The Phoenix Coyotes had a chance to make history at home last night. Unfortunately, the Desert Dogs squandered a yeoman's job by their penalty killers and a lead given to them by fourth liner Gilbert Brule in a 2-1 overtime loss. The Yotes have two more chances to win the series, but Saturday night was huge blown opportunity. Nonetheless, given the Coyotes franchise history and the way this season has gone itself the ending wasn't surprising. Nothing is easy when you play 'Hockey The Hard Way".
- The Coyotes fourth line was their best line of the night even without scoring the Yotes lone goal.
- While Mike Smith gets a lot of love, one could easily claim Boyd Gordon does almost as much to keep the Coyotes in games. His penalty kill play was once again invaluable.
- The series will be coming back to Phoenix if the Desert Dogs can't find a way to gain possession of the puck for longer stretches in Game 6 than they did in Game 5.
- Viktor Stahlberg did everything he could to help the Coyotes out by taking four penalties in the game. Unfortunately, Phoenix refused to accept his gifts.
- The power play was downright pathetic. They couldn't even gain the zone at times, much less put shots on net.
- Phoenix is losing forwards at an alarming rate in this series. It's not like its a stud front line corps to begin with. If Boedker and Hanzal can't go for the rest of this series and Korpikoski's bad wheel doesn't heal the Dogs could be in serious trouble.
- Chicago defensemen Nick Leddy had a fantastic game.
Five For Winning
1. Finish in regulation. Nyet. The teams tied the NHL record for consecutive OT games in a playoff series.
2. Clog the neutral zone, keeping the Hawks from breaking out has been instrumental to their success so far. The Yotes did an excellent job of this most of the game. Of course, so to did the Hawks.
3. For the love all that's holy close it out in regulation, or my cardiologist's bill is going to be record setting. The amount of EKGs being performed in the Valley this past week must be off the charts.
4. Special teams, The PK has been outstanding, but knowing how bad of a PK team the Hawks had in the regular season the Coyotes need to make them pay. This was the killer. The PK did its job all four times while the PP didn't do its job four times.
5. Did I say finish in regulation yet? The Yotes don't seem to enjoy leads or regulation hockey. Let's hope these torturous trends end in Game 6.
Our Three Stars
1. Jonathan Toews - Game Winning Goal. The captain is looking like the guy he was before his concussion. Bad news.
2. Mike Smith - 38 Saves. Smitty did what Smitty does. Needs his teammates to give him a bit of help on the other end.
3. Michael Frolik - One assist. Confused as to why he rode the bench a bunch this year. He looked like the Hawk's most dynamic player all game long.
Comment Of The Night
Chicago looked like a much more confident bunch when Game 5 ended. The good news is the Coyotes still just need one more win to exorcise their playoff demons. On Monday night, the pressure will be on the Blackhawks not to get closed out in their own barn. Let's hope the pressure gets to them.