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.