From start to finish, it was the kind of exciting, heart-stopping, high-pressure hockey game that you want to see in the playoffs. Ultimately, however, the Antti Niemi stopped 44 of 45 shots for a .978 save percentage, and the Blackhawks scored twice to win over the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, in the opening game of the Western Conference final series.
It took 11:19 in the first period until somebody scored - Jason Demers of the Sharks, on the second San Jose power play, slapped one that appeared to hit Duncan Keith in the sleeve or hip, and it spun off the top pipe into the net behind Antti Niemi. Despite a few near-whoops moments in his efforts to play the puck behind the net, Niemi otherwise...
On the anniversary of the Hawks eliminating the Canucks out of the second round, the Blackhawks came to Vancouver and did the same thing again, on the road.
The opening period was a goalie clinic, with both teams working hard and fast on the ice, shots on goal flying, and both teams coming out with 0-0 at the end of the first. Antti Niemi of the Blackhawks and Roberto Luongo of the Canucks came out with nearly even SOGs - 13 and 12, respectively.
The edge on defense went to the Hawks, who were able to scoop out a save when Niemi was out of position after a sliding save. At 8:37 through the first, Troy Brouwer took the first penalty of the night - high sticking; but the Canucks couldn't...
With shades of game 1 in tonight's game, and looking like the opposite of games 3 and 4, the Blackhawks lost 1-4 to the Vancouver Canucks at home in the United Center to make the series 3-2. Now the series goes back to Vancouver for game six.
Tonight, there were a lot of angry fans up in the 300s. The difference between fans being angry and being disappointed is simple enough: the team has to show hustle and a full team effort on the ice. A loss is easier to swallow if you feel the home team brought their "A" game.
They certainly had plenty to upset about. If your team is 3-1 and can clinch the series with the next game, you expect that team to give it their all, play the type of gam...
Perhaps this game's most telling moment didn't come during the game, but in the post-game interviews when Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault, when asked if he felt Roberto Luongo was "off his game", threw his team's Captain/goalie under the bus with the very firm comment, "I think right now he's the second-best goaltender on the ice."
Vigneault immediately added, "He can be better. And he will be better."
But how much more time does Luongo have to be better? Is Vigneault referring to what remains of the series, or did he simply realize what came out of his mouth and realize mid-sentence what he'd just done?
It started in the first half minute of the game, as Chicago defenseman Bre...
Tonight's game wasn't pretty - not by a long shot. It was chippy, it was pushy, it was high-pressured, there was trash-talking and fan-taunting, several questionable ref calls (and non-calls), and late in the game there was a multi-player fisticuffs around the Blackhawks box that sent Dave Bolland of the Blackhawks and Alexandre Burrow of the Canucks to their respective locker rooms early.
Oh, yeah - and the Blackhawks packed away game three, 5-2, on the road, with Dustin Byfuglien scoring a hat trick.
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN scoring a hat trick? Yes, you're reading that right.
The Blackhawks scored first (Versteeg) - and second (Byfuglien) - even though the Canucks pounded Blackhawks goal...
Five minutes into Game 2, Chicago Blackhawks fans were already gnashing their teeth and cursing the hockey gods that their beloved team could be already be blowing it. The Vancouver Canucks had already scored twice (Mason Raymond, Mikeal Samuelsson) in the first five minutes, with hard scrambles at the net, and with the way the Blackhawks were playing, it was like watching a JV team trying to keep up with the '80 Russian Olympic team.
The United Center crowd was displeased, too - booing the home team after the second goal was stuck in the net, and the Canucks led, 0-2.
But it was the second goal seemed to be the kick in the pants that the team clearly needed.
Blackhawks goalie Ant...
The Roberto Luongo we saw in the 2010 Olympics showed up last night.
Unfortunately, so did the pre-redemption Brent Sopel, and it's questionable whether the entire Blackhawks team showed up for the second period.
In a show that has become uncomfortably familiar to Blackhawks fans this season, the Hawks started off the game strong, faltered in the middle, and then resurged late in the game - but by then, it was too little, too late.
You can argue whether or not Patrick Sharp was screening Antti Niemi on the first Canucks goal; ultimately, it doesn't matter, because it was a goal. I'm a big fan of Niemi, but Game 1 just wasn't his night.
Unrest in the stands was high as the ga...
According to both Tim Samson of the Chicago Daily Herald, as well as Hendricks Hockey, last night could have very well been Cristobal Huet's final game as a Chicago Blackhawks.
Allowing a whopping 7 goals on 27 shots, Huet was the main catalyst behind the drubbing of the Hawks by a team that's already been eliminated from playoff contention, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Hawks lost the game by a final score of 8-3, but oddly enough, still managed to clinch a playoff berth thanks to the 99 points they've already accumulated as well as the results from around the conference last night.
There have been rumors that Hawks GM Stan Bowman would ship Huet and his monstrous contract off to...
James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail is reporting that Nick Boynton has been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations from the Anaheim Ducks.
Boynton will be immediately sent to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. The former 1st round pick defenseman has 1 goal and 6 assists in 42 games with the Ducks, as well as 4 assists in 9 games with the Manitoba Moose.
More to come.