Jonathan Toews scores game-winner in OT as Hawks force Game 6
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com April 21, 2012 11:14PM
Jonathan Toews is swarmed by his mates after notching the game-winner at 2:44 in OT. | Christian Petersen~Getty Images
blackhawks 2, coyotes 1 (OT)
Blackhawks 0 0 1 1 — 2 Phoenix 0 1 0 0 — 1
Phoenix 0 1 0 0 — 1
Second Period—1, Phoenix, Brule 1 (Pouliot, M.Smith), 2:46. Penalties—Stalberg, HAWKS (slashing), 15:21; Stalberg, HAWKS (tripping), 19:35.
Third Period—2, HAWKS, Leddy 1 (Frolik, Saad), 9:15. Penalties—Stalberg, HAWKS (interference), 3:10; Vermette, Pho (slashing), 6:30; Vermette, Pho (cross-checking), 13:57.
Overtime—3, HAWKS, J.Toews 2 (Stalberg), 2:44. Penalties—None.
Shots on Goal—HAWKS 12-10-12-4—38. Phoenix 4-10-4-1—19.
Power-play opportunities—HAWKS 0 of 4; Phoenix 0 of 4.
Goalies—HAWKS, Crawford 2-3-0 (19 shots-18 saves). Phoenix, M.Smith 3-2-0 (38-36).
Referees—Brad Watson, Mike Leggo. Linesmen—Jay Sharrers, Mark Wheler.
A—17,746 (17,135). T—2:41.
Updated: May 24, 2012 8:21AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Blackhawks aren’t done yet. Their mastery of the rally saved them again.
Sticking with their most positive trend of the series, the Hawks were able to force overtime against the Phoenix Coyotes, and this time there was no letdown.
Not with Jonathan Toews around.
Toews scored the gamer-winner from the right circle at 2:44 in overtime for the Hawks in their 2-1 victory in Game 5 on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but they survive to play on for at least more game with Game 6 at the United Center on Monday at 8 p.m.
“That’s got to say something about character and what we’re able to do, especially against a team who late in games is so good at protecting leads, playing smart defensively and not making too many mistakes,” Toews said.
“This overtime period especially we had that feeling that this was our game and we’re going to go out there and take it. They haven’t given us much this series, but tonight we wouldn’t be denied.”
Defenseman Nick Leddy tied the game at 1 at 9:14 in the third period for the Hawks. Every game this series has gone to overtime, which is the first time for a series since 1951.
“It was long overdue,” Leddy said of his goal. “I just tried to get [the puck] on net. I knew guys were going to the net.”
Forward Gilbert Brule scored for the Coyotes on a breakout 2:46 into the second after the Hawks made mistakes in the offensive end. Goalie Mike Smith, who has been praised for his puck-moving skills all series, fittingly assisted on the goal.
It’s been a wild series and one in which the Coyotes believe they’ve developed a rival to help reinvigorate their fan base .
Nothing has been crazier than all the scrutiny and attention Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres’ dirty head hit on Hawks star winger Marian Hossa in Game 4 has gotten.
Torres was suspended 25 games for it on Saturday, while Hossa has made little progress since getting carted off on a stretcher and hospitalized for a couple hours.
And then there was Hawks rookie forward Andrew Shaw’s head-to-facemask collision with Smith in Game 2. Smith seemingly embellished his injury with a spinning, glove-losing fall and didn’t speak for the media for a few days.
Shaw, who hurt Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata in Game 1 with a clean hit along the boards, was handed a three-game ban for hitting Smith.
On top of all that, the first four games of the series all went to overtime. The Hawks were able to rally to force overtimes in Games 1, 2 and 4. So, why would Game 5 be any different?
The entire game was still tough for the Hawks as the Coyotes blocked plenty of shots and boxed out their traffic. The Hawks’ power play faltered again early on, failing to grab the lead when given two opportunities in the first period and has gone 1-for-17 in the series. Winger Viktor Stalberg also committed four penalties.
But the chance also were few for the Coyotes and when they did get them, Corey Crawford was there. Crawford (18 saves) endured a ton of finger-pointing after Games 3 and 4 for allowing soft overtime game-winners, but he rebounded and had a strong game on Saturday. Smith stopped 36 shots for the Coyotes.
“You take a series like this one game at a time and focus on all the little details,” Toews said. “We want to feel like this game is a turning point for us in the series.”