Yup.

Game in a Sentence:

It was a big win for the Phoenix Coyotes to take one at the United Center, but the talk was off the ice as Raffi Torres will likely be suspended after a big hit on Marian Hossa which sent the ‘Hawks sniper to hospital.

Observations:

- The Coyotes came into this game short handed as it is without Martin Hanzal or Lauri Korpikoski and played the perfect road game in many ways. Stayed within themselves, focused on defence and didn’t get too high or low based on the emotion of the game. There were obviously plenty of moments that could have swung it one way or the other, but they kept themselves in check and executed the game plan that got them to this point.

- I thought the Blackhawks played well for the most part. I liked their speed and passing and thought that they had many opportunities to break down the Coyotes. Obviously playing a team this strong defensively poses a challenge for any team, particularly one with so many streaky scorers as the Blackhawks, and I think that they played a very good game on the whole considering the circumstances that unfolded.

- I like that Chicago split up Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews for matchup purposes and the fact Kane created a goal certainly lends itself to this trend sticking. However, and I will harp on this until I get what I want or die, I want to see Patrick Kane do more. Watching a re-run of the Hawks/Flyers series from two years ago confirmed everything I thought I remembered. Kane was a wizard with the puck and carried himself on the ice with much more conviction than he has for much of this season and into the playoffs. Be a first overall pick. Be a game breaker. Be the guy you were 20 months ago.

- Ray Whitney didn’t look a day over 25 tonight. He led all skaters in shots on goal with nine, had great speed and was Phoenix’s most dangerous player every time he was on the ice. Not to belabour a cliché here but if Ray Whitney is defying Father Time, the Blackhawks have cause for concern. He really made up for a lot of what Hanzal and Korpikoski typically bring to the table.

- Jonathan Toews was great as usual. The guy hasn’t missed a beat. I also have no clue as to how he is given the only penalty from that scrum at the end of the second period, but c’est la vie.

- Just going to throw it out there that Phoenix probably won the Rusty Klesla deal. A goal and two assists tonight in addition to being a very solid citizen in his own end. He doesn’t do it with a lot of flash, but he does it nonetheless. In many ways he is your prototypical 2012 Phoenix Coyote.

- Anybody else get the feeling that Patrick Sharp is due for a huge game? The guy had six shots on net, including a couple which were robbed from him by Mike Smith, and looked good every time he touched the puck. He’s my “X Factor” for the Blackhawks going forward. Honorable mention to Viktor Stalberg.

- I looked at “the hit” here. Long story short I hope Hossa is O.K. and that Raffi Torres is suspended for a while. I explain all the reasons why in the original post.

I really don’t understand how both referees miss this hit given that the puck was in the proximity of the play – at the very least they should have seen what happened in their periphery – and the fact that Torres went without a single penalty blows my mind.

The additional fact it was exactly one year after his hit on Seabrook is just bizarre.

- Rightly or wrongly, I suspect Joel Quenneville will be fined soon.

- Mike Smith continues to be one of the hottest goaltenders in all of hockey right now. Another 35 save performance tonight and another overtime victory. Make no mistake about it, Phoenix wouldn’t even be in the discussion right now if it weren’t for Smith. Kudos to Dave Tippett who just finds a way to get everything he can out of the big goaltender.

- Corey Crawford may have found the straw that broke the camel’s back (camel’s back being his playoff run) with a soft game winning goal credited to Mikkel Boedker. I’ll take part of the blame for singing his praises to this point and no doubt jinxing him. I’m interested to see how he bounces back.

- That three goal flurry was pretty much everything awesome about the playoffs rolled into, well, three minutes. Excellent speed, execution, excitement. That’s why we love this game.

- This game has to go to seven at this point, right? Doesn’t it just feel that way?

My Three Stars:

1) Rusty Klesla
2) Mike Smith
3) Ray Whitney

Comments (4)

  1. BETTMEN wants coyotes to stay in phoenix… is that why torres and goons can do what they want?? To SELL hockey in the area now that they have a full arena? DISGRACEFUL….!!! 30 GAMES AT LEAST for this repeat thug offender!! he got away with it qwith seabrook, and will get a tender wrist slap for this too. REPEAT GOON THUG HEADHUNTER INTENT TO INJURE. If this was on teh street he would be charged with violent assualt with delibertae intent to injure causing bodily harm etc.
    all cause bettmen wants yotes in phoenix because of his greed and pride.. balsieli had the right idea all along but bettmen hates being shown up cause he is the ‘boss’. what a joke…time to start watching baseball or anything besides this garbage league thug game with no penalty… teams are using this crap to win!! take someone out… pay the price of a game or two and a fine… and still compete for the cup… its dirty!! and it reeks of bettman!!

    • Wow. Take off the tinfoil, the aliens are not trying to steal your mind (Captian) Kirk.

      Just chill out and realise there are no conspiricies.

  2. I’m no fan of either team (except for Toews who I think is the Face of Canadian Hockey in the NHL currently, as well as the prime example of why NCAA hockey is a beast at producing NHL talent) but that hit on Hossa made me IRATE! I don’t even know the guy, outside the fact his Agent likes to brag up the fact his analytics got Hossa on 3 different Stanley Cup Finals teams.

    Raffi needs to get exiled from the playoffs, if Asham get’s 4 games for his 1st time offender, and Haglien get’s 3 games for 1st time offender, how does Raffi not get 5+ for being a repeat offender..

    Also I’d like to note what’s wrong with Shanahan’s TEAM (I forget what it’s called, but he doesn’t rule himself on it, he has a TEAM of people supposedly) the complete miss of talking about James Neal leaving his feet to hit Courtier the other night needed to be mentioned. That should’ve been a game suspension in my eyes. Plus an additional game for targeting G’s head the next play… I know it’s the playoffs, but realistically, that’s a similar play that Patrick Kaleta did to end Paul Kariya’s career… (And I could care less about the Flyers, I just want the precedent/aka/behaviors changed so it doesn’t happen to my friends who play on different teams!! If their career’s end, no more free VIP service for this guy…)

  3. Bettmens team in the desert is idiocy and is why the fondly known (sarcasm) desert dogs are allowed to carry cheap shot goods like toerres, a repeat offender who has yet to get properly sentenced.

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