2012 NHL Playoffs Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks at Phoenix Coyotes
Saturday, April 21, 2012
The Phoenix Coyotes have already made history – with an assist from the Chicago Blackhawks – in their Western Conference quarterfinal series and can take it a step further in Saturday night's Game 5 in the desert.
Phoenix seized a commanding 3-1 lead with Thursday's overtime win at Chicago and can eliminate the Blackhawks and snap a string of 13 consecutive playoff series losses. The Coyotes will be without Raffi Torres, who had his league hearing Friday for his brutal hit on Marian Hossa.
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 21, 2012
Where: Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, Arizona
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCS, TSN
Chicago Blackhawks : Chicago has shown amazing resiliency to repeatedly come back and score in the waning seconds of regulation, but after a second straight overtime loss at home, will the Blackhawks be too deflated to mount another comeback? Corey Crawford let up soft goals in overtime in back-to-back games to push Chicago to the brink of elimination. "Brutal ending. I think both games ended kind of on a tough note for us," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's a tough road ahead of us." Indeed it is. The Blackhawks can point to last season, when they roared back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7 versus Vancouver, but the primary objective is to get the series back to Chicago.
Phoenix Coyotes : Mikkel Boedker scored in each of the final two games of the regular season, a prelude for his starring role in the postseason. Boedker delivered the game-winner in OT for the second straight game to rescue Phoenix following a momentum-sapping goal by the Blackhawks. Goaltender Mike Smith kept the game scoreless until captain Shane Doan and Taylor Pyatt scored 44 seconds apart in the third period. Smith finished with 30 saves and has not lost in regulation since March 15 in Calgary. Torres, who has been suspended twice in the past 13 months, said he could not comment following Friday afternoon’s hearing in New York. The league reportedly will not announce a decision on his fate until Saturday.
Chicago’s leading scorer during the
regular season, Hossa did not accompany the team to Phoenix and will miss his
second straight game.
2. This is the second series in league history to have the first four games go to overtime. The other was the 1951 Stanley Cup Finals between Montreal and Toronto.
3. Phoenix has not won a postseason series since 1987, when the franchise was located in Winnipeg.
NHL PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Coyotes 2 (OT)
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