Both teams playing in Vancouver tonight already had punched their tickets to the playoffs, but the Blackhawks had an eye on the Presidents' Trophy, and the Canucks wanted to ensure they locked up the Pacific division.
But between the two teams, the Blackhawks looked like they were asleep at the wheel, aside from Corey Crawford, who was doing his best to carry the game. Coach Quenneville's random line generator was set to "liquify", and line combinations changed regularly though the game.
The Canucks put a lot of pressure on early, limiting Chicago to mostly one-and-done shots in the first. Niklas Hjalmarsson took a charging penalty for a hit on one ...
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks renew one the National Hockey League’s most bitter rivalries. This game could be a Western Conference finals preview.
The Blackhawks are coming off of a shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. The Canucks come off of a shootout win of their own over the Detroit Red Wings. It’s going to be weird if Detroit doesn’t make the playoffs. That’s another blog for another day.
Both teams are in the NHL’s top ten in penalty kill percentage. The Blackhawks check in at number four while Vancouver checks in at number seven.
Coming into this game the Blackhawks had absolutely nothing to play for other than their pride and improving themselves and continuing a seven game winning streak. The Phoenix Coyotes on the other hand were fighting for their playoff lives and had everything to play for.
The Blackhawks have to be commended for their character and focus. Everyone knows these games mean nothing to them and are really just glorified practices since they clinched their division and conference. They still managed to gain a point and come from behind to tie the game up and push the game to overtime and eventually the shoot out.
Friday night's game was not the Blackhawks' best - they coughed up 4 goals against the offensively-challenged Nashville (29th in league - average 2.27 goals/game). Chicago is on their way to their first Presidents' Trophy since 1991, and the Predators have already been eliminated.
Five of Chicago's games have come against the Predators this season, and the Blackhawks swept the Nashville series, including two shutouts against them.
At the end of the night, it was a familiar scenario: Marian Hossa putting in the overtime winner to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 win, making long-time fans remember a certain first-round game vs the Preds back in 2010.
Five different Blackhawks players scored, including Andrew Shaw with the game-winner, in a 5-2 Chicago victory over the Dallas Stars Monday night.
The Blackhawks (33-5-4) win was their third over Dallas (21-18-3) this year, sweeping the season series. The win was also Chicago’s sixth straight and moved them 11 points ahead of the idle Anaheim Ducks for the top spot in the Western Conference.
While Chicago was cementing its playoff position, Dallas was left wanting. The loss kept the Stars two points back of Detroit for the eighth playoff spot in the West, each team with just six games remaining. Columbus also sits two points ahead of Dallas, albeit with only...
The Central Division Champion Chicago Blackhawks are well settled into the top seed in Western Conference with a 9 point lead and game in hand over the Anaheim Ducks, but the Dallas Stars are far from through with their push for the playoffs.
As the Blackhawks faced another division opponent and another team desperate for points to make the playoffs, it was the Hawks that remained standing at the bell. Coming into the game it was the St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott who was coming into the game with a shutout streak but the Hawks not only answered they pitched a shutout for themselves.
Corey Crawford gets the shutout but the entire team played solid defense in front of him. It’s not that the Hawks didn’t make mistakes it’s that they covered for each other when they got in trouble and continue to improve their team game that is impressive.