The Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the United Center with a road split after they pulled off a comeback overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series. Chicago trailed on two separate occasions, but Patrick Sharp netted a game-tying goal with six seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Just under 11 minutes into the first overtime period, Bryan Bickell netted the winner after Viktor Stalberg made a brilliant play to keep the puck in the offensive zone and found Bickell in the middle of a change.
Antoine Vermette got off to a very poor start in this game with a slash on Patrick Sharp that led to the opening goal for the Blackhawks. They came very close to killing the penalty, but at the very end of the power play, Dave Bolland created a scoring opportunity with a shot on goal. Mike Smith was unable to handle the rebound and Bryan Bickell poked the puck into the net.
Raffi Torres answered for Phoenix in the middle of the period, assisted by Shane Doan, and they would take the lead shortly afterwards. The Coyotes' second came on a controversial power play, given for goalie interference on Jonathan Toews. The replay of the incident indicated that Smith, not Toews, initiated the contact between the two players. Phoenix would capitalize on the power play anyway, with Vermette tipping in a shot by Keith Yandle to give his team the lead.
Brandon Bollig scored his first career goal in the second period to tie the game, but their momentum advantage would evaporate instantly. Less than 30 seconds after that goal, Andrew Shaw hit Mike Smith behind his goal and made contact with Smith's head. He was seriously shaken up, but returned to the game. Shaw was given a game misconduct and ejected. The result was a five-minute power play, on which the Coyotes were able to capitalize once. Vermette scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Yandle once again, as well as Derek Morris.
Chicago attacked the Coyotes' net throughout the third period, but it took them until the very end of the period to score a tying goal. At the end of a long series of pressure with an extra man on the ice, Patrick Sharp deflected an effort by Brent Seabrook into the net with just six seconds remaining in the game to send it to overtime.
If either team was tired, they certainly didn't look like it in the extra period. If anything, overtime was faster paced and more wide open than any of the periods before it. Smith and Corey Crawford were both challenged multiple times, though Smith was certainly on the receiving end of more shots than his counterpart on the other end of the ice. Eventually, the Blackhawks were able to get one past Smith to head back to Chicago with a split.
The Coyotes had the puck deep in their own end and looked to catch the Blackhawks on a change, but Stalberg saw the pass up the ice before coming off and not only kept the puck in his zone, but found a streaming Bickell in the center of the zone. Adrian Aucoin lost him, leaving Bickell to take a free shot, and he beat Smith for the winner.
You can find all of our coverage from this game in our Coyotes Vs. Blackhawks Game 2 StoryStream. For more on the Coyotes, check in with Five For Howling and SB Nation Arizona. For more on the Blackhawks, check in with Second City Hockey and SB Nation Chicago.