Blackhawks 4, Flames 1

At least, the Flames can take this from their Sunday afternoon loss in the United Center: they didn’t blow an historic 5-goal lead like they did this past November.  Other than silver linings like that one, the Flames left Chicago early Sunday evening having been swept by the Blackhawks during the last two regular season series.  That’s no good-ah.

As for the action, it was another solid performance by the Hawks, who are rounding into playoff shape quite nicely, and another dud by a team fighting for its playoff life. 

The Hawks started the scoring and never trailed.  Tomas Kopecky again lit the proverbial lamp during the first; this one came just three minutes into the game off a Ham Sandwich shot that sailed wide and careened back in front. 

Next, with less than a minute left in the first frame, Troy Brouwer controlled a Brent Seabrook rebound and backhanded it past Mikka Kipprusoff.

Then, just five minutes into the second period, Patrick Kane did what Patrick Kane does when he stepped into the Flames zone, essentially on a 1-on-3.  Inexplicably, no Flame stepped up on him, and he rifled his patented wrister over the blocked of Lil’ Kipper.

It wasn’t all roses for the Hawks, though.  (It pretty much was; the previous sentence was just for effect.)  A minute later, Ian White made a snazzy individual play by inside-outing Jordan Hendry and knocking a snapper past the blocker of Antti Niemi.  (All you young hockey players out there, as a defenseman engaged in a one-on-one, play the body first; then the puck.  The same thing applies if it’s a below average defenseman who’s carrying the puck.)

Dustin Byfuglien, who played a strong game with Duncan Keith, supplied the nail in the coffin, when he rocketed a wrister past Kipprusoff.  Byfuglien got into scoring position by trailing Marian Hossa into the Flame zone.  Hossa dropped the puck and took the defender with him to the net.  Buff didn’t miss.

Just a Couple Today

– Of course, we all know by now that the Hawks won the Central Division this afternoon.  Technically, it happened when Detroit dropped their game in Philadelphia, but it was nice that the Hawks still won their game.  The Hawks’ mission, if they choose to accept it: avoiding the Wings in the first round.

– Remember Kim Johnsson?

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17 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Flames 1

  1. CT says:

    How could I forget Kim Johnsson? Dave Morris won’t let me forget how his injury has completely derailed the Hawks season and playoff chances.

    I kid Dave, I kid.

  2. Dave Morris says:

    @CT> don’t forget how the injuries to Campbell and Johnsson have *threatened* to derail the Hawks’ season, and playoff chances.

    If you’re going to quote someone, young man, at least be accurate in your reference. Try this link:
    http://hockeyindependent.com/blog/david-morris/12845/

    BTW how are you enjoying your Filet O’ Fish? That tartar sauce is addictive, I hear.

    Hey, excellent recap, Gentlemen.

    Those ready to trade Buf, Versteeg, Sopel and anyone else, and fire Q, might not be so ready yet. Or maybe they are.

    Now, can the Hawks win the Conference?

  3. dominator says:

    Even Pahlsson played more games than Johnsson! It would be nice of him to get over his concussion so that he can play a couple games before the playoffs if they are going to use him then.

  4. feyer says:

    >>> – Remember Kim Johnson?

    Remember Nick Boynton? The defense looked good in this game, especially Buff and Ham Sandwich. The gaff by Jordan is duly noted, but he is looking better with each game. Maybe I should ask Mr Foley how many games in a row that is? I’m still in Kopecky’s corner. I sure am glad you guys talked me off the ledge last week.

  5. Lee says:

    Sopel still sucks!!

  6. Lee says:

    Sorry about the double. did anyone see the Flyer Wings game? Flyers had Carcillo on Holmstrom the whole game and he completly took him off his game. Carcillo would have liked him to drop his gloves but he wouln’t but he was really not a factor. That should be a lesson learned for Q

  7. Lou says:

    Lee, Holmstorm wouldn’t fight you either.

    It was nice to see that Carcillo did something useful in his typical 9 minutes of icetime.

    All it takes is one Ric Flair arm bar to Holmstrom by Niemi and that should wake him up…I can send him a WWE link

    And as much as I dislike Kopecky – he has 10 goals again helping to make our fourth line relatively useful again

  8. Patrick says:

    Me likey! It’s amazing what a win streak can do.

    So, when does Huet get another start? I’m thinking Dallas on the road tomorrow…

  9. dominator says:

    I don’t think he does, if the Hawks win out they win the West. Unless San Jose loses a game or two then maybe they take a shot at resting Niemi.

  10. Razzberry says:

    Niemi has already been announced as the starter against Dallas.

    My guess is that Niemi plays until the 1st place spot is decided. If it’s all locked up (either way) by the game against Detroit, Huet could potentially start that game. The only exception to that would be if it’s going to be a CHI/DET first round match-up in which case I could see both teams playing all out to send a message.

  11. Dave Morris says:

    Interesting comments by TSN’s Ray Ferraro this morning…

    “The Blackhawks’ loss of Brian Campbell and Kim Johnsson has thrown their defence into flux and the long time pair of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook is being split up to try to get some balance on the back end.

    “They are not deep without these their injured defencemen, though Campbell feels he might be ready sooner than many expect.

    “That leads, of course, to goaltending – where Antti Niemi will be the starter. It’s hard to know how the rookie will play as he has no NHL playoff experience.

    “Can he be consistent? No one knows, but it just has to be him in net – and not Cristobal Huet (who looked like he was playing dodgeball in the last month).”

    http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/ray_ferraro/?id=316756

    Ferraro tags Washington and the Hawks as Cup favorites.

    Watching both TSN and Sportsnet this weekend, it appeared that these Canadian commentators were grudgingly coming around to the idea that Niemi might actually be pretty good.

    Can Pierre McGuire be far behind?

  12. feyer says:

    Q had a good laugh when the reporter asked him if he was ready to declare Niemi as his starter. I guess he felt it was a rhetorical question and was still laughing at it during the next question. I like his game right now, and it would appears the Hawk players and coaches fell the same way. On the other hand, there is no hope for Pierre McGuire.

  13. Dave Morris says:

    From Sassone today, in response to CT’s persistent inquiries:

    “Campbell’s broken collarbone will keep him out of the lineup until at least the second round of the playoffs. Johnsson remains sidelined indefinitely with a concussion and hasn’t skated since suffering the injury on March 13.”

    http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=370870

  14. JM says:

    Wow…hasn’t even skated in 3 weeks due to a concussion?

    Skated in practice or skated at all? If they haven’t even let him on the ice, can we assume he’s done for the year?

  15. dominator says:

    Actually I’d think there are questions about every team in the West’s goaltending going into the playoffs. Most of the starters have never seen a game in the playoffs and for the ones that have been there are questions on their ability to perform there.

  16. CT says:

    JM, he hasn’t skated as all. A player who suffers a concussion has to pass certain neurological tests in order to be cleared to skate. Once that happens, he’s pretty much good to go.

  17. Dave Morris says:

    I’d like to pass this along to our friends here at FF…Al Cimaglia, who reports on the Hawks for XM Sirius NHL Radio, does a weekly podcast with Jamie Shalley. Download here:
    http://rcpt.yousendit.com/846914569/1a104d7d16d4ccebfe1fe192efed8db8

    Al does a terrific breakdown of how the Hawks have re-tooled their game and gotten back in the W column, as well as assessing possible playoff matchups. The broadcast was done just before the win in Jersey, but it is still well worth a listen.

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