Friday, May 8, 2015

PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks at Minnesota
4-3 Win
Game 4 Sweep Recap


by Gatekeeper

The Blackhawks were back in St. Paul Thursday night, to face the Wild and try to close out their second round series with a sweep. The Hawks were on a roll, winning Tuesday night by the most slim of margins, 1-0. The Wild came in seeming like a beaten team and they still had an enormous feat to pull off to get back in this series.

The first period was just another example of bounces going the Blackhawks way. The shots were even at eight at the first twenty minutes, but the Wild had the majority of the quality chances. The Blackhawks still came out ahead though, and were 2 periods away from a trip to the Western Conference Final.

The Wild had a vast majority of the chances in the middle period while out shooting the Blackhawks 18-10. Both teams had a goal which helped the Blackhawks hold onto a one goal lead going into what we all hoped would be the final period of this series. An injury on the back end was going to make this a tight one.

The third period was shaping up to be just like the previous 5 periods, until the Blackhawks blew the game wide open with just over 6 minutes remaining. The Wild made a push at the end, but the Blackhawks were able to hold them off to complete the surprising sweep. On to what will probably end up being the Anaheim Ducks for the Western Conference Final...once again.

The Good
  • Halfway through the first period Brent Seabrook took a fairly bad pass in the skates, in the neutral zone, but kicked it ahead to himself. Once he got in over the Wild blue line and cleared the defender, he took a long wrist shot that was deflected off the defenders leg and past Dubnyk for 1-0 Hawks lead.
  • Right after the Blackhawks killed a Jonathan Toews hooking penalty early in the second period, Marcus Kruger immediately drew a penalty of his own on a nice feed from the then returning El Capitan, which the Blackhawks expanded their lead on. Jonathan Toews took the puck just to the side of the net tried to jam the puck into the slot area where Andrew Shaw whacked away at it. Somehow Shaw was able to whack it through Nate Prosser and past Dubnyk, who never saw it.
  • Corey Crawford got a little chippy towards the end of the game, with Wild players crashing the net and whacking at covered pucks. Good for him, standing up for himself. He made 34 saves, and kept the Blackhawks in a position to sweep.
  • In what ended up being the winner, with over 3 minutes remaining, Marian Hossa scored a long open net goal from almost the Blackhawks crease.
  • With Rozsival getting hurt, Quenneville spread the ice time out more than usual, which is a very good thing. I expected Keith to have 33 minutes when Rozsival went down, and the final tally was UNDER 30. I rag on Q for making stupid moves, but this was the right call.
  • Bickell quietly had 2 assists. Like Sharp, keep inflating that trade value, my friend.
The Bad
  • The Wild were running around in the first period like the St. Louis Blues which put them out od position and opened up the ice for the Hawks. My only worry would be that a stupid would injure an important Hawks player for nothing.
  • Early in the third period the Wild caught Johnny Oduya breaking his stick on a shot, and turned it into an odd man break the other way. It was one of the most ugly odd man breaks I have ever seen. Hjalmarsson took the break by himself, while Oduya went to the bench to get a new stick. The Wild never really got the quality chance off that it looked like they would.
  • With just over 6 minutes left in the game, Patrick Kane gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead, on a 2-on-1 with Bryan Bickell. At that point in the game, passing to Bickell was the last option, and Kane took it himself. Dubnyk got a piece of the shot, but it dribbled through him and into the net. 3-1 Hawks.
  • I'm not even going to dissect the final two Wild goals. The Blackhawks were killing a penalty and the Wild had pulled their goalie on the first one. The net was still empty for the second one, so basically the Blackhawks were killing penalties for the final 4 minutes of the game, against a team that had nothing else to lose with only 4 defensemen. These two were mulligans for the Hawks.

The Ugly
  • The fans in Minnesota must be stuck on stupid. They kept chanting "Crawford" when he was simply owning them. That is not how it works. YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, YOU BACKWOODS MORONS!
  • Michal Rozsival got caught as the only man back almost halfway though the second period and tripped over his own feet. He went down hard and awkward. He wasn't able to get up, and was eventually carried off the ice. Not good at all. Especially, since they feel he is the 5th best defenseman on the team. Who do we see now? I would have much rather see Rozsival go out as a healthy scratch. After the game, Quenneville said it didn't look good.
  • The faceoff after the Rozsival injury was a complete mess, Eric Haula whacked a rebound past Crawford to finally break the scoreless streak.
The Lineblender



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