Hanzal's gamble pays off
CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
|Phoenix Coyotes' Martin Hanzal celebrates with goaltender Mike Smith after Hanzal scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 12, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP)
PHOENIX - It’s the playoffs, so you pull out all the tricks.
In the seconds before Phoenix Coyotes centre Martin Hanzal won the faceoff that led to the winner in overtime Friday night against the Nashville Predators, Hanzal used the fact he and linemate Radim Vrbata speak Czech to get their strategy straight without the Predators knowing what they were going to do.
Hanzal won the draw against Nashville’s Mike Fisher, the puck went to Coyotes veteran Ray Whitney and he scored the winner at 14:04 of the first over time period.
So, was it a set faceoff play?
“I told Vrbata because he was on my right side, I told him in Czech, ‘hey, I’m going ahead, so just make sure you stay third guy high.’ I didn’t want to say anything to Whit (in English) because if I said something, (the Predators) would be aware of it. It was kind of a set play, but it wasn’t, because (Whitney) didn’t know. But he was ready for it, which was good.”
Hanzal said he gambled Fisher would try and win the draw towards Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.
“I wasn’t really strong on my right side on the faceoff and (Fisher) kind of wanted to win it towards the goalie, so I figured I’d try it and go ahead,” said Hanzal. “It worked out pretty good.”