Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blackhawks at Tampa
2-1 Game 1 Win Recap

"Monsters In The Ballroom"

by Gatekeeper

Well, here we are. The Blackhawks were in their third Stanley Cup Final, in 6 seasons. They made it look pretty easy, despite the usual things that would have most teams golfing long ago. Inconsistent powerplay? No problem. Thin on defense? Got it. Questionable lineup moves? Fuggetaboutit. All of this was behind them, and they were back on the big stage. The Lightning were no slouches, but either were the three teams that the Blackhawks sent packing.

Even though each cup run has some similarities this particular one would feature a type of team that the Blackhawks had not faced in the finals. A "run-n-gun" team is not something they have faced while in this position. The Bruins and Flyers were punishing physical teams, much like the Ducks. This should prove to be a very entertaining series, so let's get right to it.

The Blackhawks first period did not go how most thought it would. They came out and struggled for the first 15 minutes of the series. Thanks to a late power play they were able to get some late pressure and save face. In the end, the Hawks were only out shot 10-7 and out scored 1-0. This simply wasn't going to be good enough.

The second period was definitely better from the Blackhawks, but not entirely what that needed. The Lightning led in shots 8-6 and there were no goals either way. Holding a team like the Lightning scoreless was a positive, but they needed to break onto the scoreboard.

The Blackhawks did what they have done all playoffs, in the third period. They took over the game and out shot the Lightning 8-5 and in the biggest category, goals. Two late goals took the wind out of the Bolts and gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 series lead.

The Good
  • Right before warmups it was announced that new daddy Kris Versteeg was going to replace Bryan Bickell in the lineup. Supposedly the injury from game 7 of the Ducks series was a little worse than initially indicated. Versteeg might have been the best forward on the Hawks for a majority of the game.
  • It took the Blackhawks almost 55 minutes to finally get on the board, but we'll wait. Great plays by both Keith and Teravainen at the half boards to keep the puck in the zone ended up with a Teravainen seeing eye shot going through a Marcus Kruger screen and past Bishop.
  • Just a few minutes after the Teravainen goal, he figured in the go ahead goal. A Lightning turnover in the middle of their own zone was pushed over by Teravainen to Vermette, who cleanly beat Bishop to take a 2-1 Blackhawks lead.
  • Despite the one wonky goal, Corey Crawford was huge. A late Callahan breakaway could have opened up the game in favor of the Lightning and he shut the door.
  • They weren't terrible nor were they great, but the Rundblad/Cumiskey need to roll. Rundblad had some tense moments deep in the Hawks zone but they were able to get out of it.
  • Turbo Turtlepants (Thanks Jen O) with a goal and an assist, huge.
  • I caught the Jay Zawaski after show on the Score and heard "Sasha From Houston". I then realized it was actually adult star Sasha Sean. Respect to her because I know she's a big Stars fan, but I think it's pretty clear that she's a closet Hawks fan, too. We have fun jousting back and forth about our teams but shout out to Houston TX!
The Bad
  • The Blackhawks came out and had a rough first shift. They nearly gave up a Killorn goal, but he missed an open net. It took the Blackhawks a good 15 minutes to get any sustained zone time.
  • The puck was bouncing everywhere. That ice had to be absolute shit.
  • The powerplay was 0 for 3 and showed very little pressure. That has to be better. Tighter and quicker passes, boys.
  • The Lightning actually beat the Hawks at the dots but it was by a small margin (30-27)

The Ugly
  • The first goal of the series was a pretty terrible one. A long point shot from Anton Stralman was going well wide but Alex Killorn blindly redirected it behind himself and into the net. Kind of weak, because Crawford was down and out, for no apparent reason.
  • Late in the second period the Blackhawks were caught with some very tired players on the ice but a bouncing puck got past Stralman. Kris Versteeg jumped off the bench and stole the puck from Stralman, heading towards the net. The puck was knocked away but Versteeg's momentum carried him towards Hedman, who tripped him up. Versteeg crashed head first into the net and was awarded a weak goaltender interference penalty for his effort. That is a terrible call. Apparently the meatball nation was screaming about concussion protocol. The only reason Versteeg grabbed his face was that he thought he was bleeding. Relax, all you WebMDs. Until they rule that every head hit needs to go to the locker room, you'll have judgement calls. He looked fine and the refs are no better doctors than we are.

The Lineblender



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