Chicago Sun-Times

Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2: Hanzal nets Game 1 OT winner

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By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Jonathan Toews made his return to the Blackhawks' lineup in a big way, but Martin Hanzal saw to it wasn't a victorious one with a goal 9:29 into overtime as the Phoenix Coyotes won Game 1 of the teams' first-round playoff series.

Hanzal's goal snapped a 24-game scoreless drought for the Coyotes center. Phoenix goalie Mike Smith had 43 saves.

"It's obviously frustrating, but we didn't think we were going to win this series 4-0," said Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, who scored with 14.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. "They came back, they fought hard in overtime and got a playoff-style goal -- an ugly goal and that's what it takes to win in this league in the playoffs."

Toews and Patrick Kane assisted on Seabrook's goal after the Hawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford (31 saves) for the extra attacker with 1:18 left in the third period. Toews set up Kane who pinged a shot off the post before Seabrook controlled the rebound with his skate and swept it into the net.

Toews also scored on his first shot since suffering a concussion that forced him to miss the final 22 games of the regular season to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the first.

"He's a top player and a great leader and we always feel the bigger the game, the bigger the challenge for him," Quenneville said Thursday before Game 1. "He rises to all occasions and emotionally it's good for our team to have him back."

The goal came 4:04 into the first period on Toews' second shift of the game. Kane and Johny Oduya assisted on the goal.

The Hawks, however, trailed 2-1 at the end of the second period after goals for the Coyotes by Tyalor Pyatt and Antoine Vermette.

Toews spoke earlier in the week about being well aware his injury would put a target on his back and midway through the second period Coyotes captain Shane Doan appeared to body slam him behind the Phoenix net.

"I felt like it went both ways," Toews said. "We do what we have to and we drew some penalties. We were smart in that way. In the second period when we had to kill a few penalties we did that, too. There were some things we can take out of this game, but we didn't get the win so we're not happy about that."

The Coyotes' physical play was not limited to Toews. Vermette cross-checked Hawks center Dave Bolland into Phoenix goalie Mike Smith shortly after he scored with 2:33 left in the second to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead.

The collision dislodged the net from its moorings and a lengthy scrum resulted when Bolland popped back up and got in Vermette's face. Vermette was penalized for interference on the play.

The Hawks were unable to capitalize on the ensuing advantage and were 0-for-4 on the power play.

Pyatt tied the score at 1 for the Coyotes with 12:22 remaining in the second after the Hawks were repeatedly unable to clear their zone.

Sean O'Donnell made a glove pass toward Crawford's net after the Hawks' defenseman lost his stick. But Niklas Hjalmarsson intercepted the pass and put the puck behind the net. Daymond Langkow then got the puck in front to Pyatt who lifted it into the roof of Crawford's net.

Quenneville and the Hawks bench were upset before and after goal. The Hawks' coach was adamant the Coyotes had six skaters on the ice while keeping the puck in during the sequence that led up to the goal.

"The official that was looking [at the play] kind of had the same lane as me, but it was clearly - he touched the puck - they had six," Quenneville said.

Former-Hawk Radim Vbrata, who had 35 goals for the Coyotes during the regular season, was injured early in the first and played just two shifts.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said Vrbata was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools. Follow him on Twitter:@adamjahns

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on April 12, 2012 9:44 PM.

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