Blackhawks 4, Blues 3 (OT)

For the third time this season, the Blues coughed up a 2-0 lead to the Blackhawks.  All three times they lost, though they did collect two points in doing so.  Tonight, the Hawks had the benefit of a questionable goal call go their way and it may have saved their season in the process.

Make no mistake, the Hawks looked dead in the water before Marian Hossa’s goal maybe or maybe not crossed the goal line or maybe or maybe not was not kicked in.  Since the call on the ice was a good goal, it completely changed the dynamic of the situation.  After a long review in Toronto, the call on the ice stood and from there, the Hawks picked up the pace.

Tomas Kopecky tied the game six minutes later with both Hawk defensemen below the goal line.  A goal mouth scramble found Kopecky alone and he buried it past Ty Conklin.  Nick Leddy put the Hawks in front after a terrific hesitation pass from Duncan Keith, Alex Steen blowing an edge as he worked his way to Leddy that opened up the shooting lane, and some nice screening in front. 

Then in the third, Keith and Leddy got crossed up on a chase to the puck and Chris Stewart was more than happy to deposit the puck past Corey Crawford.  Keith had Stewart tied up and waited for Leddy to skate for the loose puck.  Instead, they both let up and Stewart did not.  That’s what happens sometimes when defensive partners get swapped mid-game and a big risk-taker is paired up with a rookie defensemen.

The Hawks barely got out of regulation alive with the Blues getting a lot of good looks in the closing minutes.  In overtime, T.J. Oshie spearheaded a 4-on-1 after Brent Seabrook got caught too deep.  Oshie kept the puck the whole way and blasted a shot that knocked Corey Crawford out cold.  On the ensuing face-off Duncan Keith found Jonathan Toews alone on the Blues blue line.  Toews beat the defenseman around the corner and fired it through Conklin’s legs for the game-winner.

I’m As Black as the Ace of Spades

Kudos to Stan Bowman for making the right move and calling up Ben Smith as Troy Brouwer is out with a shoulder injury.  After a season of pretending that John Scott was anything resembling a useful piece, it seems like Bowman has finally learned that dressing a team where your coach can only play 11 forwards isn’t a winning formula. 

In perhaps a bigger shock, Quenneville gave Ben Smith a very long rope tonight.  Smith responded with a couple of strong shifts in the second period.  In the third, he was a little shaky and a lot of that was probably because he’s never played with someone as talented as Patrick Kane.  And it was also because he’s playing high-stakes hockey for the first time since last year’s NCAA National Championship. 

Marcus Kruger drew the short end of the stick and was a healthy scratch tonight. 

–My knee hurt watching Patrick Sharp trying to skate.  So long as he doesn’t do more damage to his knee, have at it big boy.

–The Hawks sit at 95 points.  Anaheim has 95 as well so Calgary is effectively out.  With two more non-shootout wins and a 4 point lead over Dallas, all the pressure is on Dallas to be perfect.  Even with lesser opponents in Colorado and Minnesota remaining, all it takes is a couple fluky things to happen like say, a goal in the first 17 seconds of the game, before they’d find themselves in a dogfight.  Either way, by the next time the Hawks take the ice, we’ll know if they have wrapped up a playoff spot. 

In other news, if they do find themselves in a must-win game against Detroit, Henrik Zetterberg looks to be out for both games after tweaking his leg in Carolina tonight.

–Can we please, after all this time, finally tell Pat Foley that the outcome of a 5-on-3 does not determine the winner of the game?  Please, this isn’t that difficult. 

–In other news, Ed Olcyzk has once again changed his mind and determined Marian Hossa’s goal to be, indeed, good. 

–One underrated area where the Hawk forecheckers on their bottom 6 seem to be really struggling this year is on their angles.  A lot of times, teams are getting way too easy of a breakout because say, Bryan Bickell for instance, is giving the opposing defenseman room to work on either side.  Instead of taking away the inside and funneling the defensemen to the outside all while trapping him along the boards, the opposition makes one move and poof!, they’re out of the zone.  Whether it’s lack of speed or lack of smarts, it makes the whole chip-and-chase strategy essentially useless. 

It happened again tonight and it will happen again soon.  Something to keep an eye on.

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18 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Blues 3 (OT)

  1. Bill says:

    Bickell has taken over from Veector as my Hawk whipping boy. At least Veector goes to the net. Bickell has really sucked the second half of the year, a couple of snap shots notwithstanding. He follows in a long line of busts, this years Cam Barker in my opinion. Bickell blows.

  2. Freshlyshorn says:

    First of all, as always, kudos for an efficient and spot-on recap. Question, and I realize I’m risking heresy for all the Crawford/Calder sunshine being pumped out by every media outlet, am I the only one who soils his pants every time our #1 net minder faces a shot which he has full view? Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s solid and a key to the longer-term future, but he seems better at stopping the difficult ones versus those in daylight.

  3. 1-0 after the first shot! Not good, let’s hope that is an anomaly.

  4. Otter says:

    Wow… talk about a gift goal… I understand why the goal stood since it was called a goal on the ice and you can’t actually tell that it didn’t cross the line and that Hossa’s stick didn’t tap the puck… but I think the Hawks got a huge break there. If there were any Stars fans, they’d be screaming conspiracy! right now.

    I’m nearing the end of my tolerance for Foley and Olcyzk… they watch the replay about 20 times and finally on the 21st they realize that Hossa kicked the puck in? I mean it was pretty clear from the first replay from above the net. And then Foley dropping his lame ‘tree, tirty-tree… sorry I was in Montreal last night’ in OT in a game the Hawks pretty much have to win and laugh riot erupts? Really? Aren’t you supposed to be on the edge of your seat like the rest of us? Bring back Tallon.

  5. Hack says:

    One correction, John.

    “Either way, by the next time the Hawks take the ice, we’ll know if they have wrapped up a playoff spot.”

    Maybe I’m taking this in a more literal sense than you meant it, but if Dallas loses tonight, they aren’t eliminated. So there’s no way for a playoff spot to be clinched by the start of Friday’s game.

  6. Francis Roberts says:

    Wow, the Hoss goal was a real gift. Thank god the on ice call was a goal, because that was the only way it would count. Anyway, it was good to see the team play with a sense of desperation in period 2. They need more of that. Valiant effort by Sharp. I don’t know if he is hurt, but Hammer is really struggling. He is playing every puck like it is a live hand grenade. He can’t get rid of it fast enough.

  7. John says:

    Hack–Yeah, poor job of explaining by me. I meant it more in a ‘it’s pretty much a done deal’ sense than officially clinched.

  8. rich lindbloom says:

    John,

    Great observation on the forecheck. Does anyone have statistics on how often teams score with a 5-3 advantage.

    I know how important these games are, but was quite concerned about a let down after the Montreal game. The team certainly let it all hang out on Tueday.

    Sharp appeared to bang the knee up in the third in a collision at the Blues blue line. Someone asked Q if it were game 40 would Sharp have dressed – his answer was a quick “no.” Red Badge of courage award for the effort.

  9. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    John don’t mean to say I told you so, but I knew 95 pts wasn’t going to be enough and sure enought it isn’t

  10. John says:

    Well right now, 95 is enough. Dallas still needs to win twice to make it neglible. And let’s not forget Anaheim and LA finish with a back to back, so it’s still a three team race for the last two spots.

    By the way, it’s taken a statistical anamoly to get the point totals this high with a record amount of games going into overtime. In the second half, it’s been something ridiculous like 60% of the games have gone to overtime. I think that number blows any other out of the water since the lockout.

  11. Fork says:

    Before being too quick on the trigger to lump Bryan Bickell in with Cam Barker, remember…

    Barker was a first rounder, and Bickell will make less over the three years of his current deal than Barker made as a Blackhawks in the 2009-10 season.

    Anything over 10 goals from a guy on a Bickell contract is sheer genius.

  12. Jim says:

    Bickell has the size, why doesn’t he park in front of the net like Byfuglien? It seems like all of his goals are snappers from the circle. If we see Vancouver in the first round, we know that’s tried and true against Lu.

  13. Marts says:

    Not that anyone is raising the issue in the comments but I thought I’d address the Hossa goal. In a pure sense of what I saw, I believe it should have been NO goal. However, given the ruling on the ice I completely agree with the war room’s assessment that it could not be over-turned. I’m a firm believer that these things tend to sort themselves out in the long run and I refer back to the Chicago v Dallas game where Seabrook clearly scored on a 5-on-3 which would’ve made it a 4-0 Hawks lead going into the 1st intermission. The ruling on the ice was NO goal, and the replay was obscured by Lehtonen’s trapper (which was completely behind the goal line). Hawks win that one in reg, and the Stars are already out. In any case, the Stars got away with a break then and we got one back last night. All good i guess.

  14. Otter says:

    After reading this: ” Their record was dragged down early this season by the horrific play of Marty Turco, but with Corey Crawford in net, they’ve played like a top team.”

    Went back and did the math:
    Hawks are averaging 1.19 points a game.
    When Turco starts, Hawks averaging 1 point a game.
    When Crawford starts, Hawks averaging 1.27 points a game.

    Just food for thought.

  15. BaltoBob says:

    In response to an earlier query/comment, Capital’s play by play people put the 5 on 3 success rate at 80% in the NHL.
    Hat’s off to Sharpie, a remarkable lift to the Hawks. Glad to see Leddy doing something in the offensive zone; I think Q turned everbody loose last night, including B Smith.

  16. Marts says:

    @ Otter. That’s good info and would mean the weekend set against the Wings would be for the division title (and possibly the #2 seed).

  17. Cam says:

    Now 97 points isn’t enough to get in.

    Two points the refs stole from the Hawks in Vancouver look pretty big now.

  18. jmk52 says:

    Looks like the Hawks will have to get that last point themselves on Sunday. For Minnesota, Havlat, Madden, Barker, Latandresse and a few others were out tonight with injuries, and it doesn’t look likely that they’ll play against Dallas either.

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