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Script must change as Coyotes head into Game 3
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Script must change as Coyotes head into Game 3

In the Matrix trilogy, déjà vu is a sign that there
is a glitch in the
program, that something has changed and likely not for the
better.

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.