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Coyotes v Blackhawks - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Playoffs a coming-out party for Coyotes' Boedker

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The path Mikkel Boedker took to his second straight heart-stopping, game-winning playoff overtime goal couldn't have been more direct.

Scampering straight ahead with a turnover, the Phoenix Coyotes' 22-year-old speedster fought off two Chicago defenders and forced the puck past goalie Corey Crawford through a spot of daylight he still yet to see. The result was a 3-2 win, a 3-1 Phoenix lead in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series and a place for Boedker in NHL history as one of only eight players with back-to-back OT goals in the same series.

"We looked at it a couple of times on the bus [back to the hotel], and I guess it went in off my forehand," Boedker said of Thursday night's winner. "That wasn't the plan. But if I did what I planned, maybe it doesn't go in, so I'll stick with whatever happened."

One of only seven Danish players to reach the NHL, Boedker's path to that day was far from direct.

After coming to Calgary for a tournament with in 2007, Boedker fell in love with Canadian junior hockey and made the jump at age 17. He played a season with the Kitchener Rangers and raised eyebrows with 29 goals in the regular season and 35 points in 20 Memorial Cup playoff games.

Wary Coyotes are taking nothing for granted

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The temperature was just a smidge under 100 degrees when the Phoenix Coyotes landed back in Arizona on Friday afternoon with some cool souvenirs – a pair of overtime win over the Blackhawks – packed away in the luggage to remind them of an unforgettable trip to Chicago.

The players didn't seem to notice the heat. That's what happens when you've been living on the edge and forced to play in postseason mode for more than two months.

Left for dead in and in 12th place in the Western Conference at the end of January, Phoenix had no choice but to adopt a do-or-die attitude on the spot. That mantra carried them through an 11-0-1 February, a five-game winning streak to end the season and the first division title in franchise history – one that seemed impossible a week earlier.

Torres disciplinary ruling to be announced Saturday

National Hockey League Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan will announce Saturday whether the NHL Department of Player Safety will assess further supplemental discipline to suspended Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres.

Torres was suspended indefinitely Wednesday, pending an in-person hearing held today at the NHL's New York Office, for a hit on Chicago forward Marian Hossa 11:42 into the first period of Game 3 of the teams' Western Conference Quarterfinal series in Chicago on Tuesday, April 17.

Blackhawks down to last chance

Tim Cronin - Correspondent

CHICAGO – It's more than lucky bounces that have brought the Phoenix Coyotes a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series. It's the effort that creates turnovers and leads to goals like Mikkel Boedker's second overtime game-winner in succession.

Some of the Chicago Blackhawks understand that.

Mikkel Boedker
Right Wing - PHX
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 3
SOG: 12 | +/-: 2
"You've got to work to get lucky like that," captain Jonathan Toews said in the deathly quiet Hawks' dressing room following Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss. "Boedker seems to be their guy in the last two games."

On Thursday, as he did two nights earlier, Boedker victimized Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford. This time, he shoved the puck between Crawford's pads at the conclusion of a breakaway 2:15 into sudden death. Crawford was dumbfounded -- as were 22,111 witnesses in the United Center.

"I was just playing it like a breakaway," Crawford said quietly, head down, sitting in his stall in the corner of the room. "He came in and I don't know how ... I can't imagine how it went through there. Just brutal.

Blackhawks' Quenneville fined $10,000

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has been fined $10,000 for public comments critical of the officiating in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night in Chicago, the National Hockey League announced today.

Surreal season sees Saad set to rejoin Hawks lineup

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It's been kind of a surreal season for Chicago Blackhawks rookie Brandon Saad.

After Chicago picked him in the second round of last summer's 2011 NHL Draft (No. 43) -- later than many expected -- he dazzled during training camp and in preseason contests. The 19-year old forward also landed a spot in the starting lineup for the Hawks' first two games of the regular season before being sent back to junior hockey.

Now, after starring for the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, Saad is back with the Hawks and could be more of an "Ace in the Hole" than a Black Ace. Saad will start Thursday night's Game 4 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes and could be a top-six forward.

"I think just knowing I've [already] played in the League a bit helps me out," Saad said after Chicago's morning skate. "I was definitely nervous at the start of the season, but since I've been a part of it a little bit, it's more exciting this time of year."

After heading back to Saginaw, Saad finished second on his team with a career-high 34 goals and 42 assists for an impressive 76 points in just 44 regular-season games -- leading the OHL with a 1.73 points-per game average. He's also put on some good weight and hopes the added muscle helps him be stronger on the puck.

Coyotes-Blackhawks turning into battle of attrition

Tim Cronin - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- A series with three overtimes in as many games, two suspensions and more animosity than was expected between Phoenix and Chicago, teams that see each other only four times in the regular season, continues Thursday night.

And nobody knows what to expect when the Coyotes try to build on a 2-1 series lead against the Blackhawks in Game 4 at the United Center (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

Except overtime, perhaps.

Deadlocks at the 60-minute mark, and the physicality that has increased from the opening puck drop, has been the common theme in the series.

Hossa out of Blackhawks lineup for Game 4

Marian Hossa
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 10 | +/-: 3

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa has been ruled out for Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against Phoenix on Thursday, according to coach Joel Quenneville.

Hossa was wheeled off on a stretcher Tuesday night in the first period of Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Phoenix, injured by a hit from Phoenix forward Raffi Torres in the first period of a 3-2 overtime victory by Phoenix at the United Center.

The Blackhawks announced after the game that Hossa was recovering at home, having been released from a hospital. Wednesday, after the team's practice, Quenneville announced that Hossa would not dress for Game 4.

Torres suspended indefinitely, hearing set for Friday

NEW YORK -- Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been suspended indefinitely, pending an in-person hearing Friday, April 20, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today. The hearing, which had been planned for today, was deferred at the request of the player and the National Hockey League Players' Association.

Hossa out of hospital after hit from Torres

Tim Cronin - Correspondent

CHICAGO – Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa was wheeled off on a stretcher in the first period of Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Phoenix on Tuesday, injured by a hit from Phoenix forward Raffi Torres.

Hossa had just passed the puck at center ice when Torres came out of the Chicago zone and hit Hossa with his left shoulder. Hossa fell to the ice in front of the Blackhawks bench and was motionless for about a minute. He was attended to by the Chicago team doctor, two EMTs and the Hawks' trainer.

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