NHL Playoffs 2012: Last Night in the West (April 12)
It was a crazy second night in the NHL playoffs. As I wrote yesterday, NHL overtime is the most nerve-racking, exhilarating experience in sports. There were three overtime games last night including the match-up between the seventh seed San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues heading to double overtime. Additionally, the sixth seed Chicago Blackhawks and third seed Phoenix Coyotes played extra time.
San Jose Sharks 3 Vs. St. Louis Blues 2 in Double Overtime
The Sharks were the worst team in the West heading into the post-season, and with the absence of Daniel Sedin in Vancouver, St. Louis was the best. Well one game into the series, it looks like the Sharks have a shot in this series after an overtime victory. Of course, in overtime it seems that both teams have a fairly even chance of scoring, but Martin Havlat buried the winner three and a half minutes into the second overtime.
Havlat also had the first goal of the game, the only one of the first two periods. Patrik Bergulund netted the two goals for the Blues in the third, before the Sharks Patrick Desjardins tied the game with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Antti Niemi kept the Sharks in the game with 42 saves, but the experience of the Sharks finally paid off. For the Blues to make a run this post season they will have to grow up quickly against a team that was in the Western Conference Finals last year.
Phoenix Coyotes 3 Vs. Chicago Blackhawks 2 in Overtime
Things did not start out well for the Phoenix Coyotes, leading regular season scorer Radim Vrbata went down to injury on his first shift of the night. Then Jonathan Toews scored early to get the Blackhawks off to a rolling start. When the Coyotes had a lead, Brent Seabrook buried a goal with only fifteen seconds left in the game, after the Blackhawks pulled their goalie. To the Coyotes credit, they came out and dominated overtime, finally pulling it off with a goal from Martin Hanzal ten minutes into overtime.
Taylor Pyatt and Antoine Vermette scored the Coyotes other two goals. Corey Crawford had 31 saves, but was overshadowed by Mike Smith’s 43 save performance. Much like the Sharks, the Blackhawks have the experience, winning the cup two years ago, but find themselves down in the series.
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