Saturday, May 3, 2014

Playoffs: Blackhawks vs Wild
Round 2 Game 1 Win

"Spill The Blood"

The Blackhawks opened up the second round, Friday night, at home against the surprising Minnesota Wild. The Wild are a team that no one expected to be playing. Fans, the media, and probably even the players looked right past the Wild from the start of the playoffs, and assumed that the second round would be a match up against the pesky Avalanche. That wasn't to be, and we all have the Wild to thank for that. On to game 1.

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 and eventually, a 2-0 lead before the Wild decided to make the game interesting in third period, and tied up the game. The Blackhawks were having none of those shenanigans and exploded for a three goal outburst, icing the game.

Game 2 will be at the United Center on Sunday, at 2:00 PM.

The Good
  • Ben Smith continued to play #2 center and looked good there. He may just be this year's solution for that hole. His fancy pass for the second Kane goal was really impressive.
  • The Hawks took advantage of a Minnesota double minor for high sticking, late in the first period. A big stop by Crawford came back down and Hossa dropped a short pass to Seabrook, who one timed the shot. Bickell redirected the Seabrook shot past Bryz for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead.
  • Just past the midway point of the second period, and just after killing off a Too Many Men penalty, the Blackhawks got another powerplay of their own. Saad knifed across the Wild zone and looked to throw a backhand shot on net, but instead he hit Hossa on the back door for a 2-0 Hawks lead.
  • Right after the Wild tied the game, Patrick Kane decided it was his turn to whip his hog out on the table. He took the puck just about end to end with a faked drop pass along the way, and then backhanded the puck top shelf from a near impossible angle. Maybe the best goal of the playoffs thus far. 3-2 Hawks.
  • Kane followed up his highlight goal with a much easier goal, after what looked to be a beautiful feed from Ben Smith. Sharp shot from the point and Smith redirected it blindly between his legs to a wide open Kane on the back door. Kane slammed it home, and the Wild lost all hope.
  • With 2:41 the Wild pulled their goalie and Ronnie Pickle nailed the game shut.
  • For as much flak as Bickell has gotten this year, it looks like he is poised to repeat his playoff performance of last year, which is great news for this team. With four goals already in the playoffs, no one can complain about that.
  • Call me an asshole but after Dany Heatley hit Seabrook late, after the whistle in the first period, I didn't take much issue with Nick Leddy's shoulder/elbow penalty later. Fuck that guy. He got away with killing a guy, and he's a gutless little prick.
  • This is starting to become repetitive, but Corey Crawford once again held the Hawks together long enough to bust the game wide open. This is the epitome of "eating crow".
  • Marian Hossa quietly had a 3 point night.
The Bad
  • Andrew Shaw was hurt by a hard Clayton Stoner check in the first period and never returned. Official word is Day-to-Day with a lower body injury. Looked like maybe an ankle issue.
  • Minnesota finally got on the board about two and a half minutes into the third period. Oduya made a save on a shot that went through Crawford but the second chance slowly rolled out of Crawford's reach and into the net. After a call to the war room in Toronto, it was confirmed that the puck was in the net.
  • The Blackhawks looked to have another goal earlier in the game, when Nordstrom went hard to the net from behind and the puck eventually went into the net, but the ref claimed that he had blown the play dead. That wonderful "intent to blow" rule.
The Ugly
  • The Hawks gave up two very good Wild shorthanded chances during the early game double minor. REALLY sloppy play, but it'll all be forgotten because of the goal.
  • Shortly after the first Wild goal, they caught the Blackhawks with their forth line on the ice and forced Bollig to turn over the puck in the neutral zone. Fast forward and Crawford is picking the puck out of the net. Los Suckholes. Other than Nordstrom, that fourth line is now irrelevant, and Handzus is only useful on the PK, now.
  • Defensive prodigy Jonas Brodin had 6 penalty minutes and the Blackhawks scored on 2 of those 3 powerplays.
Here are the video highlights:

2014 Playoff song via HockeeNight:

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