GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes skated away undoubtedly feeling like they let Game 2 of their playoff series with the Chicago Blackhawks get away. A missed open net in the final minute of regulation time, an inability to clear the puck in the final seconds and a failed clearance of the puck in overtime cost them a 2-0 series lead, as the Blackhawks' Bryan Bickell scored the winning goal in overtime in Chicago's 4-3 come-from-behind win.
With Phoenix's loss, the Coyotes missed a chance to go up 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time since the franchise arrived in Phoenix. The Coyotes haven't been up 2-0 in the playoffs since they were the Winnipeg Jets in 1987, and are now 0-for-8 in that area since becoming the Coyotes.
All of the rugged work in the trenches -- a lot of solid physical play and leads of 2-1 and 3-2, plus a two-goal night for Antoine Vermette -- was for not in the loss. Patrick Sharp sent the game into overtime with his goal with 5.5 seconds left in regulation time, and and Bickell sent the WhiteOut crowd home blue with the winner at 10:36 of overtime.
(See video of Antoine Vermette Game 2 postgame comments)
"It was disappointing," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We had the puck on our stick with about 15 seconds left (in regulation) and couldn't get it out and it ends up in the back of our net. It's tough luck."
Goaltender Mike Smith, who couldn't protect a 3-2 lead going into the third period after taking a hard hit to his head in the second but remaining in the game, was getting treatment in the locker room afterward but did say he felt 100 percent, which was some good news for Phoenix.
Smith, a major reason for the Coyotes' success all season and in Game 1 Thursday, was rocked by a shoulder from the Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw and lay on the ice for several moments before getting up and finishing the game. Again the Blackhawks buried him in shots, with 50 for the game, and Smith stopped 46 of them.
Coaches for both teams had differing views on the hit to Smith, which gave the Coyotes a five-minute power during which they scored and led to Shaw being ejected on a game misconduct.
"Obviously, that's contact at the head and it doesn't matter if it's a goaltender or a player," Tippett said, "that's blindside contact to the head."
Joel Quenneville of Chicago thought Shaw was trying to avoid contact and got sealed off by the boards.
The Coyotes players weren't completely despondent. They know there will be a Game 5 in their building, Jobing.com Arena, next weekend.
"You never want to give a game away the way we did but at the same time, it's just one game and we have to go in there (to Chicago) and win one of theirs," captain Shane Doan said. "We thought it was going to be a long series and it's going to be a long series."
Raffi Torres, who scored his first playoff goal for Phoenix in the second period, said the team can take a lot of good things from Game 2 and characterized this kind of playoff pressure as "fun," even after back-to-back games of taking leads into the closing seconds of regulation time only to go to overtime. But everyone was aware of the loss of key players Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski to injury, situations about which the team stayed mum.
Hanzal came out of the game early and Korpikoski in the last few minutes of regulation time.
"Our guys did a good job, they hung in there," Tippett said. "It's exactly the way I thought it was going to be, tight and very contested."