Game 3: Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

You can’t stop Matt Walker; you can only hope to contain him. 

In the most unlikely of events, the much-maligned Matt Walker had a terrific shift in overtime.  He took a puck along the boards, skated behind the net, and started a cycle with Patrick Sharp.  When Niklas Lidstrom snapped his stick on Sharp, the puck came back to the point. 

Barker saw Walker alone on the far side.  Walker took the lane given to him and blasted a low hard one on net.  The rebound sat around in front, Sammy Pahlsson made a heads up play to feed Sharp on the weak side wing and that was all she wrote.

Winning the game was the biggest thing, but the Hawks certainly didn’t score any style points with this one.

After Gordie Howe Dan Cleary gave the Hawks a 4 minute power play with a high stick early in the first, Dave Bolland received a cross ice pass from Havlat, spotted a wide open Brent Seabrook, and he blasted it toward the net.  Sharp got a piece of it and the Hawks notched the first goal of the game for the third time this series. 

Just a minute later, Andrew Ladd picked up a loose puck and fired it low.  Chris Osgood made the first save, but he coughed up a juicy rebound and Ladd squeezed it through his legs to give the Hawks a dreaded two goal lead. 

Five minutes later, the Hawks had their opportunity to put Detroit away for good.  Niklas Kronwall received a five minute major for absolutely destroying Martin Havlat.  The Hawks couldn’t get anything going and they left the door open for a Detroit comeback. 

Then in the second period, Duncan Keith pinched to keep a loose puck in the Detroit end.  After his shot hit Pahlsson’s stick, it went through Osgood’s legs and the Hawks went up three with 39 minutes to go.

It looked like Detroit was more than willing to toss this game out and start over in Game Four.  

The Hawks, meanwhile, decided it was a good idea to take penalty after penalty and the Wings started to control the play.  They killed off the first two penalties but when Dave Bolland was called for a ticky-tack hook, it was only a matter of time.

A minute and a half into the power play, Marian Hossa found Lidstrom with a little room and he blasted a shot past Khabibulin.  On the way to the net, the puck glanced off Pahlsson’s skate and Khabibulin didn’t have much of a chance.

For the remainder of the period, the Hawks treated their defensive zone like a fire drill.  Guys were running around trying to cover other people’s assignments.  Detroit’s weak side point was wide open every time and what looked like a blowout, turned into a 3-3 game within five minutes. 

The mystery man, Cristobal Huet, came in for the third period after Khabibulin aggravated…something, most likely his groin after he spent the majority of the second period sprawling all over the crease.

Both teams were on the defensive for most of the period but with about four minutes left in the period, it seemed like the Hawks looked at the scoreboard and realized it wasn’t, in fact, the end of the world.  From there, Kane-Toews-Byfuglien put together the most sustained pressure of the period.  Every shift after that, the Hawks had a solid chance to end it in regulation. 

It never happened.

In overtime, the Hawks continued the pressure from the previous period.  The Wings were forced into a couple of icings and after Matt Walker decided it was a good time to be Bobby Orr, the Hawks made this a series again.

Leftover Thoughts from Game 3

The majority of the next 36 hours will be dedicated to deciding if Kronwall’s hit on Havlat was dirty.  The Hawks obviously feel it was; Detroit disagrees.  Kronwall certainly didn’t let up on the hit and the puck was never on Havlat’s stick.  Kronwall also led with his forearm to Havlat’s jaw.  With that being said, Havlat got caught with his head down in no-man’s land. 

Was it a cheap shot?  With my rose-colored Hawks glasses on, yes.  As an objective observer, no.  But I thought the referees absolutely made the right call by giving him the game misconduct.  If they don’t give him the boot at that point, there’s a very good chance this game turns into World War III.  Ben Eager would have probably finished the game wearing Kronwall on his helmet.

–Nikolai Khabibulin has already been ruled out for Game 4, according to Comcast SportsNet’s Josh Mora, so the once forgotten Cristobal Huet is back.  Before everybody bemoans this turn of events, let’s look at the facts.

Khabibulin has had two “playoff game stealing” performances: Game 1 and 6 against Calgary.  In every other game, he has been perfectly average.  The guy with the 92% save percentage of the regular season is gone.  So far in the playoffs, his percentage is a mediocre 88%.

It speaks volumes for how far this team has gotten without the superb goaltending we all thought they’d need to advance. 

That all being said, this has been a wacky year for the Hawks and their goalies.  Every time it seemed the most desolate, that’s when their goalies came up with a game-changing performance.  So don’t bust out the razor blades just yet.

–I guess it would be silly of me not to acknowledge Matt Walker for his end of game theatrics.  I’ve been one of his harsher critics this year, but that was a great play he made in overtime to keep the play alive.  Not only that, but he led the team with 4 shots on net and made the recognition that the winger covering him had no stick, so he had a wide open lane to get his shot through.  Big ups to Big Country.  Now, please don’t think that means you’re Brian Campbell.

–Was the camera operator for Versus tonight a drunk freshman from Columbia College?  All night, viewers had no idea where the puck was thanks to the inability of cameraman to find the play.  It certainly didn’t help that the only proof we had Patrick Sharp’s game winner went in the net was because of Sharp’s reaction.

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19 Responses to Game 3: Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

  1. Lou says:

    Ugly win, but a win no less. We put into into coast and the #1 PP in PO had a chance to ice in the first. We can’t take our foot of the gas. We have done it way too many times against them this year.

    We knew after the Kronwall (more soon) hit that the refs were gonna call it tight. We committed the penalties but they could call it both ways. Seabrook knocked Holmstrom on his ass but they got away with that a little later. Bolland’s was weak and it looked like he got hacked and the hook was a result of him falling to the ice. Regardless, we have to be smarter.

    Buff is playing better and better. I wonder if he doesn’t get that roughing call protecting Havlat would the Major have been impacted. He also put Cleary into their bench. He created traffic which allowed Sharp to win it. I think he is the PF of the future and I think the Troy Brouwer PF experiment might be moving to the Troy Brouwer forechecker.

    Finally, for Mr. Kronwall, leading with your forearm is cheap. No man’s land or not it is cheap and the refs did the right thing. Babcock should hope the league suspends, it will be safer for Nikki. Nikki boy has know idea what he has done, to his pain thresholds.

    The Red Wing logo on Kronwall’s chest already has the colors for the Bullseyes on his body. I think next year in the first regualr season meeting, Kronwall will get the living shit beat out of him and probably cheaply. Like Soup said, too much at stake now…but more to come. I would hate to see what is going to happen to him next year. I have visions of his brain matter on Eager’s fists while Burish spits out a piece of calf muscle.

    Khabi’s injury?????? Is it more related to his abused sensitive nether regions from Q’s toungue lashing and his foot implantation/extrication (I just wonder if Q lost it after the second when the third or fourth high glove side goal that he got smoked on went in) or is it after 14 or 15 consecutives starts did the rubberbands in his groin break? We’ll probably never know.

  2. CT says:

    Yeah, the camera work was absolutely brutal last night. I still haven’t been able to figure out what happened on VERSTEEG!’s miss of the wide open net during the 5:00 major, even with the replay.

    I thought Kronwall’s hit was clean, however, considering the number of obnoxious Red Wings fans sitting in our area the bar last night (those guys think EVERYTHING is a penalty on the Hawks) fuck them. It’s about time the Gary Bettman/Large Media Market Conspiracy Machine was cranked up in our favor.

    Does anybody know if Havlat’s awake yet?

  3. Bob in EP says:

    Lou, your post just gave me a flashback to the 89 conference finals when Hextall layed the hurt on Chelios for the cheap hit on Propp.

  4. Lou says:

    Hextall, like to see what Holmstrom would do in front of him.?!

    CT is right Detroit thinks everything is a penalty and they get some breaks that maybe other teams don’t. The two fans in our section were classy but the chirped on that.

    We got a break and did not capitalize on 7 straight minutes of PPs. And of course Babcock’s comments were players have bad games and so do coaches indicating refs are perfect. Well when you are on the plus side of every call it gives you that ad-nauseum feeling when your not. Then again, he never had Andy Van Hellemond, or Rob Shick or Kerry Fraser calling his games…Then he would know what impaling feels like.

    Whatever happens with the Kronwall hit cheap or not, it was a big hit and there will be some retribution. Kronwall has to know he is a marked man.

    Did anyone see what happen to the sign carrying Moron on the Zamboni. I know they took him off the ice before the zamboni finished?

  5. JD Noce says:

    Agreed on all fronts FF.

    Did anybody see Babcock’s press conference? What a joke. That was one salty man. I understand his frustrations, but the final 7 minutes of man-advantage for the Hawks went without a goal.

    Plus, once those 7 minutes expired, the Wings had a full intermission. Then, in the second period, Detroit got all the calls.

    I think we’d all agree everything evened up, nicely.

    -On the hit
    Kromwall left his feet to make the hit. That’s the difference between using at as a basice 2minute or a 5major. He left his feet. End of story. Havlat didn’t technically have possession, but at the same time…you’re right FF…his head was down. Can’t do that by the blue line!

    Walker’s play in OT was amazing. Maybe he stole Dan Cleary’s thunderjuice! I hate Q’s love for MW over Aaron Johnson…but it’s definitely paid off over this playoff.

    They missed one of those long feeds from Seabrook. Unforgiveable.

    -Who will dress for Game 4?
    That’s what we’re talking about over at GOEL. I mean, seriously. WTF. If Havlat doesn’t go, do you go with Fraser/Skille/??? WE’ll see.

  6. JD Noce says:

    Did anyone see what happen to the sign carrying Moron on the Zamboni. I know they took him off the ice before the zamboni finished?

    -what’s this about?

  7. Lou says:

    during the second intermission some moron on the zamboni ride, had a poster for PETA claiming McD’s breaks chicken leagues and sht. Freakazoid hippy dude wanting his 2 minutes of jumbotron fame on the zamboni.

    The zamboni he was on had to leave the ice before it was finished and there was something in the tunnel.

    Wondered if any saw it.

  8. Lou says:

    chicken legs sorry

  9. josh says:

    I have two issues with last nights game.

    First, it is blatently obvious that there is not a color man or play-by-play announcer in the league that knows a single thing about the Blackhawks. I know this because nearly all the incompetet journalism-school drop outs and no talent ex-players that Versus and NBC have hired maintain that the hawks are “a physical team, have always been a physical team, and have players who like hitting and look to hit at every opportunity. Anyone who knows the hawks knows this is completely false, and the capriciousness with which the “experts” draw their conclusions is astounding. Did they think we wouldn’t notice that their opinions are based soley on the previous series with Calgary and Vancouver? Did they think that they would be able to pass themselves off as even occasional followers of the recent resurgence of the Blackhawks? Well, they’ve obviously failed.

    Which brings me to Olczyk, the first great traitor of the new Blackhawks. His constant berating and unwarranted criticism of the hawks is sickening. The support of the Red Wings by this pitiful excuse of a human is yet another compromise he has made in his quest to become the darling of the league. You’d think that his duty to maintaining a neutral stance would show itself during this series, but no; instead we see the true nature of Edward Olczyk. The claim that Kronwall’s hit was clean and that he did not deserve to be kicked out is ridiculous, as anyone with a functioning brain could see that Kronwall left his feet and led with his elbow while hitting Havlat. The atrocity of his inane observations this playoff season is perfectly symbolized by his dismissal of a brutal attack of a member of team he is supposed to be loyal to.

    Secondly, I am distraught at the hit on havlat, but I am more distraught at the young hawks reaction. Had the play occurred at any other point in Hawks history, I’m fairly certain that not one detroit player would have left ice without a stretcher. Speaking as a player, I have never met a single person on any of the teams I’ve been a part of, or played against for that matter, who would not have immediatly rushed Kronwall, or any other Detroit player. It is disappointing, and makes me realize that I would rather suffer 80 years of failure than watch a team that doesn’t defend a teammate. The response last night was a terrible showing of a lack of character, one which we have had subtle hints of all season. I am sick of people saying “Oh they’re lucky that Kronwall got the misconduct, or else he would’ve gotten wrecked. The hawks would’ve gone crazy!”. Really? I’d be very interested to know why people think that, because of the 96 games prior to last night I have seen no fucking evidence of any violent tendencies or retributionary actions taken by any Blackhawks against any team. What I have seen, however, is a general tendency to stand around, look tough, and chirp at the other teams bench before sitting down and doing nothing. It is ridiculous to claim that the Hawks would have done anything had Kronwall been allowed to stay in the game, aside from a lot of surly glances and missed hits.

    Needless to say I am happy about the win, but I am not satiated as so many bandwagon and fair-weather fans are with the performance last night.

  10. cb says:

    The way that people are discussing the Kronwall hit says to me that it was one which wouldn’t have drawn much attention if Havlat hadn’t damn near died from it. Very disturbing watching the replays, especially since a skate could have landed on his face in the aftermath. In any case, I think that the hit basically fell within the boundaries of “clean” in the NHL and unfortunately Havlat was responsible for somehow totally disregarding Kronwall’s presence at the line. It’s an incredibly fast game and you’ve got to take risks, but it seems like he’s got no one to blame but himself for that one. I hope he’s OK.

    Near the end of the third, 88 gave us an idea of what he becomes when he decides it’s on his shoulders to win the game. Didn’t happen this time but give the kid a few years and yeah, it’s scary to think about how he might put that talent to use.

    It’ll be interesting to see Huet in net tomorrow. It’ll either lead to one of those playoff moments when an unexpected event provides fresh enthusiasm, or else it’ll leave us totally disappointed and fearful of what’ll happen next season.

  11. Linda says:

    It was a clean hit, but because a player was injured I could see a 2 minute penalty. I disagree that things evened out just because Detroit was able to successfully ward off a score for the 5 minutes (1. They had 5 minutes in the 1st perioud where they were defending a penalty rather than generating offense. 2. They lost a defensive player for the remainder of the game — one they could have used in OT.) I hate seeing players injured and I hate it when bad calls potentially impact the outcome of a game. Chicago could have won anywhay (in OT it’s anyone’s game), but I dislike that there’s a question.

  12. cb says:

    This picture of the hit does make me wonder if it was dirtier than it looks in real time.

  13. CT says:

    I thought Kronwall left his feet after he contacted Havlat, and arm went out on the follow through. Just my opinion, I’m certainly not going to bitch about getting the call, and at full speed it was nothing more than a judgment call for the ref.

    However, I have to say that the look of horror on the face of that guy in cb’s picture (the one right above Havlat’s skate) is priceless.

  14. Lou says:

    Well, one thing we have to remember is the game is different now too. Circa 1980s that would have been a bench clearing brawl and the ice littered with beer cups and Detroit fans being launched off the balconies. I remember a 1984 game b/w Montreal and Quebec where there was a bench clearer and a myriad of ejections and everyone even those ejected came back for the next period and fought again. Great to watch but not the current game. Sure in the old days, Secord or Probert or Stu or Van Dorp and the gang would have gooned it up but we also would be playing the rest of the game down six guys. We’d have second third line guys against their depth. Not good

    Kronwall will get his lunch served to him but not at the expense of stupidity. They know what they need to do. Soup said that too. Frankly, I would make Holmstrom the bitch. But that is me and this isn’t that era anymore. Sometimes, I would like to see it but, the current game doesn’t work that way. And it is a good game.

    After watching the replay multiple times, I too think it was a cheap hit. The guy led with a forearm and left his feet on a guy who never touched the puck. Sometimes, even the zebras call majors. I will say this is not the intent to maim as man other historic actions have been (McSorely, Bertuzzi, Brashear, et al). Bang-bang play but it is what it is. Sorry Detroit, your guys can commit major penalties. Ask us about the boarding penalty against Bill Ranford many moons ago. Enuff said.

    BabCOCK can spin it anyway he wants it. What a whiney asshole in his press conference. He must hate American media too. It is a fast game and the refs saw it that way. Deal with it like every other coach and team has to or have the balls to take the fine and say it was bullshit. If we got shafted he would be the first one commending the control of the refs. Welcome to playoff Hockey of Original Six teams.

    Sure Havlat had his head down but what else do you do when the puck you haven’t touched is b/w your feet? The Hawks jumped in to try something but above their injured player with linesman officials everywhere limiting it quickly. And we have to remember they have to prevent Havlat from further injury. Kronballs will get his. Buff got a penalty on that play too. Seabrook had someone pinned to the boards.

    Detroit fans need to stop whining about calls going against them. One call in one game. Not sure if Linda has watched much of our total playoffs but we have gotten bad calls/no calls impacting our games against but they weren’t cheap hits leaving your feet and forearm shivereing. Can you say Kevin Bieska or the hair puller Alex Burrows? Holmstrom gets away with frigging murder. Our last two series was extra-curricular city directed at us and we just kept playing. It impacted the game b/c we changed our game trying to get even for a while opening the door for the barrage.

    So Detroit just shut up and play. If Detroit can dish the crap they can take some of it back adn once and a while it might be from the refs too. At the end of the day, Detroit got three straight PPs in the second and no penalties in the third so it kind of evened out.

  15. Lou says:

    And Kronwall probably won’t be suspended and shouldn’t be but it was a forearm leading hit. Leaving his feet was it momentum, most likely but he did.

    Let’s settle it on the ice in game 4

  16. Dave says:

    Found this pretty interesting… Sure does make things look MUCH different when you actually slow everything down. I was FURIOUS after the hit, but after seeing this, it’s the wrong call. He brought his arms out after the hit which is STILL not supposed to happen, but he left his feet after impact. The puck is much closer than I thought.
    Again, the only problem I see is how he pushed his forearms out after the hit. But on contact, it definitely was his shoulder.
    Oh well, we got our revenge. Kronwall wasn’t suspended. It all worked out. Back to business. Now if only I could send this pic to Campbell. lol

  17. JD Noce says:

    Yea, CT, I watched the replay this morning. He left his feet to make contact. So, the 5 was warranted.

    Suspension is probably not warranted since Havlat had the puck under him. But, alas.

    I’m not sure what the Hawks retaliating would’ve done, though. Vancouver tried to bate the Hawks last series with some trite crap. The Hawks turned the other cheek, and won the series.

    As for Eddie Olczyk, he never said the Blackhawks were a physical team. That’s Doc Emrick. I can’t stand Doc Emrick. He sounds like a nerd. But, for some reason, people in hockey love him. I don’t know.

    Eddie Olczyk could’ve politely reminded Emrick that the Hawks aren’t a physical team, and let’s face it, never have been traditionally.

    A lot of people think the Blackhawks have ‘traditionally’ been a physical team, but it’s been quite the opposite.

    In the 70’s, the Blackhawks biggest issue was not being able to match teams like Philly and Boston in the physicality department. A lot of people try to cite Keith Magnuson, but folks, that was it. Boston swept the Hawks in ’70, and the Hawks had trouble winning a cup post-expansion because of it. The Blackhawks were, for their first 50 years of existence, a ‘speed and skill’ team.

  18. John says:

    For josh, at this point in the season, after Kronwall got bounced, what purpose would it serve to go after the Wings other than to get them back in the game? Revenge is a dish best served cold and it will be, next year. The best way to get back at them now is on the scoreboard.

    I guess Dustin Byfuglien coming over to pounce on Kronwall wasn’t enough for you. Nor was Duncan Keith trying to pull him aside to give him the what-for.

    The Hawks ‘stuck up for him’ plenty. I’m not sure how you missed all the bodies stacking up on top of Havlat following the hit.

    It is my belief that game would’ve gotten extremely out of hand with Kronwall’s presence still in the game. There would have been more post whistle nonsense than you’ve seen all series and the sour feelings would have lingered like a bad fart.

    I suppose you don’t recall Ben Eager immediately attacking Drew Stafford after giving Duncan Keith a concussion in December, I believe it was.

    It’s probably not a good idea to question a team’s character that’s made it as far as the Hawks. I’m not sure there’s any way to quantify it, but they have plenty of it.

  19. Lou says:

    Well said John, well said!

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