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Coyotes v Blackhawks - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Blackhawks' Shaw suspended three games

NEW YORK -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has been suspended for three games for charging Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith during Game 2 of the teams' Western Conference Quarterfinal playoff series Saturday night in Phoenix, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 7:11 of the second period. Shaw was assessed a major penalty for charging and game misconduct.

For a full explanation of the decision, complete with video, please click on the following link:

Protecting late leads hasn't been easy for Coyotes

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – One minute left and the Phoenix Coyotes have a one-goal lead over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dave Tippett's club is 2-for-2 in that scenario coming to fruition so far in this Western Conference Quarterfinals Series. The Coyotes are 0-2 in holding that lead to the regulation horn – and 1-1 when it comes to pulling out an overtime victory.

That's how close this series has been so far. Neither team has had a two-goal lead at any point in the series. And those one-goal leads haven't been very safe.

Blackhawks hope move in series sparks better play

Tim Cronin - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- After another final-second, game-tying goal -- this one followed by an overtime victory -- the Chicago Blackhawks hope to carry that momentum into Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series on Tuesday.

"Momentum is important in the playoffs, and we want to make sure we take care of it, so let's take advantage," coach Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks practiced Monday, one day before hosting the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 at the United Center. "They are a good road team. They've played us well here. They're a dangerous opponent. We have to take advantage of the building, of the crowd, but let's be sure we're not looking to outscore this team. We have to have patience to be effective against them."

The Coyotes beat the Hawks in their last three regular-season meetings, including both games at the United Center, and then in Game 1 of the playoffs. It's not as if they'll fold just because the Hawks, after forcing a tie in the final 15 seconds for a second straight game, won Game 2 in OT to square the series.

Chicago's Shaw faces Monday hearing

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will have a hearing Monday for an incident with Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith in Chicago's 4-3 overtime win Saturday.

Shaw was assessed a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct at 7:11 of the second period after making contact with Smith behind the Phoenix net. Smith was down for several minutes but was able to finish the game.

Coyotes' Hanzal limps off with injury

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the second time in two playoff games, the Coyotes have lost a member of their top line early in the first period.

Center Martin Hanzal, who had the overtime game-winner in the Coyotes' 3-2 win in Game 1, limped off the ice on his third shift of the first period in Game 2. The Coyotes said Hanzal is being evaluated.

The Coyotes lost leading goal-scorer Radim Vrbata a minute into Game 1 on Thursday; he did not return but was back in the lineup for Game 2.

Back to being himself, Smith starring for Coyotes

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

Mike Smith
Goalie - PHX
RECORD: 1-0-0
GAA: 1.74 | SVP: 0.956

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Between the pipes this season, Mike Smith has delivered a stellar performance that not only placed him among the top five goaltenders in wins, save percentage a shutouts but made him a candidate for Vezina Trophy consideration.

He also gives the Phoenix Coyotes a coveted possession in the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- a hot goaltender.

Honored as the NHL's First Star during the final week of the regular season, Smith carried that play into Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals with 43 saves, giving the Coyotes a 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Vrbata continues string of Coyotes' playoff injuries

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Injuries are a fact of life in the NHL playoffs. For the Phoenix Coyotes, they appears to be a foregone conclusion.

Radim Vrbata's upper-body injury on the first shift of Game 1 – courtesy of an Andrew Shaw shot along the boards – was the sour note in a 3-2 overtime win over the Blackhawks on Thursday night. Vrbata was not available to the media Friday and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury; his status for Game 2 is questionable at best.

Shaw said he thought Vrbata injured his shoulder on the play. The Coyotes weren't interested in getting any more specific than the obvious.

Coyotes lose Vrbata with injury

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes lost their leading goal-scorer, Radim Vrbata, early in the first period of Thursday's Western Conference Quarterfinal series-opener against the Chicago Blackhawks with an undisclosed injury.

Vrbata, who scored a career-high 35 goals this season, was hampered during the final month of the season by an allergic reaction to penicillin -- a problem that continues to cause severe muscle cramps throughout his body. He missed six games and parts of others dealing with the pain.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan double-shifted on right wing in his place.

Hawks have turned to Hossa in challenging season

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

During a momentary lull over All-Star weekend in Ottawa, the League's best players were asked to select their MVP for an anonymous poll. To no one's surprise, the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin dominated the anonymous ballot, but one player mentioned caused something of a stir.

"Marian Hossa," said the player.

"Final answer?" the NHL pollster asked.

"Of course," the All-Star responded before finding Hossa nearby and giving him a friendly fist bump.

Ex-Whalers Tippett, Quenneville share close bond

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Win or lose in this first-round seires, Dave Tippett knows he will see Joel Quenneville again this summer.

And Tippett knows he will also see Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen, Carolina Hurricanes Director of Hockey Operations Ron Francis, Modo (Sweden) coach Ulf Samuelsson and player agent Mike Liut, among others.

An old Hartford Whalers reunion planned? Well, kind of. Tippett's younger daughter is getting married -- and that means the gang will all be there.

"It's a small family event, but all of those guys are invited," Tippett said with a smile, just thinking about the stories that will be swapped at the reception. "(Tippett's wife) Wendy and I have been to all their kids' weddings. That's the kind of friendship we built there, and it all came from building a good team."

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