The Blackhawks didn’t tie the Coyotes until there were 14 seconds left in Game One.
They waited until there were only five seconds left in regulaton to take Game Two to overtime, but this time the results were different. Bryan Bickell broke a tied game and tied the series with a dramatic overtime tally.
For much of regulation, the officials were the story. Two of the three Coyotes goals were scored during questionable power plays (one during an interference call on Jonathan Toews, the other during the major penalty assessed on Andrew Shaw). But the players were given an opportunity to decide the game in the third period, and the Hawks came through before the clock expired yet again.
And, again, Brent Seabrook was in the middle of the action. Seabrook unloaded a missile from the point with an extra attacker on the ice, and the traffic in front of Mike Smith provided by Toews and Patrick Sharp was enough to get the puck into the back of the net. Sharp was ultimately credited with the goal.
The first two Blackhawks goals were… far from expected. Bickell scored a power play goal just 3:05 into the game, and Brandon Bollig scored his first NHL goal to tie the game at two just under seven minutes into the second period.
In the overtime, after an epic shift from Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Sharp, an ugly turnover by Adrian Aucoin (on a nice play by Viktor Stalberg) found Bickell in the middle of the ice wide open. A nasty wrist shot got past Smith, and the Blackhawks tied the series.
Bickell skated 16:43 and was active as he has been in his brief NHL career. He was credited with a team-leading seven hits and scored two of the Hawks’ four goals.
Bollig came out of the dressing room to start the second period and threw his weight around during his first few shifts, hitting anything in the wrong colored sweater. His release from just inside the blue line was clean, and he became the first Blackhawks player since Warren Rychel (April 6, 1991 vs. Minnesota) to have his first NHL point come on a postseason goal.
Corey Crawford stood on his head all night, especially late in the third period. The official stats say Crawford only made five saves in the final 20 minutes of regulation, but every one of them was a huge save on a quality attempt. Crawford was strong into the overtime period as well, finishing with 30 saves against 33 shots and a victory.
Toews was more confident on his skates and appeared to be closer to the 100 percent Toews that was in the conversation for the Hart Trophy when he got hurt. He was back to winning a significant majority of his faceoffs and was initiating contact; he was credited with four hits in the game.
Sharp was also surprisingly physical in the game. He was credited with seven hits to go with his game-tying goal at the end of regulation. Sharp also blocked two shots.
Seabrook was again the best player on the blue line for Chicago, skating 31:32 in the game. He was credited with one assist, on the game-tying goal, one blocked shot and five hits.
Dave Bolland, Johnny Oduya, Nick Leddy, Duncan Keith, Kane, Hossa and Stalberg were credited with assists in the game.
Game Three will be at the United Center on Tuesday night. If the first two games are any indication, an overtime thriller is more than likely.