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NHL Playoffs 2012: Game 5 Is Turning Point for Blackhawks

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 21:  Jonathan Toews #19 and Jimmy Hayes #39 of the Chicago Blackhawks lean on the bench during a time out from Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 21, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
James MaahsContributor IIIApril 22, 2012

The Chicago Blackhawks left the Jobing.com Arena with all the momentum after Saturday's win against the Phoenix Coyotes.

It's a series that now looks to favor the offensively talented Blackhawks.

Prior to Game 5, the Hawks were down and out after losing back-to-back games on home ice. The Coyotes were skating with all the momentum, looking to close out their first playoff series as a franchise in Phoenix.

But the Hawks showed heart and, more importantly, captain Jonathan Toews showed why he is a champion. Toews spoke to the media following a Game 5 win in Phoenix (via ESPN).

“That’s got to say something about our character and what we are able to do,” Toews said. “Especially against a team that late in games is so good at protecting leads and playing smart defensively and not making too many mistakes.”

The Hawks' Game 5 win was a turning point in this series, as it put the Coyotes under the gun heading back to the United Center.

Sure, the Coyotes have to win one of the next two games while the Hawks have to win out, but the task seems to be harder for the Coyotes.

The Hawks have climbed the mountain before; last year against the Vancouver Canucks when they went down 0-3. Looking down and out, the Hawks were able to force a Game 7, which they eventually lost in overtime.

Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford seem to be heating up at the right time while Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp have to get things going.

Michael Frolik is finding his stride while Andrew Shaw is due to make his return after a three-game suspension. 

The Blackhawks defensemen are doing a better job of keeping with their defensive assignments and the forwards have been back-checking with a little more consistency.

Regardless, it all comes down to Game 6 on Monday night. If the Blackhawks are able to win at the United Center, then game 7 will be up for grabs come Wednesday night.

 

Follow Featured Columnist James Maahs on Twitter for all latest Blackhawks' news and updates.


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