Won Game: Blackhawks 4 - Red Wings 1

Won Game: Blackhawks 4 - Red Wings 1

I would really like to know what went on during the optional practice that I am assuming Toews ran yesterday. 12 players made it to that practice as Q had given them the day off. A practice that Q himself was not at.

2 power-play goals, 45-26 shots in favor of the Hawks, Shaw was on fire with 2 goals and 3 big hits, Bickell had an outstanding game, Keith was great, and even Seabrook didn't suck. Besides those 2 PP goals though, the main difference is that not only was the Hawks depth too much to handle, but Toews, Kane, Hossa, and Sharp were all significant factors.

It was the type of game that has you scratching your head as to why the Hawks could be behind 3-1 in this series. It was exactly the type of game the Hawks needed. They needed to show the Wings just what it looks like when the Hawks are firing on all cylinders. They needed to put some doubt into their heads as game 6 goes back to Detroit. 1 game at a time, 1 game ahead of them in which all they need to do is repeat tonight's game.

The tension was almost unbearable, as every Hawks fan knew what scoring first meant. Not only did the Hawks need to come out hard, but they needed to be first on the scoreboard given their lack of production lately. Thankfully, a great move to the middle by Brian Bickell led to a scramble in front of Howard, Hawks going hard to the net, and a slam dunk rebound for the hustling winger. Let's repeat that "going hard to the net" part.

Making the hard move, and forcing the Detroit D to play at the Hawks level is exactly what the doctor ordered, because the Hawks have more talent. They will win that game. No more time for playing it safe, and boy did it pay off. Not just for Bickell, but especially for Kane who had 7 shots on net, many of which were primo chances, many of which were caused by his making the extra move, rather than just throwing it at the net.

Why was the power-play so effective? Because they skated harder than the Wings during it. Pure and simple. In the second opportunity for the Hawks on the man-advantage, they won every fight for the puck, and they peppered Howard. Shoot, retrieve the puck, make a quick pass and shoot again. Repeat process. Shaw was huge, not only for going to the net and tipping a shot from Keith (Norris trophy Keith where have you been?), but for winning the ever important battle in the corner, or behind the net again, and again.

I don't know if the reason that Keith, and more importantly Seabrook decided to up their game a couple extra notches, but It was nice to see them back. Was it their reunion as a pairing? Was it the do or die situation they helped dig their team into (especially Seabrook)? I don't care, but I would like more of it please.

Maybe they wanted to rally behind their captain, and show their support after watching him lose it on the ice 2 nights ago. Maybe they all felt the crack in Toews' armor. Well, captain marvel was sure as hell ready to lead them through a mountain, which began tonight by notching his first goal of this playoffs on a very well placed shot. He helped start the tempo early in the first along with his line-mates of Sharp and Kane. Again, was it their reunion as a line? Who's idea was it? I don't know. All I know is that the Hawks were hungry tonight, and if they stay hungry enough I feel that Detroit will watch this series get ripped out of their hands on Monday night.

It started with the Hawks top line, and it was finished by the 3rd line of Shaw, Stalberg, and Saad who helped bring the return of the Hawks forecheck. This was rewarded with a goal. The constant pressure that the superior skating of the Hawks pressed onto the Wings tonight started to crack them. The constant physical barrage of our heavy hitters sent them a message. A hit late in the game by Bickell on Kronwall not only provided some kind of payback for Toews, but it left Kronwall with a reminder to think about for next game. A little "I owe you more" ticket to hold onto if you will.

The Hawks have always been the superior team. They let a couple bad calls, bad breaks, and a very well coached team force them to forget that. They reminded themselves tonight. Even another bad whistle that took away a goal didn't stop them this time. Not only did the Hawks skate better, they finally felt the confidence to make the right passes, and by the 3rd, they were connecting beautifully. Don't let an inferior defense keep you on the outer edges. You go and take it back, and you do it with authority because you are the more talented team.

The Hawks let Detroit fool them into thinking they had more skill on the back end with the same old tactic they have seen work a million times against the Hawks. The trap scares them into playing outer rim hockey. Sure, they still end up with more shots on net, but with a very well playing goaltender behind them, the Wings were happy to play this hockey. Thank you for taking that back Chicago, and rightfully so.

If there ever was a team that could come back from a 3-1 deficit, it is this Hawks team in this series. But, they will need to be just as good as they were tonight. One more game, one more win, and you force Detroit back into your den for a wild game 7.


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  • I am F'n livid right now. I recorded the game but as soon as I sat down, I found out my DVR made a pile of pixelated shit that was unwatchable. Just for the perfect F U factor, the commercials were not affected. At work, I had the game on in the background so I did get to see most of the goals, but I was really looking forward to watching what was probably their most dominant game of the entire series. GRRRRRR.

    Bitter as I was that they did not score last game and bitter as we were at Q, I nonetheless believe those games were much closer then the final score suggested. Yes, the Wings played near perfect trap hockey, yes, Howard has been playing out of his freaking mind and yes, Q has been out coached. Be that as it may, next to nothing fell the Hawks way in games 3 and 4 and tonight the Wings were the team having little fall their way. Make no mistake, the Hawks remain in a hole and nothing short of tonight's effort is going to win on Monday. I am cautiously optimistic at best. Still, what the Wings don't have going for them now is that the Hawks put up a very strong game and they don't have two days off to rest up.

    After watching Toews score tonight, I can't think of any better highlight then watching Bickell light Kronwall's ass up. THAT was long, long overdue.

  • The main part that the power play finally clicked was getting Shaw in front of the net. We have had plenty of shots on goal in this series, but with the way Howard has been playing, you need to get that traffic out front. Shaw's goal was great, but the thing that is being overlooked on Toew's goal is Shaw tying up the dman's stick in front of the goal. He was trying to get over to Toews but Shaw would not let him. It was a great job.

  • "They were better than us tonight," said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who made 41 saves. "We knew it. We knew we were going to have to weather the storm early against them, and I thought we did that. We got going there, but they just kept coming and coming."

    This quote pretty much sums up the game. How can Detroit not be freaked out about tomorrow night?

    Shaw was a beast, and yes, especially on the power-play. He might be the single most important reason the Hawks won last night. What he did behind the net was equally huge. He set a tone that saw the Hawks outskating the Wings on the power-play. That was all they needed. They needed to skate that hard and pepper Howard like that. Shaw in front of the net was just gravy.

    But again, it wasn't just the hard skating displayed by the Hawks. In that sense, there was no difference between any of the other games besides #2. The difference was how smart they were about it. Even their hits were smart and calculated. Don't just be physical to be physical. Do it right. The other difference was that the bounces weren't against the Hawks as much. I could call that no goal by Toews a bad break.

  • Vegas, I sure hope your 3rd period wasn't pixelated tonight!

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    So, before I left for work this morning, I look at the grid on Direct TV and I swear to God, I see TBA: western conference semi final at 4:30 pm. So I hit it and tack on the extra 30 minutes. Then, my wife texts me later at work late in the third and says, " Hey, isn't there a Hawks game tonight? I don't see anything taped" So, I get home and the DVR is set to record the game tonight at 03:30. WTF!

    What I bet happened was that Direct TV updated the title during the day and the stupid DVR couldn't figure out that what I wanted was the labeled game and not the generic WC Semi final title. This is the shit that is annoying about NBC running the games. In most cases, the Direct TV DVR is smart enough to find an alternate channel when the preceding game runs late, which is pretty cool. But I got hosed tonight and can't watch the game until the morning. Now that they've won twice this way, I'm paranoid to watch the game live on Wed!

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