As the game wore on and the Blackhawks piled up shot after empty shot Monday night, one bizarre possibility became more and more likely:
The other team, the team that could manage only two shots on goal in the first period, was going to win this game. You knew it. I knew it. And the Hawks, if they were paying attention to the voices in their heads, knew it, too.
It became a reality because the Coyotes had a goaltender with a force field around him capable of repelling pucks. Mike Smith was spectacular, stopping the Hawks at every turn in a 4-0 victory.
But he doesn’t deserve all the credit for what happened at the United Center. The Hawks often were their own worst enemy, throwing shots into Smith’s glove and pads as if they were making charitable donations....