Mikkel Boedker was the hero Tuesday night for the Coyotes, and would be the hero again Thursday.
Two minutes into the overtime period Boedker would use his speed to fly past the Blackhawk defenders, and was left alone on a break away with Corey Crawford. Boedker's backhand attempted seemed muffed, but the puck would sneak through the five-hole of Crawford to give the Coyotes the 3-2 win, and the commanding 3-1 series lead.
Boedker has two career playoff goals, and both were overtime game winners this week.
Mike Smith played big when his team was not playing up to par. He would end the night with 30 saves, and while he may not have put in the game winner, he was as much responsible for the win as Coyote on the roster.
The Coyotes came out in the third period a different team after being severely outplayed by the Blackhawks through the first two periods. Captain Coyote, Shane Doan, was the catalyst for the rejuvenated 'Yotes.
The first Phoenix call came off a pure hustle play by the captain Doan. Doan chased down Johnny Oduya, stripped him of the puck and fed it over to a wide open Ray Whitney. Crawford would get a pad on the Whitney slapper, but Doan would pick up the stray rebound and put it away for the first goal of the game.
Just 44 seconds later Taylor Pyatt lit the lamp for his sixth career playoff goal on a beautiful pass from Antoine Vermette. Vermette pulled Chicago defender Brent Seabrook towards him, slid a pass past him and all that was left was for Pyatt to bang the puck home.
The 2-0 Coyotes' lead was the first two goal lead for either team in the series.
If you have watched any of this series, it was obvious the Blackhawks were not going down without a fight. This is the same team that scored with less than 15 seconds left twice to force overtime.
At 10:25 the Hawks would cut the Coyotes lead in half with a goal from Brendan Morrison. The slap shot came from the right side of the ice and deflected off Rostislav Klesla and just over Mike Smith's shoulder.
Just two minutes later it looked like the Blackhawks would capitalize on even more momentum after Taylor Pyatt was the victim of a bad bounce off the glass and was assessed a penalty for interference, but the Hawks would not muster any real pressure on the man-advantage.
As the clock began ticking down to the final buzzer, the feeling of impending doom began to set in. The Blackhawks were setting up the plays. A sequence then ensued of chaos around the 1:30 mark.
Smith made a big save, and then another that sent the rebound off the post. The Hawks would collect the puck and fire another chance on net. With the Coyote defense spread out, and tired, it was an easy task for Michael Frolik to put away a rebound on a wide open net and force a fourth consecutive overtime stanza.
Frolik has played very well for the Blackhawks after being inserted to the lineup for the suspended Andrew Shaw. The goal was the first of the 24-year-old centers playoff career.
The first two periods were very uneventful for the Coyotes. For the first 9:19 of the game the Coyotes were not able to get a shot on goal, and two periods into the game they only had only managed 10 shots on Corey Crawford.
A strange situation developed after Paul Bissonnette dropped the gloves with Brandon Bollig at center-ice in the first period. Bissonnette's jersey came fully off during the end of the altercation, and the Coyotes' fourth liner was assessed a five minute fighting major, as well as a game misconduct for not being properly "tied down."
NHL rule 46.13, which deals with jerseys being "tied down" reads:
A player who engages in a fight and whose jersey is not properly "tied-down" (jersey properly fastened to pants), and who loses his jersey (completely off his torso) in that altercation, shall receive a game misconduct penalty. If the player loses his jersey despite the tie down remaining intact and attached to the pants, the game misconduct is not applicable, however this must be reported to the League office so that the jersey and the tie down can be examined.
Bissonnette being sent to the locker room would be another hit to an already depleted roster. Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski both were scratches with upper-body injuries, and Raffi Torres is being listed as indefinitely suspended for his hit on Marian Hossa until his meeting with the NHL Friday in New York.
The Coyotes have a chance to close out the Blackhawks Saturday on home ice at Jobing.com arena.