Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Luckily for the Blackhawks, this one came with a different result than the past two games of this series. Tied 1-1 in overtime, the captain Jonathan Toews took over, firing a rocket past Mike Smith for the game-winner to send the series back to Chicago.
This was a game that saw a big time improvement, for the most part, on the defensive end for the Blackhawks. Though they weren’t without their gaffes in their own zone, the defense was all over every Coyotes forward, holding them to just 19 shots on the night.
And behind that defense was the embattled Corey Crawford, who put together another good performance between the pipes. He only had those 19 shots to face, but he made some big stops, particularly on Shane Doan, who had more than one opportunity to put the Coyotes up 2-1 late in the third period.
The Hawks’ lone goal in regulation came from Nick Leddy, of all people. Dave Bolland skated in front of Smith as the shot came, and the puck deflected off of Adrian Aucoin, who was trailing him.
Had the Hawks not been able to send it to overtime, and grab the win, it would have been easy to find a goat in Viktor Stalberg. He spent a good chunk of his time in the box, with four bad penalties on the night. One thing that did prove, though, is that if there is a power play worse than the Hawks, it’s the Coyotes.
Though they looked flat at times, you knew the Blackhawks would eventually step their game up at some point, in the offensive end. They did that in the third period, outshooting the Coyotes 12-4 before allowing just one shot from Phoenix in the overtime frame. Now the series shifts back to Chicago.
It’s hard to imagine the Blackhawks losing three consecutive games at the United Center in the postseason. Obviously, they’ve both come in overtime, but you can bet they’ll be ready to go in front of the Madhouse crowd, as they try and push this series to seven games.