First off I would like to wish all my best to our good friends in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding area trying to survive a devastating storm creating havoc, misery and heavy flooding. Having witnessed an F4 tornado (Black Friday) here in Edmonton albeit a young guy at the time I truly have felt the wrath that mother nature can unfortunately bring upon us.
Game #2 between Chicago and Vancouver was much more the style and pace the NHL and it’s fans expected for this series with some huge hits, timely goals, big time momentum changes and spectacular saves made by both goaltenders.
Vancouver came out storming the Hawks early scoring a mere 1:22 into the game on a goal by Mason Raymond. Not quite the start the Hawks nor their fans expected after a lot of hype and talk via the media. At the 5:02 mark of the initial frame sniper Mikael Samuelsson notched his 8th playoff goal making it 2-0 in the Canucks favor sending Chicago Blackhawk fans into yet another frenzy similar to game #1 of this series.
Not so fast. Something clicked in the heads of the Hawk players (perhaps they realized this was the playoffs) and turned this game completely around. After being outshot 9-1 and outscored 2-0 in just 5 minutes of game play Chicago started to get the puck possession game back and quickly began to make Roberto Luongo a busy goalie, just 2:38 after Samuelsson gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead defenseman Brent Seabrook was on the receiving end of a beauty outlet pass and had a wide open net and shelved a shot past Bobby Lou up high to make it 2-1.
The second period, although no scoring, was not a boring one to say the least. The action was fast paced and while the scoring chances were limited by both teams defense’s there were some punishing hits with 2 of the big hits coming to super fighter Rick Rypien. One crushing hit came when Ripper was in the offensive zone heading deep into the corner to the right of Antti Niemi and Seabs buried him into the boards and then Rypien also decided to attempt to hit mammoth Dustin Byfuglien when Buff was fully aware he was coming at him, stood his ground and put Rypien on the seat of his pants.
The third period started off with a short swarm by the rabid Canucks but Niemi stood his ground and the Hawks managed to stave off the attack then began to once again push the puck into the offensive territory of the visiting west coast rivals. Stop right there, Duncan Keith takes a lazy holding the stick penalty that would seemingly put the momentum back on the visitors side right? Well it did for the first minute of the PP for the Nucks until Patrick Sharp decided to rip one past Luongo to tie the game while shorthanded..unbelievable. The game was most certainly heading to overtime in most minds of the people watching this game but alas, Kris Versteeg who had a great game compared to the prior contest scored with a 1:30 left in the game putting Chicago up 3-2. Patrick Kane iced the game with an empty netter and the Blackhawks won the game 4-2.
Some big positives for this game for the Hawks:
- since being outshot 9-1 only 5 minutes of the game Chicago out shot Vancouver 32-17 for the rest of the game and carried the majority of the play
- Antti Niemi played solidly and showed great composure after being tagged with 2 goals early that he had no chance on
- Brent Seabrook had 1 goal and 2 apples, played solid defensively and was extremely physical. In my opinion he was the first star.
- this was a must win situation, no team wants to go to the oppositions home barn down 2 games to nil
- Chicago shut down the line of Henrik and Daniel Sedin which is no easy feat by any means
Unfortunately there were some negatives:
- proof of how stats lie—> Duncan Keith was miserable and has been so far in this series yet last night he was a +3, had 4 shots on goal (second on the team) , played over 24 minutes and had an assist on the game winning goal. OK he was miserable defensively but did create offensive opportunities so I give him a C grade on last night’s game.
- David Bolland was more creative offensively but the guy needs to control his frustrations as he was swinging his stick like it was a 6 foot long piece of licorice with a blade on the end of it. Still can’t believe he was not called for any infractions last night with that.
- Bad start. Real bad. Can’t keep doing this in the playoffs because Vancouver will eventually shut us down and in their home barn you can count on them being a lot better then they were last night.
- Face-offs. The Canucks again had the edge in this department, Chicago is one of the best face-off teams in the league and needs to improve drastically if they want to keep the puck possession game going.
- Penalties. If the Hawks keep taking ridiculous penalties the Sedin’s will make them pay. All this talk about being composed and cutting down on infractions prior to games is obviously all talk and easier said then done during games because thus far we have not seen the Hawks play smart. Let’s hope the Hawks start moving their feet and skating with the opposition rather then reaching, pulling and grabbing.
All in all it was a great game and a pretty solid 55 minutes of effort by Chicago giving Hawk fans a reason to hope that they can win this series. Vancouver did their job stealing a game in Chicago and going home with a split, not it’s the Hawks turn to steal one in ‘couver and let’s hope it’s the first game.
Let’s go Hawks!
Thanks for reading as always,
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )