Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Wild
Game 1 Win Recap

"First Strike Is Deadly"

Finally, the Blackhawks have come the NHL Playoffs. The Blackhawks opened their 1 vs 8 playoff series with a team they have had pretty decent success against, the Minnyhaha Wild, Tuesday night. We are all familiar with the plight of the great cash grab of Parise and Suter, but this team has some good secondary scorers, as well. Their big problem, though, has been the youth and lack of experience behind Suter with their defense, and the Hawks would look to feast on this. In a late pregame development, Wild Goalie Niklas Backstrom was injured in warmups, bad enough to be replaced by Josh Harding. This, in theory, was a good thing for the Hawks, but how would they respond? Live from the United Center, it's playoff hockey with the Blackhawks and Wild.

The Blackhawks came out and gave the Wild an enormous break in the first. There were bouncing pucks, a bad goal, and general all around disarray. Even though shots were even at 6, a majority of the scoring chances went to Minny. The Hawks looked like they were still resting their stars, even though they were present. Lethargic was too kind a word for the Blackhawks first period play, and they were lucky that the only hole they were in was a 1-0 hole.

The second period opened up much better for the Blackhawks, as they tied the game up early on a powerplay. They were also able to outshoot the Wild 10-7 and control enough play to resemble the Blackhawks we are familiar with. In fact, the whole period was pretty solid for the Hawks. Nice to see them settle down and finally find their game.

The Hawks continued their improved play out shooting the Wild 12-7 in the third period, but neither team could take the lead. Tight defense and good goaltending sent this game 1 into overtime, where it would take almost a full overtime period for the Blackhawks to score the winner.

The Good

  • After the terrible first goal that Crawford gave up, he ended the first period with a big glove save on Kyle Brodziak. Of course this was after Deuce let the Wild forwards in behind him, leaving Seabrook and Crawford all alone against a 2-on-1. I'd call them even after that bail out by Crawford.
  • Crazy 8s and Hoss hooked up on a powerplay to tie the game up, just a couple of minutes into the second period. The Hawks rushed 4 players hard into the Wild zone led by Kane. Kane then saucered a perfect backhand pass to Hossa, who had gotten behind the Wild defense. Hossa then picked his spot and beat Harding, tying the game at 1. Hossa caught Harding moving across which opened up his 5 hole. Nice to see the powerplay do something of substance.
  • Bryan Bickell actually hit someone; HARD! Alert the authorities! He actually laid Zenon Konopka out the hell out, late in the second period. We've only waited 4 years for that kind of physicality from Bickell. That'll look great on your free agent highlight reel.
  • A perfect Oduya pass off the glass from deep in the Hawks zone, Stalberg's speed, and finally a lumbering Bickell resulted in a 2-on-1 late in OT. Stalberg waited for Bickell to catch the play and dished to him leaving him 1-on-1 with shifting Harding. Bick made a nice move around Harding, and flicked the puck into the open net for the win.
  • According to the official scoring, the Blackhawks actually out hit the Wild 40 to 36. MEH! I don't buy that bullshit for a second, and if any of you do, I have some beachfront property I'd like to offer you, CHEAP!
  • The Hawks held the Wild to 0-4 on the powerplay while scoring on one of their three powerplays. That's the tale of the game there, folks.
  • Crawford settled in and played an excellent 71 minutes of hockey after the initial pisspoor goal. Way to puke and rally, kid. PUKE AND RALLY!
  • Credit where credit it is due. Josh Harding stepped in with little notice after playing very little this season and made 35 saves. Hats off to you, Mr. Harding.
  • Hearing "Where the Dead Ships Dwell" from In Flames over the United Center sound system made my night. GREAT, GREAT choice!
The Bad

  • As I said above, the Blackhawks first period was basically terrible. Keith, specifically, let the Wild forwards get behind him more than once. Wake the hell up, Deuce. BECAUSE IT'S THE CUP!
  • Aside from Toews completely BEASTING at the dots, the rest of the Blackhawks centers were deplorable at the faceoff dots. Thanks to El Capitan, who was almost 70% in the 26 draws he took, the team broke even. This must get better, especially with Handzus in the lineup. That IS why he's here, right?
  • Check out Mike Rupp's "Bambi on Ice" impression:
The Ugly

  • Crawford gave up a horrible first goal. Cal Clusterfuck skated up the right side pretty innocently holding hands with two of this teammates and snapped a shot on net that Crawford just...missed. I have no explanation for the goal, because it was as soft as baby shit. Not even five minutes into the game, and the haters were prairie dogging it, just looking for fuel. After the game, he said he lost the puck, which based on the set up of an arena, could happen. The puck rises above the boards level and you lose it in a spectators black shirt. I've had it happen, so I sympathize, but it was bad timing. I'm not making excuses, but those things do happen.
  • The Hawks were actually robbed of a goal halfway through the third period, when a loose puck was poked into the net by either Toes or Kane but the refs claimed they lost sight. Glad that one didn't bite them in the ass, because the puck was pretty clearly loose.

Here are the video highlights:

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