Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Playoffs: Blackhawks at Minnesota
Game 4 Shutout Win Recap

"Better Than You"

The Blackhawks returned to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Minnesota, Tuesday night to face the Wild following their overtime loss Sunday. This result was not a surprise, as I had picked the Blackhawks to win the series in 5 games, which would require them to lose one. The Hawks would have Duncan Keith returning from a hectic day off. He flew to Chicago to be there for the birth of his son Monday, and turned right back around to come back to Minnesota for game 4. The Blackhawks had the Gorilla Salad joining the lineup and the Wild were dressing their prized trade deadline acquisition Jason Pominville. I'll give the Wild the edge on that trade off. Live from the Cel in Minnyhaha, it's the Blackhawks and Wild.

Minnesota seemed to have a majority of the early play but only out shot the Hawks 7-6 in the period, and the Hawks scored the only goal of the period. The Hawks seemed to gain momentum as the period went on and carried it into the second.

Even though they had to kill some penalties, the second period was still pretty much won by the Hawks. They out shot the home team 11-6 and scored a quick goal to go up 2-0. Time to swoop in for the kill.

The Hawks added a third period goal, and even though the Wild out shot them, there was never a threat. The Hawks left the Xcel Center for the last time this season with a 3-0 win. On to the UC for the clincher!

The Good

  • The duo of Kruger and Frolik have turned into the Batman and Robin of penalty killing. Watching them put pressure on, while down a player, is so entertaining.
  • Patrick Sharp, with the help of Michal Handzus, opened the scoring about halfway through the first period. Hossa stole the puck along the boards and gave it to a streaking Handzus. Zus snapped a shot off Sharp and past Harding's glove. 1-0 Hawks.
  • Patrick Sharp made it 2-0, a minute into the second period, after Mr. American Hero Zach Parise turned the puck over in the neutral zone with a stupid, lazy backhand pass. The puck ended up on the stick of Shooter, who just carried it over the blue line and snapped the shot past Kuemper. The first playoff shot Darcy Kuemper ever faces goes 5 hole and in. Welcome to the show, Kid.
  • Just after the midway point of the third period, Bryan Bickell iced the game for the Blackhawks. He controlled a puck in the Wild corner long enough to skate it out over the goal line. He turned and fired it from a terrible angle, but it was deflected and went off Keumper's purse, somehow making it into the net.
  • The Blackhawks blocked an amazing 26 shots, with the duo of Oduya and Roszival tallying a clownish 9 total.
  • As good as El Capitan was at the dots (76%), Shaw was that bad (22%). Overall the Hawks led with 56%.
  • The penalty kill was 6 for 6. No need to explain how colossally important that is.
  • After getting no sleep, Duncan Keith showed back up in Minnesota, and played 23:57.
The Bad

  • Josh Harding was hurt late in the first period on a pretty innocent play, when Toews was knocked down on top of Harding. He finished the first period but it was a struggle. Darcy Kuemper came out for the second period, and really never stood a chance.
  • The Hawks opened up the third period taking two pretty pointless penalties, which resulted in four straight minutes of penalty kill time. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Wild couldn't manage much on either chance.
The Ugly

  • Gorilla Salad welcomed himself back into the lineup by getting a very sketchy penalty just a minute or so after the Hawks goal. As Sleazy P. Martini once said, "Elbows and knuckles, all you know how".
  • How does Gorilla Salad get rewarded for taking a dumb ass penalty? He gets put out on the ice with Kane and Toews in the second period. I throw my hands in the air on this one. The one HEALTHY player that sucks the life out everyone around him gets put on the ice with two of the best players in the league. He played 8 shifts for a total of 3:55, and a stupid penalty. What is the fucking point?
  • Parise, Suter, and Pominville each had 3 missed shots. There is clutch for some lettermen and their prized deadline acquisition.
  • The power play is still the Air Jordans of clown shoes.
  • After the Hawks took a 3-1 lead in the series, the Canucks followed that up by getting swept. Oh sweet irony.

Here are the video highlights:

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