Add another chapter in the Legend of Dave Bolland.
After missing the last month of the season because of concussion symptoms, Bolland made a return that can’t be described as anything but triumphant. Bolland scored a goal and added three assists while his linemates of Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik also added their best games in quite some time.
I hate giving all the credit to the return of one person, especially that of a guy who is not a star. But if Bolland has proved anything over his four years, it’s that he saves his best performances for the playoffs. Tonight was no different.
His return gave the Hawks something they haven’t had in quite some time: three legitimate lines. Simply having another line to throw at the Canucks was a huge difference in the game. Activating the defensemen didn’t hurt either.
At the least, the Hawks gave the United Center a proper send-off for the 2010-2011 season by putting on a beating not seen since their 6-3 win over San Jose which feels like a lifetime ago.
Only Because I Have To
–Two years ago, the Canucks were probably a better team than the Hawks. Their defensemen punished the Hawks every chance they got on their breakouts and it certainly was a huge factor through the first three games. Brian Campbell was the equalizer, though, as he became a one-man breakout capable of slowing up the Canuck forecheckers. It led to the Hawks winning the final three games of the series.
Fast forward to today, and the problem still remains. Campbell hasn’t been able to get untracked and the Canuck defensemen have punished the Hawk forwards on nearly every defensive breakout. Until tonight. It was only for one game, but the Hawk forwards were probably grateful they didn’t have Alex Edler tire marks on their chest for one night.
Several times, Campbell was able to weave his way through the neutral zone and the Hawk forecheckers were able to get a full head of steam on the Canuck defensemen for a change.
That was the biggest difference between tonight and the first three games. For good measure, Campbell also found the back of the net to break the 1-1 tie.
–Call me crazy but John Scott is far more tolerable on defense than forward. For one, it’s his natural position and two, he only has to cover 3/4 of the ice.
On the other hand, Scott is on this team and in the league for one reason: he’s bigger than everyone on the ice.
So when the opposition starts to take liberties with his teammates during a scrum, Scott has to be like a lion that just jumped the fence at Brookfield Zoo and go after everything in his sight. When Yannick Hanson slammed Chris Campoli into the boards on an icing call, Scott went after Tanner Glass. Glass wanted no part of him and then the two engaged in what must have been a hilarious conversation.
Meanwhile, Kevin Bieksa was having his way with about three different Hawks.
I don’t know if he’s too laid back or not smart enough to realize how much bigger he is, but Bieksa getting to 2nd base with half the Hawks on the ice while Scott is out there simply cannot happen.
–Still waiting on Marian Hossa. And Jonathan Toews to a lesser extent. You have to think one, if not both of these players are going to break through in a big way soon. At least that’s all we can hope. Either way, Game 5 would probably be a good time for it.