NHL Playoffs 2012: Last Night in the West (April 23)
It’s a brave new world for the Western Conference. The remaining teams have not represented the West in recent memory. The Kings were in the Finals just once in 1993. The St. Louis Blues have not been in the Cup since 1970 when they made three consecutive appearances, losing all of them. The Phoenix and Nashville franchises have never been to the Stanley Cup. Of course since Phoenix is in the next round that means…
Phoenix Coyotes 4 vs. Chicago Blackhawks 0 (Phoenix Wins Series 4-2)
It was a series destined to go seven games with overtime in each, but Phoenix goalie Mike Smith had different plans. In a shutout performance that featured 39 saves, Smith stole the series for Phoenix who faced the extreme fire power of the Blackhawks.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the first goal of the game for the Coyotes 13:14 into the second period. Even as the Blackhawks fired more and more shots on Smith, their desperation was not enough to prevail. Chicago’s Corey Crawford allowed three goals in the third and made just 16 saves on 20 shots as the Coyotes blew the Blackhawks out of their own building. Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette and Kyle Chipchura all scored for the Coyotes.
The win set all of the second round series for the Western Conference. The St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings will face-off; while the Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes will take each other on in the other series. With big names still battling it out in the Eastern Conference, it seems safe to assume that they will likely have the advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals.
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Last Night in the West (April 20) This Weekend in the West (April 21-22)