In the blink of an eye, Mikkel Boedker turned the tide of the series.
Boedker's sharp-angle goal 13:15 into overtime Tuesday lifted the Phoenix Coyotes to a thrilling 3-2 road win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 at United Center. All five games of this wild Western Conference Quarterfinals series have been decided in the extra session, and Boedker has done the damage in Games 3 and 4 with overtime winners in each contest to put Phoenix in the driver's seat.
While both of Boedker's overtime goals were crucial moments in this eventful series, the Game 3 winner earned the first postseason Play of the Week honor because it set the tone for Phoenix in enemy territory. Boedker, nearly parallel with the goal line after fetching the puck, fired a wrister through the legs of Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford to give the Coyotes a 2-1 edge in what has been an unpredictable, back-and-forth series.
"I was trying to hit his pad," Boedker told NHL.com after Game 3. "I thought of going to the net and I was actually shooting for a rebound, but it went through his legs and that was good for me and good for everybody in here."
The play started with Taylor Pyatt chipping the puck deep into the left corner of the Blackhawks' zone. Pyatt muscled the puck away from Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, giving Boedker a prime opportunity to continue the play.
The Danish-born winger then opted to heave the puck in Crawford's direction and crash the net for a second-chance opportunity. But, as it turned out, his initial shot required no further assistance.
"We dominated overtime," Crawford told NHL.com. "I thought I was feeling good the whole game long. I feel bad I gave 'em that [goal] after the guys battled in overtime like that."
The opportunistic play enabled Phoenix to break through after overcoming a pair of one-goal deficits in regulation. Ray Whitney notched the equalizer midway through the third period, and Boedker's tight-angle goal helped the Coyotes triumph in the extra session. It was an uplifting moment for a team that squandered a third period lead in the final seconds of regulation in Game 2 before Bryan Bickell stunned the white-clad crowd at Jobing.com Arena with the overtime winner.
Then, two days later, it was a similar script for Boedker, who found the back of the net 2:15 into overtime Thursday to bail the Coyotes out for the second straight playoff game -- not to mention enable his team to steal both games in the Windy City. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews kept the series alive in Game 5, however, with an overtime goal of his own that sent the series back to Phoenix for Game 6 on Monday.
Boedker, who has registered his first two career postseason goals in overtime this series, is responsible for the two biggest plays of the Coyotes' season to date, as the franchise stands one win away from its first playoff series win since moving to Arizona.
Author: Pete Jensen | NHL.com Staff Writer