NHL Playoffs 2012: Last Night in the West (April 14)
Having every game on television is paying huge dividends for the NHL right now. On Saturday, three of the four games went to overtime, with the fourth game, a lopsided contest, ending in a huge on-ice fight.
St. Louis Blues 3 vs. San Jose Sharks 0 (Series tied at 1)
The Blues and the Sharks collectively dropped their gloves to end the game, signaling bad blood ahead as the series shifts to San Jose. Jaroslav Halak suffered an injury after the first period, but combined with Brian Elliott for the shutout against the Sharks. The goalies had some room to relax though.
Vladimir Sobotka struck first just a minute and a half into the game, with Vlasic knocking the puck into his own net after it went through goalie Anti Niemi’s legs. Halak made a lot of great saves early in the game to hold onto the lead. David Backes scored in the second by standing on the far side of the goal undetected and then striking on an open net. Andy McDonald scored in the third, and the Blues evened the series at one.
Chicago Blackhawks 4 Vs. Phoenix Coyotes 3 (Series tied at 1)
If these are the last days for hockey in Phoenix, then at least the fans are getting their money’s worth out of the games. The Coyotes fell to the hands of Bryan Bickell who had the Blackhawks first and last goal despite never existing before the game. It actually turns out that Bickell had nine goals in the regular season and is just lost among the names on the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks also saw goals from Brandon Bollig in the second and Patrick Sharp in the third, scoring in all four frames in the game. The Coyotes had the lead twice in the game. They led 2-1 after goals from Raffi Torres and Antoine Vermette, and 3-2 after a goal from Vermette again. It was the second game in a row that the Blackhawks tied the game in the third to force overtime, but the first time that it worked.