Script must change as Coyotes head into Game 3
In Groundhog Day, Phil (played by Bill Murray) could not escape a particular day until he learned some things that would change his life for the better.
While the Coyotes would much rather take after Phil, who ultimately learned from his mistakes and improved his life, they unfortunately more closely resembled Neo Saturday night in Glendale, as the change in Game 3 -- and their first-round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks -- was not a good one.
"Obviously disappointed and frustrated, but it's 1-1 now," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said after the team's 4-3 OT loss. "Never want to give a game away like we did, but at the same time it's one game."
If only it was "one game." In fact, it was the second time in two games where the Coyotes saw the Blackhawks tie things up in the final seconds, this time courtesy of a Patrick Sharp goal at the 19:54 mark in the third period.
The Coyotes were six seconds away from heading to the Windy City with a 2-0 series lead, and instead head to Chicago with the wind having been taken out of their sails.
"Obviously it's disappointing, no doubt about that," center Antoine Vermette said. "When you win you're feeling pretty good and then I think a key in the playoffs is managing your emotion.
Vermette scored a pair of goals on the night, and nearly pulled off the hat trick early in overtime, only to be stuffed by Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. What could have been…
Added Vermette, "I mean, it's disappointing but we got to look ahead and go there and regroup and have some good games over there."
They're going to have to.
The good news is that as bad as things seem now, this series isn't over - it's just been reset. While the Blackhawks accomplished what they set out to do by earning the split, but now it's on them to hold serve at the United Center in Chicago, where the Coyotes won a pair of games during the regular season (one in a shootout).
So while things may seem bleak now, all is not lost. In fact, as Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said, this series has played out in a fashion that was not unexpected.
"It's exactly the way I thought it was going to be, tight and very contested," he said.
Doan agreed, saying they all thought it would be a long series, and it's going to be exactly that.
Not much changed for the Coyotes from Game 1 to Game 2, with the only difference being who came out on top. The good news for them is like Phil, they will have a chance to learn and move on.
Game 3 is Tuesday.