They fought tooth and nail to reach overtime for the third straight game in what has been an amazing series thus far.
They saw teammate and respected leader Marian Hossa crash down to the ice and get carted away on a stretcher after taking a leaping shot to the head from a very familiar foe -- one Raffi Torres.
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Game 3: Three starsŸ No. 1 star: Rostislav Klesla, Coyotes
A goal and 2 assists, including on the game-winner
Ÿ No. 2 star: Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks
Nearly 34 minutes on the ice, 6 hits, 2 blocks, 1 assist
No. 3 star: Mikkel Boedker, Coyotes
Scored the game-winner and also added an assist
-- Mike Spellman
They survived Phoenix battling back to tie the game in the third period. Twice. In just more than a minute.
They had several good scoring chances in overtime, chances to put the game away and take a 2-1 series lead over Phoenix and feel really good about their chances with Game 4 at home Thursday on the horizon.
Ah, what could have been for the Blackhawks.
But instead Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker somehow sneaks one past Corey Crawford from a tough, tough angle at 13:15 of OT, and suddenly the air's let out a bit, the complexion of the series altered.
"There's no other way to put it; it's a terrible goal," Crawford said. "We dominated overtime. I was feeling good all game long.
"I feel bad I gave them that one after our guys battled in overtime like that.
"That one's definitely on me."
As disappointed as the Hawks were with the loss, they were angrier watching Hossa take that blindside shot from Torres, and then watching Torres go unpunished as Hossa was transported to the hospital.
"I saw his face, and it did not look very good," Duncan Keith said.
"It was a brutal hit," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You can have a multiple-choice question, and it's 'all of the above.'"
And to think it was Phoenix goalie Mike Smith who came into Game 3 as Public Enemy No. 1 among Blackhawks fans, thanks to what many perceived to be quite the overreaction by him following a collision with Andrew Shaw on Saturday, a collision that resulted in Shaw getting suspended for three games.
Ten minutes later that all changed … as did the mood at the UC.
And while Smith continued to hear boos every time he touched or even looked at the puck, the new most wanted man in Chicago was Torres, although listening to Phoenix coach Dave Tippett explain it … well, here you go:
"I haven't looked at it yet on video; it looked to me like he was finishing his check, but I haven't looked at it in depth yet," Tippett said.
Hossa was taken to the Northwestern Memorial, and he was released later Tuesday night. In a release from the Hawks, team physician Dr. Michael Terry said, "We anticipate a full recovery in a timetable to be determined."
"It's tough to lose that kind of player," Crawford said. "He's been awesome for us all year. Hope he's all right."
Making things worse was losing in overtime for the second time in three games.
"It just seems in this series that one shot is the difference," Keith said. "Just have to throw it at the net more."