Tell me if you've heard this one: with the Phoenix Coyotes leading the Chicago Blackhawks in the dying seconds of regulation, Chicago pulled the goaltender in desperation and, miraculously, managed to send it to overtime.
It was déjà vu all over again for the Coyotes, who saw their second chance to take a two-game lead in the series slipping away after Michael Frolik notched things up at 18:34 of the third. Thankfully for Phoenix fans, Game 4 ended in the good kind of déjà vu: For the second straight game, Mikkel Boedker scored the 3-2 overtime winner:
The play developed when the puck squirted out to the neutral zone, where Boedker and Nick Leddy raced out to be the first to collect it. Unfortunately for Leddy, he not only lost the race, but he gave up the centre of the ice to do so, allowing Boedker to poke the puck past him and dash into the Blackhawks zone.
Just as in Game 3, it didn't take much for Boedker to beat Corey Crawford, who allowed the puck to sneak underneath him and into the goal. The Coyotes now head back to Jobing.com Arena with a 3-1 series lead and a chance to give the franchise's its first playoff win since 1987.
Thursday was the 3rd time in 4 games that Chicago has forced overtime with the extra man. In Game 1, Brent Seabrook scored at 19:45 of the 3rd period. In Game 3, Patrick Sharp scored at 19:54. And, in game 4, Michael Frolik got the big goal after Dave Bolland made a nifty move to get into the slot:
The Blackhawks are left wondering where they could be right now. They're lucky to still be in this series at all, what with their reliance on miracles.
But you could also argue that they're unlucky to be trailing. They've been able to capitalize on Phoenix's inability to close out games, sure, but they've only made the Coyotes truly pay for it once.
Granted, overtimes are often about lucky bounces (in Phoenix's case, some fortuitously chintzy goals), and Chicago's simply been unable to get the bounces needed to win the extra frame.
Maybe it's because they're using up all their magic getting there.