By Tim Cronin | NHL.com Correspondent CHICAGO –Mikkel Boedker's deep-angle goal 13:15 into overtime earned the Coyotes a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series Tuesday night at the United Center.
The outcome gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, and returns to them the theoretical home-ice advantage they surrendered in Game 2. Game 4 -- crucial to Chicago’s cause -- is Thursday at the United Center.
Boedker took a feed from Taylor Pyatt in the left-wing corner and slipped the puck past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford, who was hugging the post (see KEY MOMENT below). It was Boedker's first goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it came in his seventh game.
“Every win is important in a series, for sure," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "But to come in here after losing the second game at home... and get a win is certainly a big boost for us, momentum-wise."
The overtime period was tight-checking until the goal. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith stopped Viktor Stalberg from 20 feet 70 seconds in. About three minutes later, Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook blocked a shot by Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla. Then, with legs heavy, the pace began to slow.
Three third-period goals within a span of 65 seconds while the teams were skating four-on-four set the score at 2-all entering overtime.
Klesla began the barrage with a slap shot from the left circle at 8:16 to tie the score 1-1.
Chicago's Michael Frolik, taking the place of suspended Andrew Shaw, beat goaltender Mike Smith on a rebound from the slot for a 2-1 lead 33 seconds later.
Phoenix answered almost before the cheers subsided. Ray Whitney found himself wide open in the right slot when the rebound of a Klesla shot skidded his way, and he buried it, tying the score at 9:21 of the third.
That forced the third overtime session in as many games in the series, though the last good chance of regulation time came in the last second, when Smith turned back Patrick Sharp's 40-foot one-timed slap shot.
Chicago's Andrew Brunette opened the scoring with 25.4 seconds left in the first period. He stationed himself in front of Smith after Marcus Kruger beat Boyd Gordon on a faceoff to Smith's left. Kane one-timed a pass from Nick Leddy, and Brunette deflected it past Smith.
Phoenix had largely carried the play to that point, and did so again in the second period, but couldn't solve Crawford, whose best save of the period was a stop on Boedker's breakaway. Seabrook leaned into Boedker just as he shot.
While Boedker's goal was the biggest news on the night, an injury to Marian Hossa on a hit from Phoenix forward Raffi Torres was also a primary storyline.
At the 11:51 mark of the first period, Torres' shoulder appeared to make contact with the head of Hossa and knocked the veteran forward out of the game. Hossa, who led the Hawks with 77 points this season, had just passed the puck at center ice when Torres came out of the Chicago zone, appeared to leave his skates and hit Hossa with his left shoulder.
Hossa fell to the ice in front of the Blackhawks' bench. Play was stopped even though Chicago had the puck in the Phoenix zone.
Motionless for more than a minute, Hossa was attended to by the Chicago team doctor, two EMTs and the Hawks' trainer. He was conscious and talking to the doctor as he left the ice, strapped to a gurney and transported by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was released a few hours later.
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Torres was not penalized on the play. Quickly, it was Torres, along with Smith, who was booed each time they touched the puck.
"It looked to me like he was finishing his check, but I haven’t looked at it in-depth yet," Tippett said shortly after the game.
The hit on Hossa overshadowed Smith's presence in the Phoenix crease. Hit in the head by Shaw's shoulder in Game 2, Smith was in the morning skate after missing Monday's practice, and showed no ill effects during the game.
Shaw, meanwhile, served the first game of a three-game suspension that will keep him out until the sixth game of the series, if it goes that far.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
With the score tied 2-2 in overtime, Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt and Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson raced into the left corner to gather the loose puck.
While the players fought for possession, the puck squirted off Hjalmarsson's stick and over to Boedker, who was trailing the play. With little hesitation, the young Dane successfully put a shot past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford from a sharp angle at 13:15 to secure the win.
"It rolled through his legs," Boedker said. "... I thought of going to the net, and I was actually shooting for a rebound, but it went through his legs and that was good for me and good for everybody in here. Now we're up 2-1 and that's the position that we like very much."
► Click here to see the KEY MOMENT.
• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla notched one goal - his first in the Stanley Cup Playoffs - and two assists, and he took six shots on goal and delivered three hits in 21:00 of ice time.
• Center Martin Hanzal, who suffered an undisclosed injury on his third shift in Game 2, did not play in Game 3. Hanzal skated in warmups but didn't feel well enough to play. "Players in the playoffs, they play hurt, but they can’t play injured, and injured you just can’t function, so he wasn’t able to do the job tonight," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. Meanwhile, forward Lauri Korpikoski, who suffered an undisclosed injury late in Game 2, also did not play in Game 3.
• Forward Ray Whitney, who had just one shot on goal in the first two games, took a game-high nine shots on goal. His goal was his 20th in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
• Center Boyd Gordon, the top faceoff man in the NHL on the road during the regular season, won 13 of 21 draws.
• Forward Paul Bissonnette played his first game of the series and delivered three hits in 4:47 of ice time.
• The Coyotes' next game is Game 4 on Thursday vs. the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time). The game is being televised on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and CNBC, and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"I was just trying to hit his pads and you never know what's going to happen from that angle. I mean, it's a tough angle to score from. As long as you get it in on net anything can happen and this one squeaked through and it feels great."
"As far as the hit (on Marian Hossa) goes, I felt like it was a hockey play. I was just trying to finish my hit out there ...The last thing I want to say is I hope he’s alright."
"It’s frustrating when you lose a player like (Marian Hossa) and nothing comes of it. When we come up short at the end, it’s very disappointing. Who knows (what will happen to Raffi Torres)? I don’t know what to expect anymore, I don’t think anyone does, so we’ll see."
• GAME 3: PHX 3, CHI 2 (OT) • GAME 4: April 19 • GAME 6: April 23 (if nec.)
• GAME 1: PHX 3, CHI 2 (OT)
• GAME 2: CHI 4, PHX 3 (OT) • GAME 5: April 21 • GAME 7: April 25 (if nec.)