The Phoenix Coyotes wanted to end the series as quickly as possible, put away the dangerous Chicago Blackhawks and put to rest all the talk about them coughing up another playoff series.
But a 1-0 lead thanks to a Gilbert Brule goal in the second period wasn't enough. Three power-play opportunities with a chance to double the bulge went by the boards. And when the Blackhawks tied the game on a seeing-eye Nick Leddy shot in the third period, all the ghosts of the past seemed to come through the walls of Jobing.com Arena for a better look.
In the fifth straight overtime between the two teams in this series, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews beat Phoenix goalie Mike Smith with a great shot and the Coyotes are still searching for that one win that has eluded this franchise for a quarter century and a curse that has followed them from Winnipeg still lives.
"For myself, I just had a feeling something good was going to happen," Toews said. For the Coyotes, it always seems to be the opposite.
The Coyotes are now 0-7 in series-clinching games since moving to Arizona in 1996, and five of those games have come on home ice. They blew a 3-2 lead to Anaheim in 1997. They blew a 3-1 lead to St. Louis in 1999. And in 2010, after winning Game 6 in Detroit to force a seventh game in Phoenix, they were bombed 6-1 and sent home again.
They have two more chances to get the job done. They are 4-0 in Chicago this year and 2-0 in the playoffs thanks to a pair of Mikkel Boedker goals in overtime. You would have thought that would be enough to push past history over the cliff.
Apparently, another forceful nudge is necessary. And we'll find out if the Coyotes have it in them. They play next on Monday in Chicago.