By Ben Meyer-Abbott
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Game 1 of the Blackhakws' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes wasn't a fun night for anyone on the team, especially defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Sean O'Donnell.
The Hawks' third defensive pairing was a combined minus-4 and either Hjalmarsson or O'Donnell was on the ice for all three of the Coyote's goals as Phoenix took a 1-0 lead in the series.
"It's never fun to have that," O'Donnell said of his and Hjalmarsson's stat lines. "You only control what you do and sometimes you're a direct result of goals and sometimes you're not. ... You have to look at [all your] plays and look in the mirror and judge how you played and I thought things went OK."
Both Hjalmarsson and O'Donnell were on the ice when Taylor Pyatt was able to tie the score a 1 midway through the second period on a pass behind the net from Daymond Langkow.
The goal came after the Coyotes had a sustained spell in the Hawks' defensive end and several Hawks' player had opportunities to clear the puck.
"We had a couple of chances where we had it on our stick and we just weren't able to get it done," O'Donnell said. "You could kind of feel it coming on as the shift went on."
Moments before the goal, O'Donnell, who was playing without a stick, attempted a glove pass along the ice in the direction of Hjalmarsson and goalie Corey Crawford.
"I looked and there wasn't any players around them so I was just trying to get it that way for either Corey to freeze or [Hjalmarsson], if he had time, to make a play with it," O'Donnell said. "There was some confusion there and [the Coyotes] were able to keep the play alive [and score]."
Coach Joel Quenneville was livid on the bench before and after the goal. The Hawks coach was shouting from the bench at the referees after he spotted what he felt were six Coyotes' skaters on the ice in the build up to the score.
However, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett disagreed with Quenneville's interpretation of the play.
"We had two wingers changing for each other. Neither of those wingers were involved in the play," Tippett said. "[Michal Rozsival] was not involved in the change was the guy that touched the puck. If one of those wingers would have touched the puck I would think that would have been an automatic call."