Blackhawks 3, Sharks 2 (OT)

Could it possibly be that, after 18 years, the Blackhawks are now just a day away from clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals?  Certainly seems that way.

The Hawks took Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Friday evening in their first home game of the series, and they did it coming from behind.

Even after an apparent Sharks goal was waved off in the first – it was ruled that Joe Pavelski kicked the puck into the net without touching it was his stick on the way in – Patrick Marleau snuck down into the slot on a second-period 5-on-3 and pounded in a loose puck for the first goal in the game.

But, as has been the story all series, after the Sharks picked themselves up, the Hawks threw them down again.  This time the Hawks found themselves on the power play, courtesy of Ryan Clowe, and just three minutes after Marleau put the Sharks up, Patrick Sharp tapped home a beautiful cross-ice pass from Jonathan Toews in the corner. 

Then, with about seven minutes left in a tied game, Jonathan Toews blocked a Dan Boyle point shot and Dave Bolland took it in alone the other way.  Bolland beat Evgeni Nabokov clean with a move to the goaltender’s glove side, and the Hawks had their first lead.  (Apparently Boyle was too busy giving people the finger to see the three shot blockers within 20 feet of his shot.)

It wouldn’t last.  Just over two minutes later Marleau, who is the only Sharks goal scorer during the past two games, potted a rebound during a scramble around Niemi.  The game would go to extra time.

Thank goodness for Danny Heatley and Dan Boyle, though.  Each player inexplicably fell asleep while the puck was moved around the Shark zone; Dustin Byfuglien was allowed to walk untouched through the slot en route to his gathering of a pretty behind-the-net pass from Bolland and a one-timer past Nabokov.

There’s your 3-0 lead.

More, more, more…

– I think we can end the “Ryan Clowe is a legitimate top-six forward” debate right here and now.

– We’re also a few days from the “Blow Up the Sharks” debates.  My take: just get it over with; blow it up.  It would certainly be fun to watch, but they’d likely be selling low on both Heatley and Thornton.

– Put Dave Bolland with Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Dustin Byfuglien in the series MVP discussion.  He’s obviously done the job in his own zone (his three penalties last night notwithstanding), but he scored the second goal and set up the third.  After a rough regular season, the bright lights of the playoffs seem to have gotten him going.

– As for my comments during the week about how he may not be back next season, consider this: assuming Dave Bolland is the second line center many of you apparently believe he is, the Hawks have two second line centers: him and Sharp.  That’s one too many, folks.

– Anybody else scratching their head on this “Rat” thing?  I can swear to you that I’d never once heard of the nickname until maybe three days ago, and it’s now everywhere.  They’re even referencing it on ESPN.

– At this point, it may take a colossal breakdown of Cub proportions to keep the Hawks from the Finals.  But, remember: the beauty of the NHL playoffs is that anything can happen.  Each of the Flyers and the Canadiens are more than capable of beating the Hawks in a best-of-seven.

– It’s easy to see why people have become so frustrated with Joe Thornton.  The man disappears for long stretches and only emerges to take blatant slashes at Dave Bolland or cross-ice runs at Andrew Ladd.  I’m sure we could debate it all weekend long, but he’s a fantastic talent I just wouldn’t want on my team.

– All those goaltending articles during the regular season sure seem like wasted breath now, don’t they?

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12 Responses to Blackhawks 3, Sharks 2 (OT)

  1. Big Tony says:

    We’re 6-1 against SJ this season so far. They need to win 4 straight to beat us. You do the math.

    I loved Dany Manslaughter looking lost in the slot when Buff was streaking towards Hawk immortality. I was sitting there watching and thinking, “Somebody has to see Buff…..” but they didn’t and he buried it. Nabokov looked like he was on vacation when the puck was being cycled around by Bolland behind him too. How the hell does your whole team fall asleep like that in OT?

    Toews is such a money player that the Hawks should print up Hawk Dollars to use in the UC with Johnny’s picture on them. Maybe some with Niemi too. If we win the Cup, those two guys should share the Conn Smythe. Simply fantastic, those guys.

  2. Lou says:

    Clowe is that short for Clown Eh?

    I can say the anthem was insane last night. Loudest I think I have heard it since the old barn and the days of Wayne Messmer.

    This team finds a way to get it done. And as good friend said last night, I can get real used to the Buff goal pose. I am just gonna enjoy this one game at a time.

    On a differnet not, I am not going to say our penalties weren’t penalties last night but the caliber of officiating this playoff has been very poor across many games and series. The NHL has some serious discussions to have aobut consistency to say the least.

    5 MORE

  3. Patrick says:

    Drives me crazy that the national media is fixated that the Sharks are losing these games and the Hawks aren’t necessairly winning them (the consensus seems that the Sharks should have had Games 1 and 3, etc). That’s bullshit and it’s a dicrespect. The Hawks are the better team, which is why they’re up 3-0.

    Hossa is having a great series, but he looks like he’s gripping the stick a bit too tight now (yep, I’m starting to follow that logic), but regardless of goals, he’s still an all-around genius and I ask this, would you rather have a 2 goal Hossa primed to put his name on the Cup, or a 10 goal Hossa coming up short. As we all know, this team is deep, a different player steps up each game! No opponent can account for everyone on the Hawks.

    Dany Manslaughter – that’s harsh, but funny.

  4. Mike D. says:

    Anybody else scratching their head on this “Rat” thing? I can swear to you that I’d never once heard of the nickname until maybe three days ago, and it’s now everywhere. They’re even referencing it on ESPN.

    I just figured that the excellent piece by GMH at Second City Hockey is what started it, no?

    http://www.secondcityhockey.com/2010/5/20/1480055/aint-nothing-but-a-love-tap

  5. “Rat” who cares what they call him, just put it in the net!
    To quote Pat Foley “A Buff Bomb!”

    The last time they did it was April 16th 1961 ten days before I was born.
    I have literally been waiting my entire life for this moment.

    Go Hawks!

  6. Nick says:

    Guys, not sure about the exact origins of the Rat, but I do know they were tossing it around back when he was nibbling on Daniel Sedin’s ankles. But do make sure you guys read that GMH piece. She’s been money over there.

  7. Derek says:

    Great game last night. Obviously Niemi was phenomenal again and all four lines turned in a very solid effort. Eager is playing his best hockey of the year right now. The past few games he has been a one man wrecking crew out there.

    Lou, I agree completely with your thoughts on the officiating. I think the league really needs to take a look at what constitutes a hooking penalty, because all it takes to draw a call is for a player to clamp their arm down on a stick that is remotely close to parallel to the ice. That clearly isn’t right. If they want to keep making those calls, then they also ought to call the player who got “hooked” for holding the stick because that’s clearly what they did. Marleau’s first goal doesn’t happen if the Hawks aren’t short two due to weak ass hooking calls. Also, what else other than jumping over him could Bolland have done to avoid Nabokov on his first penalty? I mean Nabokov was about 3/4 of the way out to the hash marks for christ’s sake.

    Anyway, great win. Let’s see another one tomorrow afternoon.

  8. Dave Morris says:

    Gee, FeatherMen, didn’t know that the Bolland Question (will he be back next year or not?) was *that* controversial, especially not when he’s proving to be one of the most valuable Blackhawks in this series.

    But plenty of time to talk about that later.

    Patrick>don’t forget the Mainstream Hockey Media is driven by its compulsion to make something out of nothing.

    TSN Bob McKenzie and other talking heads yapped incessantly about how “terrible” the Hawks’ playoff record was at home.

    Total BS. As if .500 at home during a year when ALL road teams are having success was somehow “terrible”.

    McKenzie was forced to eat his words last night once again.

    As Hawk hater Pierre McGuire has gagged more than once on his microphone.

    Cup Winning Coach Ken Hitchcock proposed an excellent solution to the annoying commentary of many TV hockey hacks: “Watch the game with the sound down.”

    It works.

    Now , let’s see if the Blackhawks can put the Sharks away tomorrow.

    They have plenty of motivation to do so, not the least of which is taking another flight to the West Coast, plus wanting to get whatever rest they can while the Flyers and Habs pummel each other.

    And for anyone going to the UC, scream your lungs out and show this team you believe.

    They deserve it.

    And take a moment, if you will, to have a thought for Scotty Bowman’s son David, who suffers from hydrocephalus, is paralyzed and under hospice care.

    http://www.versus.com/blogs/no-holding-back/bowman/

  9. John Schaefer says:

    Yeah, this is an incredible experience.
    1992 all over again, except let’s get the job done this time. Was at all the home playoff games standing in the 2nd Balcony. The Cup Final was something. Took my Dad to Game 4.
    So lets’ keep this going. As for the refs man who’s this sidekick for McStache. Was it just me or was he whistling everyone off? Ridiculous!
    First time also I heard the word averice used by a color man.
    Thank God we get Emerick and Edzo back.
    they could leave McGuirre and Millbury back in montreal.
    And as Michael Calyn said , I’ve been waitng also. Oct. 7.’61 SO LET’S DO IT!!

  10. Abner Reyes says:

    Lou, I agree completely with your thoughts on the officiating. I think the league really needs to take a look at what constitutes a hooking penalty, because all it takes to draw a call is for a player to clamp their arm down on a stick that is remotely close to parallel to the ice. That clearly isn’t right. If they want to keep making those calls, then they also ought to call the player who got “hooked” for holding the stick because that’s clearly what they did. Marleau’s first goal doesn’t happen if the Hawks aren’t short two due to weak ass hooking calls. Also, what else other than jumping over him could Bolland have done to avoid Nabokov on his first penalty? I mean Nabokov was about 3/4 of the way out to the hash marks for christ’s sake.
    +1

  11. Patrick says:

    This will be Nabokov’s shit-the-bed game. Book it…

  12. Big Tony says:

    @ Patrick…agreed, only if he gives up a goal in the first 5 minutes, especially if it’s soft. If he’s solid in the 1st, I think he’ll be okay. I still think we win today, no matter what.

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