Playoff Hockey Rule #117– If you let the opposing team’s fourth line score an important goal, there’s a 98% chance you will lose said game.
That’s exactly what happened with the Blackhawks tonight. After Patrick Sharp made the Flames and Olli Jokinen pay two minutes into the game with a power play goal, the Flames fourth line responded four minutes later when the ever-dangerous Eric Nystrom beat Nikolai Khabibulin short side from 35 feet out. Instead of going into the locker room with a 1-0 lead and the noose on the Flames getting ever tighter, it was 1-1 with forty minutes left to go.
In the second, the Hawks had several opportunities to capitalize on a shaky Mikka Kipprusoff. The Kipper made more than a couple saves where he had no clue where the puck was. Havlat fired a puck from outside the circles and Kipprusoff stood up to look for it when it was right at his feet. A streaking Andrew Ladd wasn’t able to get a stick on it and the puck was safely cleared to the corner.
Later in the period, a loose puck laid right outside the crease and Ladd crashed the net again only to be a split second late. There were stretches where the Hawks absolutely controlled the tempo. They held the puck in the Calgary zone getting great chances but were never able to capitalize on them.
With the period coming to a close, ex-Hawk Rene Bourque was behind the net and tried to get the puck towards the front. It hit off Khabibulin’s stick, blocker, and rolled into the back of the net. Just like that, 2-1 Flames.
The Flames didn’t waste any time putting the Hawks away for good in the third. Lieutenant Rectum himself, David Moss, scored two goals within the first five minutes and that was all she wrote. His first goal came off a juicy rebound and an unlucky bounce off the linesman. Ladd tried clearing a puck deep into the Calgary zone at center ice. Instead, the puck hit the linesman, Daymond Langkow picked it up and they were off to the races.
His second goal came on a brilliantly executed 2-on-2 with Curtis Glencross. Moss gained the Hawks blue line, dropped the puck to Glencross, and drove right to the net. Glencross fed the puck between his legs, it deflected off something (?) and between Khabibulin’s five-hole for the biggest lead Calgary would need.
Leftover Thoughts from Game 3
–I’ll never understand why players insist on chopping opposing players’ sticks. There is absolutely nothing good that can come out of it. Here are the two things that will happen: either the player holds on to his stick tighter and doesn’t lose possesion of the puck or the stick breaks in half, and the referees have an obvious penalty. Four times that happened tonight with Rene Bourque getting called three times. I’m sure Rocky Wirtz won’t feel too good having to fit that $600 bill courtesy of Bourque.
–Speaking of Bourque, it’s amazing how much of a tough guy he is when he’s not running someone 100 pounds lighter than him. Brent Seabrook rocked him in the first period. Then in the third, Burish gave him a check along the boards, waited for him by the bench, and then popped him in the face for good measure. I’m not sure what Edzo saw in that check that was so dirty. Maybe the angle I saw wasn’t the best, but it looked like Burish got him in the back and shoulder, not the head.
–Much like in baseball, when a team has an opposing pitcher on the ropes only to hit into a rally-killing double play resulting in the pitcher getting into a groove the rest of the way, the Hawks did the same thing with Kipprusoff tonight. He looked relatively shaky for about half of the game. When the Hawks couldn’t capitalize more than the one time, Kipprusoff put it into lockdown mode the rest of the way. Other than a 2-on-0 with Sharp and Havlat, the Kipper was nails the rest of the way to help Calgary win their most important game of the year.
–And now to the story that has all the meatballs in an uproar, Patrick Kane’s flu-like symptoms. Look, I’m not going to claim some higher knowledge here, but there’s a pretty solid chance that A) he doesn’t have the sniffles and B) he spent the majority of tonight huddled around his toilet, if he could get out of bed at all.
In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if in a couple days, we find out he actually had food poisoning. When the news first broke this afternoon about him resting from practice, that was almost immediately what I thought. He finished the game Saturday, attended practice yesterday, and after arriving in Calgary, suddenly needed rest.
The story was all too similar to Game 1 of the 1996 Semi-finals against Colorado when Ed Belfour and Murray Craven were knocked out of commission by a nasty set of mashed potatoes. If memory serves correct, they were also held out for flu-like symptoms and when they came back, it was released that they had food poisoning.
So please, spare us all this garbage about him being afraid to get hit or being too big of a baby because he wanted his chicken soup or that he’ll never be accepted back in the Hawks locker room or that he’ll never wear a letter for the Hawks. If that was the case, everyone on the Hawks would be patting Rene Bourque on the back instead of trying to rip his lungs out.