"I Am The Walrus"
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After dismantling the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks returned to face off with former Central division member, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both teams had surpassed the century mark in the points column, so similarly to Wednesday night’s tilt, it wouldn’t be an easy one on paper. The Blue Jackets have a surging goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, but credit must be given where credit is due: Coach John Tortorella. Torts was the finishing touch on the Jackets’ organization and they’ve taken off since his hiring. Meanwhile, the guy on the other bench has been pretty successful himself. Quenneville, lineblender and all, has the Blackhawks on the cusp of a franchise record in regular season wins. Sitting at forty-nine, the record is fifty-two set by the 2009-2010 squad, but only five games remain on the schedule.
Anyway, there was a game to be played. The first period started with a bang. An early penalty on Brandon Dubinsky for cross-checking Niklas Hjalmarsson gave the Blackhawks a powerplay twenty-eight seconds in. Four seconds into the PP, Artemi Panarin rifled home his twenty-seventh goal of the season with assists credited to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The goal extended Panarin’s goal streak to three games. After minutes of back and forth end-to-end skating and physical play, Columbus finally broke through with Nick Foligno’s twenty-fifth of the season after the Blackhawks couldn’t exit the defensive zone. Then, just twenty seconds later, a hot pass from Kane to Hossa and the Demi God displaying great patience, the Blackhawks regained a one-goal advantage. The period ended with a minor scrum, but somehow the Blue Jackets walked away with the only penalty, this one to be served to begin the second period.
Okay, let me tell the truth. I fell asleep during intermission and missed from the 20:00 - 54:30 minute mark. Our official unofficial photoshopper, the honorable Governor William J. LePetomane let me know how the missed thirty-five minutes went. “He skated this way, then that guy skated that way…” Dynamite drop-in, Monte. That broadcast school has really paid off.
Let’s pick it back up with five to go in the third. With the Blackhawks grasping to their one-goal lead, the Blue Jackets were in desperation mode. Luckily for the Blackhawks, Columbus just couldn’t strike one past Crawford. The game clincher came when Kane added his third assist of the night for a Panarin empty-netter. Blackhawks win another against the superior Metropolitan division, 3-1.
- That’s FIFTY wins this season. It’s just the second time the Blackhawks have reached this feat in franchise history. With four games remaining, if the Hawks can pull off three more victories, it’ll be a franchise record. Also, one more point gained by the Hawks or lost by Minnesota clinches home ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs for the Blackhawks.
- Patrick Kane is on an absolute tear! Three assists tonight gives him fifty-three assists and eighty-seven points on the year. He’s second in the league and four points behind Connor McDavid for the #1 spot.
- Artemi Panarin is reaching for another scoring bonus. With two goals tonight, he has twenty-eight goals and seventy-one points on his sophomore season. That’s good enough for eleventh place, but if he can land himself in the top ten, he’ll pick up another bonus, similar to the one he made last season.
- #SlowlyDecliningJonathanToews added another assist and has put together a solid second half of the season after struggling in the points column until the All-Star Break.
- Corey Crawford picked up another victory while stopping thirty-two out of thirty-three shots faced. Nice to hopefully have Crawford back in a solid rhythm just in time for another playoff run.
- It was a spectacular night for the penalty kill. They kept momentum away from Columbus as the Jackets went 0/4 on the man-advantage.
- Meanwhile, the man-advantage for the Blackhawks brought their first goal in eleven powerplays. Panarin struck gold in the slot thirty seconds into game to give the Blackhawks the early edge.
- I took a great nap throughout the majority of tonight’s game. It was glorious.
- I’m still waiting to see how many goals Gate gave up in his game tonight. I’d imagine it was a lot, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. UPDATE: Five goals. Yikes!
- The turnover that led to Nick Foligno’s first period tally was unfortunate. Hjalmarsson’s skate blade dug into the ice and tripped him up.
- This game was pretty boring. So boring, I slept for half of it. What did this game need? #MOARGOALZ
- Columbus NEEDS to use the canon as their primary logo next season when teams are limited to two jerseys. The star thing they’re rocking now is far inferior to the coolest thing about that franchise.
- Classic Twitter falling head over heels for Brandon Saad on United Center ice. Sure, I miss him, too, but I’m satisfied with paying Artemi Panarin and having Richard Panik compliment Toews on the top line.
- This recap. Not the best, but it’s all I could do after watching twenty-five out of sixty minutes of gameplay. Nobody’s reading anyway. Big thanks to The Governor (The Governor) for his solid analysis of the other thirty-five minutes. He's not the best colorman in the league for nothing, folks!
- John Hayden played 9:08 tonight. He played less than all except one: Jordin Tootoo. #TemperExpectations #FutureHealthyScratch
Song Trivia: The song "I Am The Walrus" by the Beatles includes the line "I am the Eggman, I am the walrus." Until very recently, Eddie Olczyk believed the lyric was "breadman", not "eggman." If you ever hear him say "cuckoo cuchoo" after a Panarin goal, it's in reference to the Beatles song. So, while it's not a heavy metal tune, with Panarin netting two goals tonight, the title of tonight's recap fit too well. THE MORE YOU KNOW.