By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE – Jonathan Toews scored the first goal of this playoff series 11 days ago and hadn't been heard from since – just one of Chicago's many snipers criticized for their lack of production against the gritty and stingy Coyotes.
But with the Blackhawks' season on the line in yet another dramatic overtime, Toews scored another goal (see KEY MOMENT
below), and the Blackhawks beat the Coyotes 2-1 to stay alive in the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday night and deny a charged-up crowd at Jobing.com Arena a chance to release 25 years of franchise frustration.
Without a playoff win since 1987, the Coyotes still lead the series 3-2, but it now must go back to Chicago for Game 6 on Monday night, extending a series that has already seen five overtimes, a 25-game suspension to Phoenix's Raffi Torres
and more than 300 minutes of wall-to-wall tension.
"For myself, I just had a feeling something good was going to happen. We had to keep working and be patient," said Toews, who won 14 of 18 faceoffs, including the big one in overtime. "We want to feel like this game was the turning point in our series. We have a lot of momentum, we're going home and we're thinking that this series is far from over."
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, criticized for his play in Games 3 and 4 for allowing questionable overtime goals, made 18 saves and outdueled Smith, who made 36 stops but couldn't hold the 1-0 lead the Coyotes took into the third period.
The Blackhawks have forced overtime four times with third-period goals – three times in the final 1:26 of regulation. Nick Leddy made it a little less dramatic with his game-tying goal with 10:45 left this time, but the five overtime games to begin the series ties a 61-year-old record set by the 1951 Toronto-Montreal Stanley Cup Final.
Phoenix was 33-1-0 when taking a lead to the third period during the regular season. The Coyotes are 1-2 in this series, losing both times at home when leading after 40 minutes.
gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead early in the second period, but the rest of the Coyotes generated precious little offense in a game that could have been their coming out party. Now it's back to Chicago, where Phoenix has beaten the Blackhawks four straight times – but now they have to do it again.
"We're going to go up there and battle. We need one win to win the series," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "They came out and played a very good game and I thought we could have done some things a lot better. But it was still a tight, tight game. We're going up there with the same mind-set and find a way to win one."
The first period was a mirror of this entire series. The Coyotes had most of the hits, the Blackhawks had most of the shots and Smith kept his team even with strong saves -- including two on Toews -- to keep the game scoreless.
|Photo by Norm Hall.
Sticking to the blueprint, the Coyotes stayed patient and waited for a Chicago mistake. And early in the second, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson pinched in too tight and Phoenix's fourth line turned an advantageous bounce into a goal.
With two passing choices on a 3-on-1 break, center Marc-Antoine Pouliot
went wide and found Brule in stride and on the tape. Brule's wrist shot glanced off Crawford and into the net at 2:46.
The Coyotes had several chances to expand the lead including four power plays -- all courtesy of penalties taken by Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg – but were unable to capitalize. And after Chicago failed on a power play of its own in the third period, the Blackhawks finally solved Smith.
Duncan Keith slid a puck across the crease to Leddy, who let go a shot that deflected off Phoenix's sprawling defenseman Rostislav Kelsla. The change in direction fooled Smith at 9:15 and Chicago had its first goal on its 28th shot.
Leddy had a glorious chance to give Chicago the lead in regulation after an Antoine Vermette
penalty with six minutes left. But with Smith down and out and a pile of players in the crease, Leddy rifled the puck over the net.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
• Forward Gilbert Brule
, playing in just his fourth Stanley Cup Playoffs game, scored Phoenix's lone goal at 2:44 of the second period. The goal was his first point in the NHL postseason. Click here
to listen to Brule discuss the goal and the game in general. Marc-Antoine Pouliot
assisted on Brule's goal to notch his first career point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his second game. And, goalie Mike Smith
was credited with the second assist on Brule's goal for his first point in the NHL playoffs in his eighth game.
• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla
blocked five shots and delivered four hits.
• The Coyotes played without center Martin Hanzal
, who missed his third straight game because of injury. Meanwhile, forward Lauri Korpikoski
returned to the lineup after missing two games because of injury. Korpikoski played 16:09, took one shot on goal, delivered two hits and blocked two shots.
• Before the game, the NHL suspended forward Raffi Torres
for 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in Game 5. Click here
to read more.
• The Coyotes scratched Paul Bissonnette
, Alex Bolduc, Louis Domingue
, Maxim Goncharov
, Martin Hanzal
(injured), Brett Hextall
, Andy Miele
, Connor Murphy
, Justin Pogge
, Brett MacLean
, David Rundblad
, David Schlemko
, Michael Stone
, Chris Summers
, Jordan Szwarz
, Raffi Torres
, Matt Watkins
and Ethan Werek
• The Coyotes' next game is Game 6 on Monday vs. the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The puck drops at 6 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).