Hawks win fifth longest overtime game in cup history 4-3.

I can say without a doubt, that was just about the most incredible/nerve wracking game I have ever watched. Though I thought the Hawks were able to do exactly what they wanted to, I sort of felt the same way for the Bruins and felt that the Hawks kinda stole one. This is not to say they didn't work their ass off or that they didn't deserve a break, but I also thought the Bruins sat back a little and let them back into it. For once, I really don't have any complaints about the officiating, which in and of itself is kind of an amazing thing. So, Since it's only 10:30 pm here in Vegas, here is some recap and observations.

For the first period and really the majority of the game, I thought the Hawks were able to accomplish the goal of not letting the Bruins pin them in on the forecheck. It seemed kinda like Boston could forecheck, or attack the net, but not do both. Still, after the Hawks had done really well getting the puck out of the zone, Hammer angled his way toward Crawford's left and lined up Kreji for a hit as he tried to carry the puck behind the net. For some reason, Oduya followed him behind the net and eventually, Lucic wound up completely uncovered between Crow and the point and ripped a really nice shot. Can't blame Crow on that and I kinda thought Sharp should have been paying a little better attention there. After that goal, there wasn't anything more in the first and both teams probably had a decent idea of what they were up against.

Second period, the Bruins open the scoring just a minute in when Lucic would score again on a goal Crawford should have had. A small blip in an otherwise awesome night. Though the Bruins probably had a little more control of this period, Hossa took the puck of the left boards and fed a slow moving pass to Saad who ripped a wicked wrist shot. Again, this was a goal the Rask had no chance of stopping. After a dreadful 5-3 PP debacle, the Hawks got another chance on the PP that produced some chances, but no twine. In the third, The Bruins finally got a PP of their own and managed to score in less then 20 seconds. Ouch. At that point, I honestly believed the game was over. However, just a few minutes later, rookie Krug attempted to put a cross ice pass through the Indian head and it was picked off at the blue line and bounced to the boards to Shaw who started to skate it down. Just when it looked like he was going to be pinched off, he fed a real nice skip pass to a streaking Bolland who blasted it past Rask. Again, Rask had no chance. Finally, on the third goal, Johnny Oduya took a seeing eye shot from the point that took a very fortunate bounce off the D man skate and right into the net. Three goals, none of which were really savable by Rask. More on that later.

After that, it was almost another full hockey game before we would see another goal. Once the overtimes hit, both teams truly reverted to safe mode and stuck to what they knew without taking too many chances. Both teams had great scoring chances and I would even say that Boston's were better than the Hawks. The Hawks had the puck a lot but honestly, I was really starting to feel like Boston was just letting them have it as long as they weren't driving the middle, which they weren't doing. Tons of one and dones and I thought the Bruins were just letting the Hawks punch themselves out. 12 minutes in the third, however, Rozsival wristed a shot from the point that first hit Bolland and then Shaw on its way into the net. 4 goals, none of which could be stopped by Rask. Strange as this will sound, I think Crawford out played Rask as the chances against him were much tougher. It was not his best game, and he was fighting the puck at some points, but he still made some really big saves. Really big. Ugly or not, one down, three to go.

Observations-
In some ways, both teams got to play to their strengths. The Hawks were able to move the puck out of the zone well, but then got stymied by the Bruins who absolutely shut down the house all night. Rask was making some good saves, but the team in front of him was really cutting down a lot of shots and kept the Hawks to the outside a lot. When there was a Hawk in the crease and a pass came through, it was typically bouncing and never got corralled. After the game, Rask called out his team and said, “We had the game. “We were up, 3-1, in the third and then a terrible turnover leads to a second goal, and a tough bounce leads to a tying goal and we just gave it away. We’ve got to be better than that." Can't really argue with him,  but when the guys in front of you block 40 shots, you might want to keep a handle on saying stuff like that.

The Hawks are only going to beat Rask with shots he never sees and that's a harsh reality. If they can't unleash a bang bang play going side to side, they are going to have a tough time. Still, after only letting the Pens score two, this has to be in the Bruin's head a bit that the Hawks put up 4. Also, when the Bruins had the Hawks on the rope for the night, they couldn't put them away and I think that is going to haunt them too. For the Hawks, I think they can be proud of their effort and ability to AGAIN come from behind. What worries me some, however, is that the Bruins were able to wait back, defend the house and then counter punch. I don't fully believe the Bruins intend to let the Hawks keep cycling the puck in the corner, but in the overtimes, I kept thinking the Hawks were just cycling and never really getting the puck into good position to score. Honestly, I'm not sure either team really needs to make a substantial change in the way they play.

Q. Something here for everyone to chew on. While I think his line juggling did pay off intra game, I think it also contributed to the too many men calls. As for the Bollig v Stalberg saga, Bollig came in and played pretty solid fourth line minutes and Q went to him in overtime to help eat minutes and I thought he did just fine.  This doesn't make him a better player then Stalberg. But for last night, at least, it made him a player who went out and performed a role very well. I wouldn't be unhappy to see Stals get some ice time now to help add punch when guys are fatigued, but I was happy with what Bollig did. BTW, is that a beard made for selling Falafal or what? The PP is beyond F'n horrible. If the Hawks could actually score on the PP, they would be much tougher to beat. On the other hand, the refs weren't calling a lot and I was actually pretty surprised that the Bruins played a pretty straightforward game. Not a ton of after whistle crap, and no Marchand/Sedin face punching. Given the parity here, I think there is a lot of respect between these two teams for what they can do if not for each other. BTW, I don't know if Q actually saw something in practice or not, but for last night at least, Bolland was close to being Bolland and that line was rocking.

Final note about Crow and Rask. Crow gave up a bad one tonight, fought the puck, but still, IMO, made a lot more tougher saves then Rask did. The Bruins blocked a lot of shots (40 to the Hawks 23), they kept guys from crashing the crease, and they pushed the Hawks into taking a lot of low probability shott. The hawks goals made it clear you will not beat him when he sees the puck. Do the Hawks have enough in the tank to pay like this every night? That remains to be seen. As for Crow, he will likely continue to make good saves, but will be reliant on his D to help out with clearing rebounds. The Hawks caught some very good luck tonight and will have to tighten up some more. Still, any win is a win closer.

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  • Awesome to see two hockey teams just playing their own game at its best. None of the cheap crap like what the Wings did in mauling Toews, etc.

    Lucic is a beast of a player. I haven't heard any update on Horton... that's bad news for Bruins fans.

    Scary to see the 5-on-3 PP go without a shot. I've now become an unhappy fan when I see the refs call a penalty on the opposing team. In fact, shortly before the Bolland goal (I think) there was a trip in the Hawk zone and the fans at the UC were screaming for a penalty on the Bruins -- and I was screaming at the TV, "Don't call a penalty!" Then Bolland scores. You know that goal would have never come if they had gone on the PP.

    None of the analysts for the game talked about Bickell's HUGE hit and takeaway on Seidenberg that helped set up the winning goal. The hit took him right out of the play until the puck was in the net. If Bickell doesn't drill him to the ice, then Shaw probably can't skate so freely in front of the net. Another monster play from Bicks to set up an OT winner.

  • Thanks for the wrap Vegas, that was an exhausting game and I have to say that just watching made this a rough morning to get through.

    You said it, this was a goaltender win, which is actually kind of weird given that the Hawks attempted twice as many shots as the Bruins did heading into OT, and still ended with the vast majority after a not so great 3 OT periods. What has happened to Crawford that has made such a difference in his play? Confidence? Ray Emery? Big time saves last night.

    And with that said, I can't be disappointed in either team's play. That was an epic battle of 2 juggernauts going at it, and in the end, that characteristic of this Hawks team to find ways, and of being so hard to beat, gave them the 1-0 lead in this series.

    The Bruins might be good at winning, but the Hawks are really good at not losing.

    I completely agree with you about the Rask statement. His team plays impeccable defensive positioning. The Bruins tried a little of that trap last night, which was looking bad for the Hawks. I think they played fine in front of him. It's not like the Hawks suck.

    But, I can't say we saw the Hawks play to their strengths, and this would be my ultimate focus as a fan/coach going forward. Before critiquing this though, let's acknowledge how hard the Hawks gave it to the Bruins in a category that the Bruins should dominate in. And, mad props to Bollig for a very hard fought game with 9 hits and 3 shots on net.

    The problem is, the Hawks need to play their own game if they want to win 3 more, and I agree with your statement Vegas, about the Hawks maybe getting a little sloppy because of the shifting, even though some of the changes were the right ones. That first goal against was because Hjalmer was thinking make the hit, before winning the puck. When have you known him to make that mistake? Agreed, Oduya crossing that goal line was the biggest issue with that play, and Sharp being clueless, but the Hawks need to be playing smart before physical. Their defensive zone coverage gets worse with every line shift.

    Bickell's hit at the end was huge as Iplagitr points out, but I also saw Bickell take himself out of the play a couple of times to force a hit that was unnecessary.

    I think that this is why we have such a conflicting view of the game. The Hawks played very hard, but we didn't feel like they controlled most of the game. Shots are one thing, but we all know what taking a bunch of shots did in the Phoenix series of yonder.

    With that said, Oduya had one of his best games besides that mishap. He saved more than enough goals, and scored one to make up for it (and he had 5 hits!). And once again, Shaw, Saad, and Frolik were beyond huge! How does Shaw do it? The world may never know, but that kid deserves his. Yes, we finally got to see a little bit of Dave "fucking" Bolland. I am going to say that the finals finally woke him up.

    Not sure this line switching is a good thing, and we once again saw Kane give a not so great performance as a result. Good thing that 3rd line was a force, or should we just say Shaw at this point, because he was the only consistent player to be on that line now? The 4th line had one of the best shifts of the game too. Still think Stalberg should be in there. They need him through that neutral zone. They need to win that zone.

    I can't even muster the courage to talk about that dreadful power-play. Should have lost them the game. I completely agree with Iplagitr, the Hawks should avoid it. Maybe they need to take a penalty of their own after getting it, huh? They are much better 4 on 4.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    A word on Crawford, I found an excellent podcast of some goalie geek who broke down Crawford and Rask https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/siriusxm-nhl-network-radio/id598845801 if you go the extra point podcast for june 12, it's about half way through. This is really geek stuff. What I found interesting is his take on the "Canadian" style versus the "Finnish" style of goaltending. I didn't realize there was such a philosophical difference. Anyway, considering the Hawks just signed another Finn, this could be kind of interesting. He talks about some specific changes Crawford made early on that he has worked on to correct. I don't know this goalie stuff at all, but it was a pretty cool listen and he also dumped on Fleury for being a head case.

    On Kane, Toews et al, I feel THIS playoff season has ushered in a change where in teams are literally going to play with the intention of making all top line stars cancel each other out. Kane and Toews are not scoring, and neither really are the people shutting them down. I noticed the Bruins pulling the trap too and with all the shot blocking that is going on by forwards and defensemen, I'm worrying that we are entering a new dead puck area. I thought it was col that the last five teams standing in the playoffs were the last five teams to win the cup. However, it also made me think that there are two levels of parity. There is the parity amongst exciting skill teams, and there is parity amongst the other 24 teams or so who either don't draft well or sign players to really shitty contracts.
    For the bottom parity teams to win, trap and choking is how they will stay competitive.

    I hate trap hockey.

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