Friday, April 22, 2016

PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks at St. Louis
Game 5 4-3 OT Win Recap


by Gatekeeper

For the first time in the 2016 playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks were on the verge of elimination, Thursday night. Watching them play, we probably shouldn't have been surprised by this situation, either. The Blackhawks and their counterparts had essentially switched position in the world of ass hattery. The Blues had been the more composed team, while the Blackhawks continually shot themselves in the foot. The Blues goaltending was rock solid, while the Blackhawks were just getting average goaltending. The Blues were rolling 4 lines and 3 defensive pairings effectively, while the Blackhawks were the team that weren't quite deep enough. Hey, we're not #TeamMiserable around here for nothing.

Speaking of shooting themselves in the foot, Andrew Shaw was suspended for this game, after getting caught on camera muttering a homophobic slur to the refs. This was following a play where he took a terrible late game cross checking penalty, Tuesday night. The same punishment, mind you, that players get for almost paralyzing other defenseless players by pushing them head first into the boards. More punishment, mind you, than one would get for cracking an opposing player in the head/neck, if your name isn't Duncan Keith. I digress, though, because it's St. Louis that is still pumping the "It's a league conspiracy against the poor innocent Blues" hot air filled tires.

By the way, in the "beating the dead horse segment", I'm posting this video every day to the NHL.

For a league that claims to be so paranoid about the fans and their experience that they want to rig the game for things like more goals with glorified skills competitions, one would think that reasonable start times, in the middle of the week, would be a slam dunk.

Anyway, the first period started out with a little bit of a "feeling out" vibe to it. The Blues tried to come out and show their physical play (big surprise) while the Blackhawks needed time to feel out this Quenneville adjusted line up. As a result, the two teams only managed a total of 10 shots in twenty minutes. There were certainly scoring chances, but nothing that you could consider high danger. At this point, if they didn't lose any ground, perfect.

The second period was much the opposite of the first period, more specifically the second half of he second period. The Blackhawks opened the scoring shorthanded, but were almost immediately answered by a Blues power play goal. That was when the Hawks snatched some serious momentum. Two late goals gave them a 3-1 lead, heading into the final twenty, with an unusually high 16-14 shot advantage.

The Blackhawks couldn't hold the momentum in the third period, after repeated mental breakdowns from the coaches on down. The Blues jumped on the opportunities and tied the game, while out shooting the Blackhawks 14-6. Look! #ScibityDibity! Not exactly ideal, eh? The Blackhawks 2015/16 season had just come down sudden death overtime.

The first overtime seemed a lot like a Blues powerplay for a steady portion of the play. The Blackhawks had a few glowing spurts but there were several times when you could just feel a Blues goal coming on. I know i wasn't the only person that was certain that the game would end in the Blues favor. The shots were only 11-7 in favor of the Blues, but if you actually watched the game, it told a different tale.

The second overtime only lasted three minutes and three shots, at just after midnight the game was finally and the Blackhawks had forced a game 6 in Chicago, Saturday night.

The Good
  • In the first period, Andrew Ladd gave David Backes a little of the wakey wakey treatment, which is never disappointing.
  • The Blackhawks couldn't manage many shots even strength, or on the powerplay for that matter, so they opened up the scoring least expected way, shorthanded. Nik Hjalmarsson made one of his, now patented, blind clearing passes that magically ended up on the stick of Marian Hossa. Hossa quickly turned and raced up the rink with Duncan Keith. Keith wasn't needed for anything more than a diversion, as Hossa picked his spot on Elliott with a little help from Alex Steen's stick.
  • With four and a half minutes remaining in the second period, Artemi Panarin did his best Patrick Kane /Denis Savard offensive zone puck control impression behind the Blues net. The makeshift line of Panarin, Teravainen and Anisimov finally paid some dividends. Panarin wheeled around the net, reversed, turned around and found himself with with a clean look at the net. He let the shot go, and it glanced off Elliott's shoulder, eventually hitting the post. Anisimov fought his way through a tie up to the loose puck in the crease and jammed it by Elliott like #Fatrick jamming a handful of Timbits into his gaping gullet.
  • Jonathan Toews, Artemi Panarin, and Patrick Kane hooked up for the Blackhawks 3rd goal of the night, his time with 0.4 seconds remaining in the second period. Kane took a fairly harmless pass from Toews in the corner and somehow found his little Russian buddy wide open on the back door. Panarin one timed the puck past Elliott and the Blackhawks had their first comfortable lead in quite a while. Comfortable, now? Don't be.
  • Richard Panik was nothing but engaged and dangerous all game. Why it took so long for him to be consistently in the line up is beyond comprehension. The funny part is that Bowman got Panik for two time Blackhawks legend Jeremy Morin.
  • Three minutes into overtime number 2, Patrick Kane decided he had had enough. Panik held the puck long enough coming around the net to find Kane knifing through the slot, with momentum. Kane gave Troy Brouwer a little "how's your father" toe drag, and put a shot on Elliott. The rebound rolled to Elliott's right with only a wide open net facing it. Kane squirted behind the net and smacked the rebound into the net. Game over. That didn't stop Elliott from immediately jumping to his feet, palms in the air, no doubt looking for the obligatory goalie interference call. He changed his tune real fast when the referee informed him that the interference was, in fact, because his stick was trapped under the skate of his own defender, Jay Bouwmeester.
    This is what we're relegated to. Every goal will now be automatically blamed on goalie interference. That rule is fucking dumb. Period. And this is coming from a goalie.
  • Hey, there is going to be at least one more game, eh?

The Bad
  • The Blackhawks blew yet another clear breakaway chance, this time it was Richard Panik in the first period. This has been a reoccurring theme the entire series.
  • Seven minutes into the third period, after the Blackhawks forwards got caught flying the zone early several times and had to struggle to eventually get off the ice, leaving them with only 4 players. Robbie Fabbri used this advantage to cut the Hawks lead to 1. Funny how this highly respected and often lauded Blackhawks coaching staff just can't seem to figure out how to execute consistent clean changes. Lets all ignore it and have out "#3CUPZ" pajama parties. God forbid we point out any mistakes. More on this later.
  • With five minutes remaining in the third period, the Blackhawks ONCE AGAIN could not clear their own zone. I'll bet you can all guess what happened next, right? The puck ended up in the back of their net. Alex Pietrangelo let a long shot go that David Backes redirected enough the throw Crawford off the scent, as the puck slowly and sadly slid by him into the net.
  • Seeing the Manshitter on the ice in overtime is absolutely frightening. The stat line said he had 7 hits in 9 minutes of playing time. He's so slow and terrible that it couldn't possibly be right. If he had seven hits, it's because he bumped into 7 players getting on and off the bench. In a game when the Blackhawks played 23 extra minutes, Rundblad, Weise and Manshitter all touched the ice for less than 10, each.

The Ugly
  • David Rundblad looked like classic David Rundblad with a questionable turnover at the Hawks blue line very early, then plowing his own, then maskless, goalie over. Short of one very early third period shift, He finished the game with his ass stapled to the bench. What was the point of even dressing him? DRESS CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF! He can skate and has at least one redeeming skill, which is that he can move the puck from the back end. Just to show you how little Quenneville thinks of Rundblad, his only 3 zone starts were in the offensive zone, and he didn't touch the ice in the final THIRTY THREE minutes of the game. WHY is this happening, or even a thing?
  • Sixty three seconds after the Blackhawks took the lead, the Blues Jaden Schwartz surprised Corey Crawford with an innocent looking enough 55 foot clapper, while still on the powerplay. Not innocent enough, though, as it beat Crawford. You could tell by Crawford's reaction that he knew it was a bad one right away.
  • So, when is someone going to hold the bench coaches accountable for the repeated issues with line changes? ANYONE! One screw up blatantly led to a goal, and he other led to a late game Blues powerplay. No outcry. Just heads stuffed in the sand. It's been happening for YEARS, and now it's just accepted that the Blackhawks are a calamity of errors when it comes to line changes? It's very conceivable that the Blues could have ended the Hawks season on that asinine late game powerplay. Just a state of love and trust, I suppose.
  • Anisimov and Desjardins combined to win just 6 of 24 faceoffs. WOOF!

The #Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
  • Anisimov was just whooped in overall Corsi, with a -19. On defense? You guessed it, Trevor van Riemsdyk tied with Hjalmarsson with -11.
  • Robby Fabbri and my mancrush, Colton Payayko, led the Blues in possession.
  • Jay Bouwmeester was literally an anchor on defense, with a Blues low -8 Corsi. Why does this guy get some much credit? He's average.

The Lineblender
Panik - Toews - Kane
Panarin - Anisimov - Teravainen
Ladd - Kruger - Hossa
Mashinter - Desjardins - Weise

Keith - Hjalmarsson
van Riemsdyk - Seabrook
Gustafsson - Rundblad


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