teuvowatch

So the Teuvo thing is probably overdoing it a lot of bit, but the outlook tonight as opposed to the afternoon the Blackhawks beat the Bruins back in January is astoundingly different, isn’t it? It’s not that the Blackhawks aren’t still a very serious threat to win the Stanley Cup, but they’re now facing the very real possibility of having to march through Colorado, St. Louis and either San Jose or Anaheim without home ice in any series. Sure, the playoffs were always going to be a hideous slog no matter where they finished, but going on the road for the duration seems like a tall order for even the best of teams. Prior to the Kings (who won it all) in 2011-2012, six teams have advanced to the Stanley Cup finals without having home ice through the playoffs: the 1980-1981 North Stars, 1990-1991 North Stars, 1993-1994 Canucks, 2002-2003 Ducks, 2005-2006 Oilers and the 2009-2010 Flyers. None of those teams went on to win the Stanley Cup. The point is not to dampen your enthusiasm about the Blackhawks this year, but it’s become apparent that the Blues are out of reach and the mission is to avoid opening up on the road against Colorado. Who knows what will happen out in the Pacific, but the Sharks and Ducks would open at home against the Hawks in the Western Conference Finals if the season ended today and the Hawks advanced that far. The Avs lost tonight and share 93 points with the Blackhawks, but they remain ahead in the standings due to their five additional regulation victories. Each team has thirteen games remaining. Fun!

Oh right, the game tonight. The Blackhawks appeared to be on their way throwing the Flyers another beating similar to the one they handed them in December, scoring two goals in the opening four minutes, with goals coming from Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith. However, Scott Hartnell would add two of his own and the contest would advance all the way to the overtime with the teams tied 2-2. The second and third period of this mostly forgettable game featured Bryan Bickell absolutely tagging Wayne Simmonds in the best fight we’ve around here in a long while, a string of ridiculously stupid Blackhawks penalties in the third period, and what felt like at least fifty couldn’t miss Philadelphia chances. Antti Raanta made a few sharp stops and certainly can’t be blamed for the first Hartnell goal, but he did’t exactly reassure anyone tonight out there. In overtime, Claude Giroux beat Raanta with a nifty wrist shot over his blocker to secure two points for the Flyers, who are on a real nice little tear right now in the Metro.

The Hawks won’t be able to dwell on this very long one, so we won’t either. The NHL best St. Louis Blues come to United Center tomorrow night. Watch with a friend for comfort.

Just a few things:

* The inability to strike in overtime is starting to feel similar to the 2011-2012 season when the Blackhawks couldn’t pitch a shutout. In my opinion, the situation this year is for more annoying. The 2000-2001 Wild and Panthers were the last two teams to go the full 82 games without getting a winner in extra time.

* Give Claude Giroux some credit for using DK2 perfectly as a screen on his OT goal. I’m still amazed he didn’t make Team Canada.

* I didn’t see Peter Regin in the second period and he played only 5 minutes. It’s been said that first impressions are huge with Joel Quenneville. Let’s hope Regin isn’t digging a hole that he can’t climb out of because the Hawks literally can’t afford to have another guy in Q’s doghouse.

* David Rundblad: where is he? #TrueDetective

* It’s good that Kris Versteeg can play up and down the lineup, because the Blackhawks would be screwed if they relied to provide depth scoring. Wait, they do?

* Andrew Shaw had the most Andrew Shaw night ever with a goal, a horrible giveaway and a terrible penalty. At least he’s noticeable again?

* We’re podcasting on Friday night. It’s been awhile and we’ve much to discuss.