By Ben Meyer-Abbott
GLENDALE, Ariz. - With 45 shots in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes, it's not the quantity of shots the Blackhawks are getting that's the problem.
It's the quality of the goalie.
And Brent Seabrook, for one, would like to see the Hawks make life more difficult for Coyotes net minder Mike Smith.
"He's a great goaltender and we just have to make it tough on him," Seabrook said following the Hawks 3-2 overtime loss Thursday. "We just got to continue to put stuff at the net."
The victory was Smith's fourth consecutive against the Hawks. He had 43 saves to improve his save percentage this season against his first-round opponents to a daunting .958.
Seabrook scored on Smith with 14.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime but said the Hawks need to do more to capitalize on the pressure they're generating against the Coyotes.
"It would be nice to try to get momentum," Seabrook said. "We had some momentum throughout the whole third period and it took us all of 20 minutes to get one by [Smith]."
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett wasn't necessarily upset about the amount of rubber the Hawks were able to put on net. As long as the Coyotes' patient team defense is able to keep the Hawks shooters to the outside, he'll gladly accept the 40 shots the Hawks poured on net in regulation.
"It depends on where the shots are coming from," Tippett said.
Missing ingredient for the Hawks in Game 1 was traffic in front of the net and making sure Smith doesn't get a clean look at what's coming at him.
"We've got to continue to work hard," Seabrook said. "[We need to] continue to put pressure on him and make it tough for him to see pucks."