by Vince Maranto on 04/13/12 at 02:50 PM ET
Defensive zone turnovers, they’ll give you every time…. It was Game One, Hawks vs. Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena outside of Phoenix. It was a “White - Out” night with all the fans receiving white t-shirts at the beginning of the game. I don’t get that, let’s all wear the color of the visiting team’s jersey. Oh well. Both teams went into this game with the Coyotes having had taken 3 out of the 4 regular season contests. The last 3 in a row (1 shoot out win). The Hawks would need 3 solid periods to win. They had 2. Crawford (30-17-7) was up against Smith (38-18-10) who had all 3 of the Yotes victories. Both goalies played very well, I thought, coming up with huge saves at critical times. Toews finally returned after missing the last 22 regular season games (concussion) and centered the first line with Hossa & Kane. The rest of the lines were pretty much the way that they have been lately, except a player here or there.
The first period opened up, and I mean OPENED UP with an extremely fast pace. 4 minutes in, Toews shoveled a back hander form a tough angle that beat Smith. Welcome back, Captain. Bickell had an unbelievable opportunity to go up 2 -0, but was stopped by Smith. The game was, as expected, very physical and there were some big hits. Vrbata (Yotes 35 goal scorer) left after a big collision very early, and would not return. The official word, was that there was no official word. I love the NHL… The Hawks Power Play looked better with Toews back on the first unit, but did not score on the Hawks man advantage, around 13 minutes in. There would later be coincidental roughing penalties to close out he period. With 2 seconds left, Crawford had a huge save. Hawks out shot, 11 - 8.
The second period featured great saves by both goal tenders again. Back to back defensive zone turnovers led to the puck staying in the hawks zone for what seemed like forever. Pyatt, tied it, to make it a 1 - 1 game. The Hawks had a very tough time getting the puck out across their own blue line through out the period. There was some very sloppy passing mixed in there as well. A successful Penalty Kill, turned 5 on 3, was weathered by the Hawks. However, with around 2 1/2 minutes left, Vermette made it a 2 - 1 game. The Hawks failed to score on a Power Play to close the period. Overall, the Hawks were out drawn at the dot, out passed, out hit, out played and of course, out scored during the period.
Crawford stopped a breakaway attempt in the third period to keep the Hawks with in one. TWO more Power Plays came up empty. The Hawks played hard, came close, but could not put the puck in the net. With around 1 1/2 minutes left, Crawford was pulled. Seabrook crept down form the blue line, to the goal line, and put in a rebound with 14 seconds left to tie it, 2 - 2. Pretty exciting stuff! Hawks out shot Yotes 40 - 29. That, I like!
In the Overtime, a little over 9 minutes in, a tough redirect went passed Crawford for the game winner. 3 - 2 final. On to Game 2 on Saturday, in Arizona again.
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