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Phoenix Coyotes Seal The Deal: Mike Smith Carries Team To 4-2 Series Victory Over Blackhawks

The Phoenix Coyotes wouldn't need overtime Monday to send the Chicago Blackhawks home packing.

The Coyotes exploded in the third period to take down the Blackhawks 4-0, and secure a spot in the second-round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.

Appropriately, the scoring came from all over the roster for the Coyotes. Oliver Ekman-Larsson would score in the second period on the power play, and then Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette and Kyle Chipchura would score in the third to put the game out of reach for the Blackhawks.

The 4-0 victory is something no one could have predicted after the first period the Coyotes played. The team played one of their worst periods of the season, managing just two shots on net and were visibly dominated by the Hawks.

However, the Coyotes had Mike Smith in net. Smith kept his team in the every game this series, and was especially spectacular in Game 6. Smith would end the game with his first shutout of the series, stopping all 39 shots he faced.

Smith is the best story of the NHL postseason, period. A goalie who was playing in the AHL last season is doing something that not a single person could have predicted coming into the season. Smith put the team on his back and helped them secure a spot in the second round for the first time in franchise history.

Smith stopped 229 shots through six games. For those of you who don't want to do the math, that is just over 38 saves a game.

With the Coyotes up 2-0 in the third, Jimmy Hayes took what may have been the series deciding penalty.

Hayes and Jonathan Toews double teamed Michal Rozsival against the boards, and Hayes shoulder slammed Rozsival's head, driving it straight into the glass. The play resulted in the Coyotes having a five minute power play.

The Coyotes did not have success early on the five minute man advantage, but with less than a minute left, Antonie Vermette, who has been dynamite for the Coyotes this postseason, would light the lamp to put the Coyotes up 3-0.

Just less than two minutes later Kyle Chipchura put in the dagger with a low-blocker snipe that surely sent groups of fans around the valley into hysteria.

It will take some time for this win to sink in for the Coyotes and their fans, but this is not the end of the line. The Coyotes now have a date scheduled with a talented Nashville Predators team.

The series with Nashville, who took down the Coyotes playoff nemesis the Detroit Red Wings four games to one in their first-round matchup, is schedule to start later this week.