We're going to hazard a guess than not many in the Windy City thought that their hometown Hawks would be on the brink of elimination at the Game Five mark of the opening round.
Even the most pessimistic fan probably thought at worst, the Hawks would need seven games to knock off the wards of the NHL state, the Phoenix Coyotes, but heading into Saturday night and in front of a packed house (many of which probably never made it to Glendale in the regular season) the Coyotes could very well advance to the next round of the Stanley Cup.
It is a strange thing to see a team that has been owned by the league find such success, a city to be rewarded for its lack of support, but that's the way things go when a coach can find ways to motivate a collection of players, that probably embody the term playing for ourselves.
Dave Tippet has found the right words and created the right combinations to put his Coyotes on the brink of eliminating the Hawks, no mean feat that, especially having already gone into Chicago and take both games of the series in the Madhouse on Madison.
Besides the obvious, that of the absence of the scoring skills of Marian Hossa thanks to the now much discussed and soon to be punished hit by Raffi Torres (gone for a while we would imagine), the Hawks haven't really had anyone reach up and pull the team with them.
Mike Smith's goaltending has provided the Coyotes with a level of confidence that was lacking last year (how's that going for you Philly ?) the Hawks may try, the Hawks may win the battles in the corner and get off some dangerous looking shots, but most times it seems that Smith has the answer to whatever it is that Joel Quennville has to offer.
The same can't be said at all times in the Chicago net, Corey Crawford let in one of those goals you wish you could have back in the last game's OT winning shot by the Coyotes, the Blackhawks can't afford any more of those kinds of gifts.
The Coyotes seem to be too good anyways, they don't need charity, they'll just take the hard work and move on, perhaps as early as the end of the night.
Game Five-- Chicago 2 at Phoenix 1 (OT)
Phoenix leads the series 3 games to 2
Previews and Reviews
Chicago Sun-Times-- Blackhawks Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp feeling pinch of Coyotes' 'D'
Chicago Sun-Times-- Andrew Shaw will make net-front presence felt in return
Chicago Sun Times-- Nick Leddy must keep it going after a high 5
Chicago Sun Times-- Jonathan Toews scores game-winner in OT as Hawks force Game 6
Chicago Sun Times-- Corey Crawford gets bounce-back win in Game 5
Chicago Sun Times-- Hawks hope 25 game suspension on Torres sends message
Chicago Sun Times-- Coyotes have little to say about 25 game ban on Raffi Torres
Chicago Tribune-- Blackhawks stay alive, beat Coyotes in OT
Chicago Tribune-- Kuc-Hamilton analyze Blackhawks' Game 5 win
Chicago Tribune-- A night of redemption
Chicago Tribune-- Hawks goalie Crawford turns away 18 of 19 shots
Chicago Tribune-- 40 year old O'Donnell not ready for Hawks' season to end
Chicago Tribune-- Coyotes' Torres suspended 25 games for hit on Hossa
Chicago Tribune-- Torres' punishment doesn't ease Hawks' pain
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes blow another lead, lose Game 5 to Chicago ...
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes' Raffi Torres suspended 25 games for hit on ...
Arizona Republic-- Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes miss out on chance for monumental ...
Globe and Mail-- Coyotes work overtime for series lead
Globe and Mail-- Blackhawks nip Coyotes in OT to stay alive
Chicago Sun-Times-- Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford may be replaced by Ray Emery ...
Chicago Sun-Times-- Coyotes goalie Mike Smith revels in Blackhawks fans' animosity
Chicago Sun-TImes-- Blackhawks want NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan too throw book...
Chicago Sun-Times-- Raffi Torres ruling due Saturday
Chicago Tribune-- Hawks coach sends message
Chicago Tribune-- Decision from NHL on Coyotes' Torres expected Saturday
Chicago Tribune-- Coyotes' Smith having fun with public enemy status in Chicago
Chicago Tribune-- Crawford or Emery for Hawks in goal?
Chicago Tribune-- NHL's Bettman on rough play: "Think we're seeing it settle down"
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes a game away from new image
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes on brink of announcing arrival
Arizona Republic-- Phoenix Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker taking advantage of his ...
Globe and Mail-- Coyotes have Blackhawks on the brink of elimination
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