Chicago Blackhawks

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Looking back at game 4, Chicago vs Sharks - a clean sweep

Game 4 of the Blackhawks vs Sharks game was incredible on so many levels, the best of which was that the game sealed the deal - with a sweep, no less - that would send the Hawks to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1992. The youngest of the Blackhawks stars, Patrick Kane, wasn't even in kindergarden yet the last time that the Hawks got a good look at the spotlight. As a long-time fan (11 years and counting) of the Blackhawks, I felt fortunate to go to a decent amount of games this year, especially during the playoffs. Round 3, Game 4, is a game that will remain in my memory a long, long time. Going into the game, everybody seemed to feel the Blackhawks would sweep the Sh...

Blackhawks up 3-0 in series over Sharks; Niemi posts another 44-save win

The questions loomed large again on Friday night: Could the Blackhawks play the same game at home that they have been playing so great on the road? Could they stretch the 2-0 lead into 3-0? How much of a factor would the UC home crowd be? Could the Sharks come up with a win to put themselves back into the running? No matter what happens in this series, this much is true: the San Jose Sharks have not choked. Any writers suggesting otherwise clearly hasn't been watching this series. No - in fact, the San Jose Sharks have given the Hawks a serious battle throughout the series, and games 1 and 3 certainly could've gone either way - if it wasn't for a rookie goaltender from Finland who has sh...

Chicago Blackhawks head back to the UC with a 2-0 edge over the San Jose Sharks

The question going into the third round for the Western Conference final was who was going to come out on top after the first two games: the Chicago Blackhawks, with their outstanding record in playoffs road wins, or the San Jose Sharks, defending an at-home record? Or would they split the opening two games? We know the answer now, of course: the Blackhawks now lead the series 2-0 and are headed back to the UC in Chicago for game 3 on Friday night. Sunday's game was all that a fan could want out of a playoff game. It was fast-paced, strong, thrilling; a tight 2-1 victory, with a standout performance by the goalies at both end of the ice. But it was Tuesday's game that was a little more...

Antti Niemi shows why he's the "Finnish Fortress", makes 44 saves in 2-1 win over Sharks in game 1

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...

Blackhawks win 5-1 over Vancouver to advance to the third round; will face San Jose

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...

Canucks come out strong to survive in the series 3-2; Hawks lose 1-4 at the UC

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...

Blackhawks leads series 3-1 after game four win vs Vancouver; Toews earns 1st career hat trick

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...

Blackhawks win 5-2 to make series with the Canucks 2-1 on the road; Byfuglien scores hat trick

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...

After a shaky start, Chicago rouses to take Game 2

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...