Game 4: Blackhawks 2, Canucks 1 (OT)

If Andrew Ladd was a baseball player, middle-aged white sports columnists would wax poetically about the fact that he is a ‘baseball player’. 

Well, Andrew Ladd is a hockey player.  He may not be the smoothest skater, the biggest hitter, or have the hardest shot, but he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.  Tonight was no different.  Ladd made two enormous plays that stand out above the rest.

The first was obviously the game winning goal.  The second play was when he absolutely tattooed one of the Sedin’s along the boards early in the first period.  Then the Sedins went away.

The Hawks came out in the first period and played in the Vancouver end for the majority of the time.  Vancouver didn’t get its first shot on goal until the 12 minute mark of the first period.  Roberto Luongo kept the Canucks in it and the period ended in a 0-0 deadlock.

In the second period, Kane, Toews, and Brouwer put the screws to the Canucks fourth line.  Brouwer had a couple of golden opportunities that Luongo was better on.  As the shift extended, Jonathan Toews had a shot blocked in the slot.  Cam Barker was caught a little too low; Matt Walker was out of position on the blue line (he should’ve positioned himself closer towards the middle instead of being near the boards), and Rick Rypien was off to the races.  

As Rypien picked up the puck at center ice, Walker tried to catch him.  Rypien made a spin-o-rama that would have made Savard puke and dropped it to the ever dangerous Darcy Hordichuck.  Hordichuck beat Khabibulin between the legs and just like that, the Canucks delivered a huge body blow to the Hawks.

After the goal, Vancouver dropped all five guys into the neutral zone putting 22,000 people to sleep and frustrating the Hawks beyond belief.  The Hawks did a decent job of dumping and chasing but each chance they had, Luongo was better on.

He made a huge save on Patrick Sharp shortly after the goal.  Sharp busted in alone on Luongo and if he lifted the puck, he probably would have scored, but Luongo did a tremondous job of taking away down low. 

Going into the third, the Canucks made entering their zone as difficult as using a United Center bathroom during an intermission.  The Hawks couldn’t get anything going and even when they could get a shot on goal, Luongo only had to make the one save, never coughing up a rebound.

It wasn’t until there were two minutes left that Lord and Savior Martin Havlat picked a puck out of a board battle.  Two of the Canuck forwards were too busy trying to put Andrew Ladd into the 100 level concession stand.  Willie Mitchell got tangled up in it and Havlat was given more room than he’s had in a couple weeks.  He stepped across the slot and snuck a wrist shot underneath Luongo’s glove. 

The goal lifted the 9,000 pound gorilla off the Hawks back and they started to pick apart the Canucks muddled neutral zone.  After Brent Seabrook blocked a Canuck shot with 20 seconds left, Dave Bolland was off to the races.  Instead of getting a shot off, he tried to draw contact from the chasing Vancouver defenseman and didn’t end up getting a shot.

Off the intial replay on the UC jumbotron, it looked like a clean play and a good no call by the official. 

In overtime, the Hawks defensemen continued their shaky play.  Matt Walker completely misplayed Mats Sundin who was able to hit a wide open Mason Raymond.  Raymond, luckily, missed the net.  Then after Khabibulin’s wrap around eluded Brent Seabrook, he had to make a terrific save on an Alex Burrows one-timer. 

From there, the Hawks took the puck into Vancouver’s zone.  A scramble in front of Luongo turned into a nice cycle by HavBolLadd.  After a Havlat pass bounced off Duncan Keith, Bolland picked it up at the blue line and fired it towards the net.  Ladd was there for the re-direction and the United Center was up for grabs.  The series is now a best-of-3.

Leftover Thoughts from Game 4 

–I’ve already heard on the two post-game shows about how solid the Blackhawks defense was because they only let up 15 shots.  Let’s say that is probably not the most accurate statement.  Walker, Barker, and Duncan Keith were all a heart attack waiting to happen in their zone.  Keith and Walker were the worst.  Keith probably missed on at least six breakout passes in his end that led to continued pressure by the Canucks.  Walker doesn’t really need an explanation.

The best defense the Hawks had tonight was Vancouver settling for one goal.  The decision to stick 5 guys in the neutral zone and muddle up all the space is great, but if you don’t win, you open yourself up to a lot of criticism.  Vancouver could have very easily extended the lead against the Hawks with the way their defense was coughing up the puck deep in their end.   

–Vancouver has done a terrific job of eliminating any room for Marty Havlat in this series.  They made their first mistake against him tonight and he made them pay.  It was, without question, the biggest goal of the season for the Hawks. 

–The save Khabibulin made on Burrows in overtime should not go unnoticed.  That was the game right there after another lousy play in the defensive zone by the Blackhawks.  I’m not sure when Khabibulin turned into Patrick Roy with all these turnovers, but it has got to stop.  He made another one in the third period when Cam Barker very easily could have gotten to the loose puck.  Instead, Khabibulin played it right to Taylor Pyatt and he had to make a save he never should of had to make.

This entry was posted in Game Recaps. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Game 4: Blackhawks 2, Canucks 1 (OT)

  1. Lou says:

    I agree the defense has been hideous. Duncan was bad again and you have to wonder what is going on with him. On Hordicucks goal, you called the Walker positionining. Campbell has quietly put together a nice series of games. At times, Soup looked like a one person army out there while everyone was standing around watching him.

    On the offensive front, Havlat’s agent most likely picked up the phone right after that goal to tell Tallon it just cost you $250K/yr more. I am still perplexed by the over-stickhandling vs. shoot from Kane and Versteeg. A good shot is a good shot. They seem to want to make the all world highlight film. Goals win you play off games. Toews is pressing but had some good chances last night. Too many guys watching rather than moving to space. Kane, especially, is going to have some serious homework this off season if he wants a big contract. He just seems to go through the motions and has too much talent to do that. He is young so he has a chance to grow here.

    The officiating last night was marked by horrible positioning and calls that weren’t made. Offsides from behind the play or ignoring holding penalties or hooking penalties. Even if the no call at the end was right it didn’t make up for the piss poor linesman and the lack of calls against Van for their cheap crap. Bieska is a typically third grade bully that needs to get some misconduct time. As the poor officiating just kept coming I was having flash backs of great refs, Kerry Fraser, Rob Schick, and king Andy Van Hellemond.

    On a different note it is very refreshing to have a sport where you aren’t questioning if the superstars are taking performance enhnacers or roids. Manny Ramirez is just another fine example of a millionaire with no balls and no accountability who cheats and doesn’t even care. Ovie or Corsby or Toews or Lemiuex etc. none of them are on drugs. I don’t know what to do if I have to watch baseball all summer for my sports fix.

  2. John says:

    Lou, I don’t know if we watched the same game. I thought the officials were fine other than one interference call they missed where Byfuglien got molested in the neutral zone.

    Kane had one of his better games where he didn’t end up on the score sheet. Solid in his own end, and produced a ton of chances on the other. I’ll take that every day of the week.

    I think you’ll get your wish regarding Bieksa. From the sounds of it, he may miss Saturday’s game.

  3. LML says:

    Jacques Lemaire lives! Anyone else get any “mid-90s neutral zone trap” flashbacks last night? *shudder* Was frustrating to watch, but it was effective for the most part against the ‘Hawks. Gotta find a way to crack that for next game.

    And…is anyone else f’n hating Bieksa these days like I am? If Luongo is the most despised Canuck going currently, Bieksa has to be a close second.

  4. LML says:

    …missed the first two comments. Looks like Bieksa fell into the boards awkwardly there. Wouldn’t be surprised if he misses next game. Ah well, still hate him.

  5. Lou says:

    John, I hear you but I felt the officials and especially the linesman were out of position on several occassions. I sit right on the blueline and the offsides they called were mind boggling and the ones they didn’t were even more mind boggling. They let one go in the third for the Hawks in which our wing was blatantly trying to drag a leg and really was offsides and it was right in front of the linesman. So, they were equally bad both ways. A lot of calls were at bad angles and that makes it frustrating

    What bothered me more was the missed hold behind the net in the third and they missed at least one other blatant hold and a hook. The Brouwer Boarding penalty was interesting on a bang-bang play.

    The Vancouver extra curriculars at puck stoppages particularly directed at Havlat are getting ridiculous. Touch a Sedin and get three guys get on you with no call. Smack Havlat and nothing happens but they hold off our guys. The Bolland no call was good, frustrating but good. He should have shot. On a humorous note, you call a roughing penalty and a dive combo on enforcers. Right call but comedic.

    I agree with you Kane played solid but didn’t hurt the team but is that good enough from him? I like the kid a lot. Maybe he is wearing down. He just seems to be sputtering and lacking some confidence. Last night he only had two shots and two giveaways. Need more from him.

    But at the end of the day, good teams find ways to win and we did!

  6. cb says:

    I can’t say I hate Bieksa. Lots of Chicago folks hate Favre just because he’s burned the Bears so many times (ok ok, there are some other reasons, too). I may think Favre is a douche but I respect him as a player. Same for Bieksa. I’d like to see him in a Hawk uniform.

    Keith – WTF?

    Steeg and Kane with the shots: yes, get them off already. Low and in the pads, and make sure you’ve got a buddy crashing the net. That’s how to make things happen against Luongo. Havlat’s shot was very well placed. Kudos to Ladd for making that happen.

    And kudos to Buphlynn for another strong performance. Not perfect by any means, but strong. Same goes for Campbell.

    Walker is a defensive god.

    Kane is 20 years old and has amazing hands and an amazing shot. It’s time you apologists turn your focus from the 20 year old Kane to the 25 year old Kane – tell me who he’s going to become. Yes, Kaner has put up amazing numbers for a 19/20 year old but he’s got some work to do. The combination of no size AND no speed troubles me. Yes, when put into a position to score he will do so much more often than most other players. And yes, he does see the ice well. That, too, is something which is going to improve (even further!) with time.

    My god the neutral zone monkey business makes for horrible hockey. The comforting/troubling thing about it is that I can’t imagine Vancouver having much success with it against either Detroit or Anaheim.

    And finally, that Sharpy is quite a player.

  7. cb says:

    Oh yeah, and…what has Brouwer done to deserve the action he saw last night??

  8. GC says:

    I don’t have any real hate for Luongo, but Bieksa got his just rewards. Maybe he’ll have time to come up with new barbs/witty comments to hurl at players when he’s up in the press box nursing that injury.

    I WAS thinking about Jacques Lemaire last night when I saw how they were playing….hahaha..funny. That’s high-octane exciting hockey.

  9. John says:

    Good stuff Lou, I forgot about most of those calls. I would agree then that the linesmen had a rough game.

    As for Kane, we have all summer to dissect his game and critique what he needs to fix. I thought he really improved his speed this year until the ankle sprain. Then he looked very similar to what he was last year.

    He just came off 4 points in the first two games. Vancouver realized they can’t give him that much space. Now he’s not getting it, he’ll adjust just as Havlat did. If we took a team of all the guys who are struggling to score in the playoffs, we’d have a team full of all-stars.

    Cb, you want a comparison, here’s one for you to chew on. Think of him as Gretzky Lite. I say that in all seriousness.

  10. Lou says:

    Larmer was a smaller guy and slow or so they said . I’d take five of him. Kane is two, ankle injuries nag and nag so you may be right. I’ll take him anyday. This offseason, I’d give him some specific goals and skills to work on and we’ll watch him grow into that 25 yr old stud sniper

  11. John says:

    I forgot to mention this in the recap, but this is really the first time all year a ‘neutral zone trap’ has given the Hawks fits.

    People like to point out how they had trouble with Minnesota this year but the Hawks controlled most of those games getting shot totals between 35 and 44. It was only because Backstrom and Harding stood on their heads that the Hawks lost. Luongo hardly had to stand on his head the past couple games.

  12. Fork says:

    Fortunately, Bieksa played last night, because his being a complete RICHARD got the HAwks their 2 PP goals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s