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Should Coyotes be worried about closing out games?

Apr 20, 2012, 8:05 AM EDT

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 19: Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates to the bench as members of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrate an overtime win in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 19, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Coyotes defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Sure, NHL hockey has slowly drifted back to a place where it’s a little easier to play “trap” hockey, but Chicago proves that sitting on a lead can still get you burned.

The Blackhawks have scored the tying goal with less than 1:30 minutes remaining in regulation time in three times in their first round series. So the obvious question is, do the Phoenix Coyotes have an issue with holding onto a lead?

If they do it’s a new phenomenon. During the regular season, the Coyotes were actually one of the best teams in the league when it came to winning a game after they established a lead through 20 or 40 minutes. With that in mind, these late comebacks should attributed to Chicago’s clutch play at least as much as they should be to any tactical mistake the Coyotes are making.

It would also seem a little silly to worry too much about Phoenix, seeing as they haven’t been fazed by Chicago’s dramatic comebacks. Of the three games Chicago sent to overtime with a goal in the final 1:30 minutes of the third period, Phoenix has still ended up winning two of them.

At this point, Phoenix is just one win away from advancing to the second round for the first time since they moved to Glendale. If that happens, they will probably be regarded as the underdog against whatever opponent they face, but the Coyotes shouldn’t be overlooked. Whatever issues they might have, they’re clearly compensating for.

  1. rosloe62 - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Sloppy D and bad goaltending is winning it for Phoenix. I like the Crow, but at least 2 of the OT goals could have been stopped by juniors goalies. I think the Hawks need a goalie change to spark this team!

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