If Hawks win, party at Robson and Thurlow? Hawks-Canucks game six recap.

Well, like my tortured analogy yesterday, this team is not dying easy. Three times Vancouver took the lead, three times the Hawks tied it and then came back to win in overtime. Could this have been scripted any more bizarre if someone tried? I don't know. But, let's hit it. 

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For perhaps the first time this series, we saw playoff hockey. Both teams brought it and overall, I thought it was a very tight game despite one team or the other controlling for stretches at a time. Starting off, Vancouver scored early on a Hammer turnover that D. Sedin took around the net from Crow's right to his left and managed to sort of fling it in a way that it rolled up Crawford's goal stick and in the net. Four minutes later, Hammer shoots a dump in off the glass to Schneiders right that fooled him and bounced right out to a streaking Stalberg who had a wide open net. Unfortunately, Stals had already gotten too low and could not make the angle. 
 With five minutes left in the period, the Hawks dump the puck in along the boards to Schneids right and he follows it around to play it. As he is going around, Frolik comes behind the net following the puck. Right as he get's to the other side of the net, Bieksa is coming at him with rude intentions. However, before Bieksa can hit Frolik, he gets destroyed by Bolland who was streaking in behind him. After the hit, the puck shoots to the front of the net and Bickell drives it home. Then with one minute on the clock, Campoli is in the slot trying to clean up a scoring opportunity but whiffs on the shot and puts it right on the stick of Burrows who instantly buried it. Thank you John Scott for grabbing Burrows by his face and throwing him to the ice shortly before this goal, I'm sure that didn't motivate him at all.  Hawks end the first down 2-1. 
In the second, the Hawks wound up with the dreaded 5-3 advantage halfway through the period. Even after a time out where they had time to draw something up, they simply could not penetrate the three man wall the Nucks set up in front of their net. Gotta give the Nucks some credit here, this was a really good kill on their part. Then with about five minutes left, Schneids exits his net to his right to play a puck behind the net. What he ultimately winds up doing is shooting the puck up the right boards directly on to Kane's stick. Kane in turn puts it right on the tape of Bolland's stick as he is streaking up the slot with no one covering him at all. That was a sweet goal. With 3:24 left, Crawford made a huge save that I dont think can be oversold in importance. Hawks then close out the period on a power play but again don't do jack with it. Right at the buzzer, one of the Sedin bitches skates into Crawford after a whistle. Soupy, standing right there, gives him a little tap and Sedin dove very theatrically. To start the third, both Soupy and Sedin were in the box feeling shame. 
One minute into the third, Mason Raymond and Bieksa took advantage of Leddy pinching during the four on four. With Leddy pinching, that left Keith and Toews to handle the back check and Bieksa actually made a hell of a play to score. Not too long after that though, Keith clears the puck out the D zone by flinging a near three line pass up the boards to Frolik who immediately got a step on Hamhuis while breaking for the net. In desperation, Hamhuis dives on his stomach to swipe at the puck and takes out Frollik's feet BEFORE making contact with the puck. In a very ballsy call, the official calls for a penalty shot and Frolik score the first playoff penalty shot in Hawks franchise history. Hamhuis looked like he wanted to cry after that. On the play, Schneid's got hurt. AV says it's only a cramp for now. From here, both teams grinded it out until the end of regulation.
Because it went to overtime, my DVR was not taping and I didn't get to see very much. Right about this time though, I was just getting out of work and listening to in the car on the iphone. From what Troy was saying, the Hawks were getting outplayed and were having a really hard time clearing the zone. Eventually though, with about five minutes left, Hossa pulls a classic Hossa game of keep away in the offensive zone. While drawing three players to him, he creates space at the left blueline for Hammer and passes to him. Hammer in turn puts it on net, possibly getting a tip from Ben Smith on the way. Luooooooo belly flops to make the stop and gives up the pork chop rebound to Smith who, while facing toward center ice, backhands the puck over the flopped Luo. Hawks win. 
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So, what now? Well, listening to AV talk after the game, he felt that this was the best game his team has played in this series, and they lost. The Hawks have zero room to get cocky here, but they have clearly frustrated the shit out of the Nucks. Whether the Nucks are the better team overall has now become irrelevant as they now sit in the same exact position the Hawks do. Since coming back, Bolland is a +5 while the Sedins are a -11. I don't think even Nucks fans can deny at this point how big he has helped his team play. Physically, I thought the Hawks did just fine which thankfully kept Scott on the bench. Don't know if Luongo will start, but if he does, you have to think that his life as a Nuck is as much on the line as their playoff dreams. Without a doubt, the Hawks have showed the Nucks just how much sack it takes to win the trophy that matters and no matter what happens on Tuesday, we should be proud of their comeback. If the internets are correct, only seven teams have made it to game seven after going down 3-0 and we all know only three teams have actually won that last game. History will be made again if they pull this off. 

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  • I've been away on a family vacation this past week and never thought I'd return home to see the bright red sweaters still skating on Versus. Amazing. The Hawks were definitely repaid last night for all the bad bounces they got in the first few games. I thought they were pretty badly outplayed overall. Vancouver seemed to beat them to every loose puck and somehow missed several open nets and hit a couple solid posts. The Hawks PP (especially the 5-on-3) was absolutely pathetic. They were lucky to win this game with all the Canucks were bringing at them in the 3rd and OT, but they deserved a little luck in this series and got it last night.

    On to game 7... they'll need to play a whole lot better to win, and I'm actually glad they'll be on the road for this one. No more fancy-play attempts -- get the damn puck to the net with traffic. Bolland is definitely the MVP of the series, and Frolik and Bickell get huge shouts for last night's play... and of course Crawford. Great solo effort from Hossa to help set up the game-winner as well. So much for saying the Hawks don't have depth. Goals from Bickell, Bolland, Frolik, and Smith to win the game.

  • Great wrap Vegas, sorry you missed the OT. This was a hard fought match all the way through and I agree that Vancouver gave their best overall performance. I feel lucky in the end. The Nucks were getting the better of the Hawks in the second half of that OT and I knew a lucky break would have to present itself. By simply getting the puck to the net, a wise for his years Smith was able to be the hero, although he takes none of the credit himself. I give credit to Luongo for belly flopping in his crease.

    Nice of Hossa to show up in the final seconds, I had no idea was actually on the team until that point.

    The Hawks were extremely physical for their play, and once again I am not so sure it is a good thing. They had lots of hits and lots of turnovers and then ran out of gas late. Me thinks this might have something to do with trying to be overly physical when it is not a game your used to.

    PPs were huge in that they didn't matter for either team, but the Hawks dodged a bullet when they missed the 5 on 3 opportunity for almost 2 minutes.

    Bolland was huge once again, that hit was the hit heard around the world. A timely hit, and well executed if I do say so myself. His line (Frolik and Bickell) was definitely the difference in this one, and like you pointed out about he and the Sedins, given that they are the head to head lines you have to be happy about the outcome.

    Frolik may have been the best Hawk on the ice and he got to prove it on the scoreboard to. That penalty shot (rightfully called) was an action packed, heart-attack inducing, pleasureful moment. The goal of the year is If I do say so myself. I wonder if Schneider heals quickly and who will be in net come Tuesday night?

    Toews played great again, and was agin left without a goal. He is making some big time plays and sooner or later the puck will start following his lead. I still think Kaner needs to get better, and we need a better all around effort from Hossa. Sharp was intense, and he might have been one of the best skaters on the ice with Frolik.

    Lastly, the D was hard to watch at times. I am about ready to go trade Campbell myself. Turnover city, and this is coming off of a well played defensive game. I hope that they have it together by tomorrow. If the D shows up big, I have a lot of confidence in the outcome.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    I actually got lucky and made it home in time to see the Hawks start to get a little bit going right before Smith scored. What was kind of cool was that my sister was still here and both of us erupted off the couch when Smith scored. People in my complex here have got to think I'm nuts after I was mockingly yelling, Luooooooooooooooo. I was listening to Smith get interviewed while I drove my sister to the airport and was very impressed with how mature this kid sounded.

    We all pretty much agreed that if the Hawks had not made the playoffs, it would have been because of what happened at the start and middle of the season. If the Nucks lose tomorrow, I say it will be largely because they flat out quit in two games they got their asses kicked in. In a way, I think what happened last night is so typical and classic for the Nucks. In quite a few games in the past, I have seen them sit on a lead and then come back with some fury at the end of the game when their lead falls apart. Now, after giving up the series lead in a similar fashion, you can only imagine that they will at least start game 7 as hard as they ended game 6. If the Hawks can weather that storm.....who knows.

    I do believe Vancouver earned the President's trophy. But, they will have to fight their own bad habits as much as they will have to fight the Hawks to win on Tuesday. The Hawks didn't play their best game of the series, but I do believe they were the hungrier team and I still tend to believe the hungrier team will frequently get the breaks. Vancouver got them early in the series and the Hawks are getting them now. If the Canucks do win on Tuesday, I believe the Hawks will have done them an enormous favor by teaching them a lesson that you can be the weaker team and still make someone pay for not respecting you.

  • I forgot to state how stellar Crawford was. Holly crap was he on his game, especially late.

  • Here comes negative Nelly ...

    I give the Hawks a C- for team performance last night. B for backchecking, D for puck possession, D for breakouts, F for hockey smarts.

    This was the Hawks worst game. 14 turnovers. No Hjammer, Hossa (both turnover machines) until the last minute (I actually said out loud "this better be your best shift Hossa!")

    Also of note but no consequence: Bolland was wearing Hammer's gloves.

    Other good news, 31 blocked shots. Without that the Canucks (who stink if you ask me) that would have had over 80 shots. Crawford was the difference. He stole the game.

    Luongo comedy level "high" for trying to make a lunging and over playing the puck. Canucks didn't learn out to win from the last 3 years, they learned how to lose.

    Bad game, good outcome. If the Hawks bring their B game on Sunday they'll advance.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    I also thought the Hawks struggled but showed tremendous guts playing through no offensive flow and skittish play in their own end. Hawks were chasing the puck all night. Crawford beat the Canucks when the Canucks weren't beating themselves. And I thought Toews, Sharp and Keith were mediocre at best.

    While true for both teams, the puck bounced like a super ball all night and reduced the Hawks's skating and passing game to a grinding, frustrating dump and chase. The United Center still can't make ice, an inexcusable condition for a home team built on speed and tape-to-tape passing.

    But I digress. Hawks found a way to win in and set up a game for the ages. Go Hawks!

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Vigneault put it all on the line with benching Luongo. A win, they advance and he is a genius. A loss, and he has all but guaranteed a Hawks victory in game 7! With that much downside, I think it was a stupid risk to take. Then things went from bad to worse as he had to go to Luongo ANYWAYS and still make him suffer the defeat! Hahaha! What an absolute debacle for Vancouver!

    Looks like the Hawks have renewed their lease on that property they own in Vancouver! You know the one, it is located between the left and right ears of Bob luongo!! Haha!

    I guess Yogi Berra was right! It's 90% mental and the other half physical!

  • In reply to matto:

    If the Hawks do win and send the Preds your way, would you rather have that matchup or the Sharks?

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    I never "wish" or "prefer" an opponent so it doesnt really matter to me either way. Both have equal pro's and con's in my opinion. (and thats not a PC answer either, thats how I really feel about the playoffs)

    The Preds have finally made it out of the first round and if we played them, I would hope that some of that desire to get a playoff series win has been satisfied and that they would not have that added fire going in against Detroit. Not that they would lay down, but its harder to play a team that has those kinds of added incentives. I think the Preds would be more of a phsyical grind than the Sharks and that could prove costly moving forward should DET win that series in extended games. The Preds and Ducks battled pretty hard and the turn around both physically and emotionally isnt something the Preds have much experience with in the playoffs.

    On the other hand, I thought we gave the Sharks that series last year and we would have more to prove in that one. They are a very dangerous team that doesnt have a lot of quit in them (see: game 3 of their series) but the fact that they have struggled somewhat with LA gives me the sense that we would be able to play our system more successfully against them. In this series, it would depend on how well Jimmy Howard can handle tougher shots than what he was seeing with PHX.

    Travel is a consideration as well. I know I dont have to tell you, that west coast back-and-fourth sucks. Proximity with Nashville seems more ideal. But again, it ultimately really doesnt matter to me...

    I will say (likely to the delight of many Hawk fans) that their comeback in this series is the only thing that could have caused a wrinkle in the week off Detroit worked for. Instead of just being able to prepare for SJ like we thought we should, now we have to consider alternate game planning for Nashville.

    All in all, these are good problems to have while in wait for the next round. I think its best for Detroit to get ready for Nashville because the Hawks are going to win on Tuesday in a blow out! I cannot wait to see Luongo skate out to center ice after they lose and slit his throat with his own skate! Hopefully that will be followed by the rest of his team and then the fans too! Its gonna look like Jones Town at the Rogers Arena Tuesday night! LOL!

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    One more to go, win or lose, it has already been a fun ride! Power play must get better. I don't know why on the 5 on 3 they think they have to be fancy. Get shots to the net and you have numbers down low for rebounds. Toews and Kane (although he had a nice assist) need to become more of a factor on the scoresheet Tuesday, and Hossa needs to be visible for more than just one shift. At least we will have better ice in Van.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    Mike Gillis, the Nuck's GM is publicly whining about a "level playing field". I'm now fully expecting a few "WTF" calls on the Hawks tomorrow.

    BW

  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    Didn't the Hawks beat them 5 on 5 yesterday? PS. Bickell had wrist surgery today and will not play Tuesday.

    He's sticking up for his team but whining about calls on the ice is stupid. Call out your players and fire them up. "We're going to be very hard-pressed to win hockey games if through an entire series when the score is tight, they get 75 per cent more power plays than we do."

    Here's the article "level playing field" article: http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/whitetowel/archive/2011/04/25/gillis-has-nothing-to-lose-takes-issue-with-officiating-in-playoff-series.aspx

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    The only thing that's clear from the PP discrepancy is that Vancouver is committing more penalties than Chicago. Why does this figure have to be even? It makes the officiating more suspicious if both teams get the same amount of PP time.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Things are bad when you start making excuses like that. As if the Nucks haven't gotten away with anything in this series. Although, to be fair, the Hawks did get a few gifts last game. I would say that it might have slightly gone in the Hawk's favor, but nothing worth crying about. Focus on your game.

    It really sucks to lose Bickell now. When I saw the news I thought it was a joke. Also means that he was playing hurt last game. Someone will have to step up.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    Bickell's injury happened when he got tangled with someone in front of the Hawks bench. He caught a skate blade to the wrist while on his butt. He made it look like a slight owie but Duncs made a "holy crap" face and yelled for the medic, who immediately took Bickell to the locker room. I was surprised to see him come back and now the news is he had to have a tendon reattached. Man, these hockey players are tough.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    It was a valiant effort. They just didn't have the horses.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    Crawford was amazing! Unbelievable effort by him

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    To go along with Jerry's post, the Hawks also get an F for not putting any pressure on Luongo when he's thrust into a tight game without any warm-up time. He comes in and the Hawks are still trying to make passing plays instead getting the puck on net on a cold, nervous goalie. Come on! We all know he's gonna give up rebounds. Lou plays almost 18 minutes of the third and faces 2 shots. Yes, credit the Nucks for a great game, but the Hawks did not play like a team facing elimination.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Thanks Vegas for the wrap. I set my DVR to record an extra hour, just in case something like last night happens. I lost out on the Habs-Bruins OT winner on Saturday in double overtime, and I was down to my last 3 or 4 minutes last night. Man was I happy to see that go in.

    I don't think it is fair to blame Luongo. Indeed he was fighting the puck and the 'hawks didn't challenge him much but he had no chance on the Smith winner.
    I agree with most here that this was not a great effort by the 'hawks, but credit the Canucks with playing a solid road game.

    I'm with Gitr in that I'm glad game seven is on the road. Good solid road hockey and there's a good chance there could be more to come.

    Canucks are saying it was only a cramp for Schnieder. Not sure if he'll get the call tomorrow and does it really matter at this point. If we had the opportunity 6 games ago to take a game seven, I'm sure we all would have jumped at that. I'm thoroughly enjoying the ride.

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