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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blackhawks downed

Coyotes take 3-1 series lead on OT marker

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CHICAGO -- It took a repeat performance by Mikkell Boedker in yet another overtime to put the Phoenix Coyotes a victory away from winning their opening-round series with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boedker scored in overtime for the second straight game -- his only two career post-season goals -- and the Coyotes took command of the tight-as-can-be playoff by beating the Blackhawks 3-2 on Thursday night.

All four games have gone to overtime and the Coyotes lead 3-1 headed back to Arizona for Game 5 on Saturday night, where they hope to wrap it up.

Boedker got control of a loose puck, skated ahead of defenceman Nick Leddy on a mini breakaway and shovelled the puck through goalie Corey Crawford's legs at 2:15 of the extra period.

"Actually, I don't know how it slid in, but I'm happy it did. It was a bobbled puck and I felt like I got to it first and I kind of hit it and it bounced over the D-man's stick and I was partially alone there for a little bit, at least," Boedker said.

"It went in and it's an amazing feeling."

The Coyotes came into the United Center, one of the toughest buildings in the NHL, and won two in a row. They beat a Chicago team missing star winger Marian Hossa, who'd been knocked out of Game 3 by a thunderous shoulder-to-head hit from Raffi Torres. Torres has been suspended indefinitely, pending a scheduled hearing with the league Friday.

The Blackhawks tied it in the closing seconds of regulation for the third time in the series by pulling Crawford for an extra attacker with Michael Frolik scoring with 1:26 left to make it 2-2. Phoenix had gone up 2-0 with two goals 44 seconds apart in the third before the Blackhawks rallied.

Once into overtime, the Coyotes responded again.

" We're used to it now. We've done it for four games. Obviously we would like for it not to go into overtime, that's probably what everybody would prefer, but overtime happens," Boedker said. " We're just happy we've won three of them."

On Tuesday night, Boedker had scored on a tough angle from the left side, beating Crawford in a 3-2 victory. This time he came right at the goalie.

"I was just playing it like a breakaway. He came in and I don't know how ... I can't imagine how it went through there. Just brutal," Crawford said.

The Coyotes finished strong in the regular season to win a division title and have carried it over.

The Blackhawks had one strong offensive sequence to start overtime but couldn't manage a shot against Mike Smith, who finished with 30 saves. And then Boedker responded for the second time in three nights. Phoenix won despite having only 19 shots on goal.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2012 C3

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