Hawks storm back to tie series
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bryan Bickell played in it, watched it, and even scored the game-winner in it, and yet even he can't believe what was going on Saturday night in the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime thriller in Phoenix.
“It was a roller coaster,” said Bickell, who opened the scoring three minutes in and closed it out midway through the OT session. “The momentum was all over the place.
“We had it, then we lost it for a bit and then we got it back when we scored in the third. It was crazy.
“It was a well-deserved win, I'll say that.”
For the second consecutive game, the Hawks fought back from the dead by tying it up in the in the final seconds of regulation. A game after Brent Seabrook provided the heroics late in Game 1 with 14 seconds remaining, Patrick Sharp one-upped him by tying things up with just under six seconds left to tie the Western Conference quarterfinal series at 1-1.
“That's the name of the game in the playoffs,” said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. “You don't want to be in that position, but hey, that makes it exciting.
“It's huge. Now we're going home with a lot of momentum.”
But man, what they had to go through to get it.
Before the Western Conference quarterfinals began, the Hawks were hopeful their rookies would make quite an impact against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Yeah, go ahead and check that one off.
Within two minutes of each other Saturday night, Brandon Bollig brought joy and Andrew Shaw brought pain to what was one of the most entertaining playoff games you'd want to see.
From fascinating penalty calls, to flailing goalies, to some of the biggest hits of the year, to Sharp's heroics in the final seconds of regulation, Game 2 in the desert in front of an SRO crowd at Jobing.com Arena had it all.
From beginning to end, this was a crazy game.
The first period ended with Phoenix up 2-1 though courtesy of an interesting penalty call. With the game tied 1-1, Jonathan Toews was whistled for goalie interference and the Coyotes took advantage as Antoine Vermette scored the first of his 2 power play goals of the game.
And then it had the second period. A period that began with a shocker. Not that the Blackhawks tied the game at the 6:57 mark, but just who notched the goal: none other than Bollig. The Hawks' enforcer lasered one past Smith from the top of the circle to register the first goal of his NHL career.
The smiles on the Hawks bench lasted about one minute and 44 seconds because that's when Shaw came into the picture and everything got fuzzy.
With Coyotes goalie Smith along the boards behind his own net playing a loose puck, Shaw skated in and his shoulder appeared to make contact with Smith's head.
The big goalie spun around, his gloves and stick flying in all directions, and his body plopping down on the ice. Shaw, meanwhile, gave a “what did I do look?” as the linesmen got between him and a couple of very angry Coyotes.
Soon all eyes were on Smith, who writhed on the ice for minutes. While he was attended to, backup Jason LaBarbera got loose in front of the Yotes' bench.
No need, though, because with a dramatic flair, Smith got up, took a swig of water and put his mask back on. The ‘Whiteout' crowd erupted.
Shaw, now officially Public Enemy No. 1 in Phoenix, was given a game misconduct. The Coyotes were given 5 minutes of power play time and again they and Vermette took advantage on what looked like would be the eventual game-winner.
But with six seconds left in the game, Seabrook struck again. A couple of days after the big defenseman's goal in the final seconds of regulation sent Game 1 to OT, Seabrook blasted a shot that was redirected by Sharp past Smith to send the Game 2 to OT.
“You're going to see a desperate team,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett predicted of the Hawks heading into Game 2.
He wasn't wrong.
“It's exactly the way I thought it was going to be — tight and very contested,” Tippett said.
No. 1 star Bryan Bickell
2 goals, including the game-winner in OT
No. 2 star Antoine Vermette
2 PP goals; now has 3 goals in 2 games
No. 3 Patrick Sharp
It was his goal that sent it to OT