GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Chicago Blackhawks are getting pretty good at pulling off last-second, game-tying playoff goals out of their hats.
And this time, they finished the job.
Facing the prospect of falling behind 2-0 in this best-of-seven series, the Blackhawks emptied their net, stormed the opposition and pulled off a miracle when Patrick Sharp tipped a Brent Seabrook shot past Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith with 5.5 seconds left to tie the game and earn new life. Brian Bickell made the most of it with his second goal of the game 10:36 into overtime as Chicago stunned Phoenix 4-3 in Game 2 at Jobing.com Arena.
It's the third straight playoff game in which the Blackhawks have tied the game with six skaters late in regulation. Jonathan Toews did it in Game 7 against Vancouver last year before the Canucks prevailed to win the series. Seabrook did the honors with 14.2 seconds left on Thursday, but Martin Hanzal won the game for Phoenix in OT.
This time, Bickell was waiting in the slot when Viktor Stalberg pinched in to stop an Adrian Aucoin clearing attempt and directed the puck his way. The series shifts to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
"Three straight (playoff) games, all in the same type of fashion, all on the road," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was exactly like last game, and when you have that momentum going into [overtime], you'd like to cash in."
Bickell credited a hard shift by the previous line of Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa taxing the Phoenix defense and leading to his goal.
"It was like a minute with Kaner, Hoss and Sharpie out there and we knew they had a tired 'D,' " said Bickell, who started the scoring for Chicago way back in the opening minutes. "Stalberg had a good seal and it hit his shin pad and I just threw it on net and I got lucky. I was kind of star-struck with nobody in front of me.
"I don't think many players in this room have experienced what we've done in the last two nights, with 14 seconds left in the first game and just five this time. The character in this room is incredible and it winds up resulting in huge goals."
The Coyotes not only lost the game, they lost a pair of key forwards, Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski, to lower-body injuries -- and they lost the home-ice advantage as the series shifts to Chicago for Game 3 on Tuesday. Hanzal left the arena during the game and is believed to be the more seriously injured player.
Mikkel Boedker missed a chance at the vacated net and Antoine Vermette failed to clear the zone with about 15 seconds left, giving the Blackhawks another shot at a miracle comeback.
"We had the puck on our stick with 15 seconds left and it winds up in the back of our net," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Tough luck. We had a chance to put [it] away and didn't get it done and then you're into a frenzy into the last 30 seconds. It's one of those thing we've got to find a way to get through."
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 30 saves and denied Vermette of a hat trick early in overtime with a doorstep save.
Vermette, playing on the top line in place of Hanzal, scored a pair of power play goals and gave Phoenix a 3-2 lead in the second period after Chicago's Andrew Shaw was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for hitting Smith with a shot to the head.
"I came in on the forecheck. He played the puck and I tried to get out of the way and unfortunately I made contact – not that I meant to or anything," Shaw said. "I'm just glad he was OK and he played the rest of the game. His stick came up toward my face and I tried to get out of the way of it and unfortunately made a little contact."
Shaw had to sit in the dressing room as the goal Phoenix scored on his power-play looked as if it would stand up.
"I'm just happy we came out with the win. It makes me feel a lot better," he said.
Smith received treatment after the game and said through a team spokesman: "I went back to play the puck and I didn't see him coming. I don't have eyes in the back of my head.
"I feel fine. I'm 100 percent."
The entire game was a carbon copy of Game 1: The Blackhawks dominated the early minutes and took a quick lead while Phoenix lost a member of their top line to an injury – this time it was Hanzal, who limped off in pain on his third shift of the game.
Chicago put 11 shots on Smith in the first five minutes and cashed on Vermette's slashing penalty when Bickell swatted a Dave Bolland rebound past Smith at 3:05 to give Chicago the lead.
But the Coyotes turned the momentum with a hustle play by their two biggest hitters. Doan outmuscled Chicago's Duncan Keith for the puck behind the Blackhawks net and fed Raffi Torres, who beat Crawford cleanly to turn the tide.
The Coyotes kept coming. After a goalie interference call on Jonathan Toews, Phoenix struck on the power play for the first time in the series. Oliver Ekman-Larsson set up Keith Yandle for a shot from the point that Vermette deflected past Crawford at 13:44 to give Phoenix the lead after one period.
Chicago broke up its top line of Toews, Kane and Hossa and for the second period, but got the tying goal from an unlikely source. Rookie Brandon Bollig's shot caught a piece of Derek Morris' stick and slipped under the glove of Smith at 6:57 to knot the game 2-2.
But before the Blackhawks could build on the goal, Shaw plowed into Smith and the Coyotes had five minutes to get the lead back. Vermette used a Torres screen to beat Crawford on the power play at 8:21 to restore the lead.
It stayed that way until the final minute -- when the Blackhawks beat the buzzer again.