Martin Hanzal (11) of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates with goaltender Mike Smith after Hanzal scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 1 of the Western Conference quarter-finals against the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 12, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.
Photograph by: Christian Petersen, Getty Images
Glendale, AZ — Martin Hanzal scored 9:29 into overtime to lift the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of a Western Conference quarterfinal.
Fresh off capturing their first division title since entering the NHL in 1979 as the original Winnipeg Jets, the Coyotes were mere seconds away from winning in regulation before Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook forced overtime.
In the extra session, the Blackhawks continually iced the puck and it finally cost them on the game-winner.
Off an offensive zone draw, Hanzal positioned himself in the slot and managed to redirect Adrian Aucoin's shot from the right point, giving the Pacific Division champs an early lead in this best-of-seven series that resumes Saturday night in Phoenix.
"That was just a great feeling," Hanzal said.
Mike Smith made 43 saves for the Coyotes, who concluded the regular season on a five-game winning streak.
Jonathan Toews scored in his return after missing Chicago's final 22 games with a concussion.
Corey Crawford recorded 31 saves for the sixth-seeded Blackhawks, who outshot Phoenix 18-8 in the third period and tallied the equalizer with 14.2 seconds showing on the clock.
As Crawford viewed the action from the bench, Patrick Kane sent a wrister toward Smith that Toews deflected to the far side of the net. Seabrook was all alone, kicked the puck to his stick and buried it into an open net.
Playing for the first time since February 19, Toews displayed no rust as he opened the scoring 4:04 into the game. The Blackhawks captain collected a loose puck and beat Smith with a backhander from below the right circle.
The Coyotes scored twice in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
Taylor Pyatt tied it off a nice behind-the-net feed from Daymond Langkow at 7:38. Just prior to the goal, Crawford was going to freeze the puck, but Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson kept the play alive by knocking it away.
On the go-ahead goal, the Coyotes caught the Blackhawks in a line change and Antoine Vermette wound up scoring on a one-timer from the slot at 17:27.
"Lost the momentum in that period, but I thought we got it back in the third and in overtime lost it again with the icings," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville.
The Coyotes and Blackhawks are meeting in the postseason for the first time . . . Phoenix forward Radim Vrbata was injured early in the first period and did not return . . . Kane had two assists . . . Chicago has dropped six of its last eight series-opening games.
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