimination in front of the United Center crowd. However, by this time, the Blackhawks’ luck had ran out. Despite almost doubling the Coyotes’ shot total again, (39-20), they could not find the back of the net. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette, and Kyle Chipchura gave the Coyotes more than enough offense, as Phoenix closed out the series with a 4-0 win.
This series saw Bryan Bickell’s emergence as a playoff leader, and the Blackhawks showed flashes of the team that would be the following year, but they were not able to put it all together when it came down to it.