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Blackhawks Fri Apr 13 2012

Hawks Fall in OT to Coyotes in Game 1

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.pngIn typical Blackhawks fashion, there was no such thing as a dull moment or a sure thing for either team in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks were skating circles around the Coyotes in the first period, wearing them down with quick, intense play. Jonathan Toews returned to the ice with flare, coming up with a goal within the first few minutes after missing 22 straight games. Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is a force to be reckoned with in the net, so Tazer's goal is a sign that the Blackhawks' concussed captain is back in action and ready to reclaim his lead scoring position.

Though the Hawks dominated the first period, the second belonged to Phoenix as they put two goals past Corey Crawford. The Coyotes held the lead through intense back and forth. Both teams got physical, with a brawl breaking out shortly after the second goal. Phoenix targeted Toews, at one point landing a blow to the back of his head, no doubt hoping to put him out of commission. Hawks teammates like Brian Bickell however, made sure to return the favor.

After a rough second period and during a tense third, Coach Joel Quenneville pulled out all the stops. With hardly more than a minute left he took out Crawford and tossed in rookie Andrew Shaw for a six-man offense. The team pounded Smith and with moments to spare Brent Seabrook tapped a rebound into the back of the net, sending the game into overtime. This is the type of play the Hawks need to beat Smith, who's solid performance significantly contributed to the Coyotes' leading position in the Pacific Division. Smith will save a clean shot almost every time, so dirty goals are where the victories will be made.

Despite a hard fought third period however, the Hawks fell in overtime with a final score of 3-2. After such frantic and heated play, the team was getting tired and the Coyotes took advantage of that chink in the armor to take the first game of the series.

The Blackhawks came prepared for this match up, playing the kind of relentless offense they'll need to win this series. Corey Crawford showed up in the net, making incredible saves. And the team was cohesive and confident. An overtime loss is unfortunate, but the Hawks have several more games to make up for it, starting with Saturday where they will again be in Phoenix territory.

 
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