Not many teams win games when allowing 46 shots on goal. In fact, teams giving up at least that many shots have gone 4-8 this season.
The Blackhawks allowed 21 shots in Philadelphia’s three-goal second period alone, then were done in by Patrick Kane’s late high-sticking penalty as JVR netted the game-winner with 33 seconds left in regulation to beat the ‘Hawks 5-4 on Thursday night.
The 46 shots on goal were the most the Blackhawks have given up since allowing 51 to Columbus on Nov. 1, 2008.
The third-period rally was a hell of a lot of fun though, wasn’t it? Brent Seabrook scored just as the ‘Hawks came back to full strength, then Kaner potted one 25 seconds later to tie it up.
For all the bullshit that went on in the second period, the Blackhawks were on the verge of earning at least a point against a top team on the road without playing their best hockey – and with a couple regulars missing. While I know I’m trying to find a silver lining – despite knowing the ‘Hawks need to play a full 60 and could use some blue-line help – I’d rather look at it this way rather than posting on Twitter how the Blackhawks need to trade Kane for taking that penalty. And yes, there were many tweets like that after the game.
Speaking of the regulars being out, Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw played some solid hockey. Again, I’m not going to pay for hookers for them quite yet, but the early results are nice so far.
Hayes played on the most solid line of the night with Jamal Mayers and Michael Frolik, scoring on a great hustle play after taking a beautiful pass from Mayers.
Shaw’s NHL debut was nothing if not exciting. Great chance on his first shift, dropped the gloves early, got bloodied to all hell and had his sweater torn, then came back with a ton of stitches to score his first goal. Gotta give it to the kid for a solid night. No fear.
Boxing is a bit more wordy tonight, so I’m going to go to bed and let that take over….
Without a trace. The NHL tried and failed, the Hockey Hall of Fame guys scoured the arena until the wee hours of the morning and came up empty, even the FBI were finally called in months after the confetti was cleaned up from Michigan Avenue. No dice.
The whereabouts of the puck that Patrick Kane put between the legs of Michael Leighton in overtime of Game 6 of to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Chicago may never be officially known. But I think we all suspect it’s in Chris Pronger’s rec room. And now that hamster-fucking rectal wart is out for the season with a concussion.
Karma is a bitch, isn’t it, Chrissy?
Has it really been seven months?
Seven months and twelve days, to be exact. The rosters have changed somewhat, the puck is still missing, and Chris Pronger is still a consummate fucktard. Philadelphia still has goaltending problems, Chicago is still relying on a rookie netminder to carry the load, and I think we’ll see later today that these two teams still hate each other’s living guts.
Following Game 4, myself and McClure of Second City Hockey discussed his optimism and my pessimism for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Final. It ended with McClure giving me a hug.
I’m still not in a good frame of mind. I’ve come to realize fans in Chicago either overreact or don’t react enough when it comes to sports. There’s no in between. Everyone has gone from, “Eh, we’re going to sweep this series and the Flyers have no chance,” to, “OMFG what are we gonna do? It’s over. It’s over! IT’S OVER!”
Granted, I’m leaning more on the side that we’re in trouble. Tell me all you want about how history is on the side of the team which takes a 2-0 series lead. But if you’re referencing that, you’re forgetting 41 of the last 45 teams which has won Game 4 ended up hoisting the Cup. History isn’t on our side anymore.
Luckily, the Blackhawks and Flyers have to play hockey and neither team will win the Cup because of a penmanship contest on paper. Now, I have both good news and bad news leading up to Game 5.
THE GOOD NEWS
The Blackhawks are yet to play their best game.
One of the most prolific offenses in the NHL has been pretty much strapped, despite Game 1′s six-goal outburst. Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith have played tremendous on D through the first four games, but the blue-line unit as a whole has been less than spectacular. Antti Niemi has played well, but he also hasn’t been “Sharks” good. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien haven’t done close to what we — and they — expected.
Why is this good? Hopefully it means the best game is coming, the stellar play of Marian Hossa in this series will be matched by everyone and the ‘Hawks will show us the team we’ve known and loved throughout the season and playoffs. It has to happen, right?
THE BAD NEWS
The Blackhawks are yet to play their best game.
Nope, that’s not a copy-and-paste fail. The good news and bad news are both the same. Why is this bad? Well, we’re four games into the biggest playoff series for this franchise since 1992, it’s the Stanley Cup Final and the Blackhawks are by far the more talented team. The fact the Blackhawks are yet to show the Flyers their best game is concerning.
The Blackhawks served up Game 3 to the Flyers with poor decisions and giveaways. Bounces didn’t go their way. It seemed as if each loose puck ended up on the stick of a Flyer. My thought has always been bounces go a certain way for one reason — the team receiving those bounces takes the luck factor out of it. While the Blackhawks played the overall better game in Game 3, Philadelphia skaters were in the right place at the right time and Michael Leighton was in the position he needed to be more often than not.
The penalty disparity in this series is absolutely atrocious and each referee should be ashamed of himself. Friday night’s 5-on-3 advantage not withstanding, Philadelphia has received nearly every single call in this series. How Chris Pronger has only been in the box once through four games is reason enough to ban these crews from refereeing another Stanley Cup Final for their careers. I hate to use the officiating as an excuse, but when I have Flyers fans telling me the refs have given Philadelphia the upper hand in this series I know there’s validity to what I’m saying.
LINE CHANGES APLENTY?
Who knows. Q-Stache can be creative, and we all haven’t been a fan of his panic-switch changes. However, Justin Bourne put together a good read on how changes have a positive influence on the mindset of a player and how it could benefit the ‘Hawks. Check it out.
Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear whichever team wins Game 5 will win the Cup. I firmly believe this series ends in Philly on Tuesday night. The problem? I’m not sure if it’ll be Toews or Mike Richards hoisting the Cup.
Puck drop is 7 p.m. CST from the United Center. Time to get nasty.
Remind a Philadelphia Flyer he’s two losses from the golf course and you may hear him respond casually, “Yeah, and we’re four WINS away from it, too.”
No matter their 0-2 deficit to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, the Flyers seem at peace with their play and stance in the series. They’ve been down before, picked themselves back up and marched through the Eastern Conference and into the finals. Now on hockey’s biggest stage, the Flyers don’t seem to mind the curtain could be drawn in 120 short minutes.
Are the Flyers simply playing opossum, hiding frustration and disappointment waiting to pounce tonight in Game 3? Or is it fact Philadelphia is immune to such situations?
Peter Laviolette and the Flyers have displayed the laid-back approach before, acting relaxed in the face of playoff adversity. Maybe it’s all about image. But with the amount of smirking, joking and shrugging done publicly, any hockey mind merits the right to wonder when Philadelphia’s sense of urgency kicks in.
If it’s all an act, Chris Pronger plays the role of First Star Jackass to perfection. He’s cross-checked and jabbered his way through the first two games of the finals and trashed every question from the media with a smug answer. Pronger’s latest spat with Ben Eager on the surface seems childish. Who takes a puck hoping the other team will be upset?
Maybe Pronger continues to bury his frustrations with small-minded antics in hopes of baiting the Blackhawks into stupid hockey. Or, maybe the guy is just trying to have a little fun and take the pressure off his teammates by deterring the media attention from them.
Whatever the case, the Flyers seem to be eating it up and following his lead. Laviolette acts ignorant to each question asked, and Mike Richards did so much smiling at yesterday’s press conference you’d think he was at a photo shoot. And I’m sure if Dan Carcillo had a soul, he’d muster a toothless smile as well.
The Flyers seem to hold hope of lulling the Blackhawks into their relaxed state of mind and getting the ‘Hawks to sit and bask in a 2-0 series lead heading into a raucous Philadelphia crowd. Rather, the Flyers may be attempting to confuse the ‘Hawks into wondering how a team facing such a deficit isn’t showing more desperation.
The Blackhawks don’t seem fazed, nor do the Flyers seem to be tipping their hand anytime soon. The starring contest continues in Game 3 tonight at 7 p.m. CST at the Wachovia Center.
Let’s see who flinches first.
Two. For the first time since 1971, the Blackhawks are two wins away from bringing the Stanley Cup back to Chicago. While the ‘Hawks sure as hell haven’t won a damn thing yet, the feeling is incredible.
Analyze Game 1 and 2 all you want, but once the final horn sounds the only thing that counts is the scoreboard. The Flyers have scored six goals in the series, but have zero wins to show for it. A couple of “One Goal” games have the Blackhawks in control heading to Philadelphia. In fact, the ‘Hawks are coincidentally 5-0 in “One Goal” games in the 2010 playoffs. That’s what matters.
Here’s what I’ve got…
– Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien all missed the score sheet again tonight. You know who cares? Not this guy. While I’m a tad vexed Toews went 13 straight games with a point but is scoreless for the first two games, Toews doesn’t have to carry this team every single night. If the only thing Toews lifts when this series ends is 35 points of silver, I’m a happy man.
– I watched Game 1 with a bunch of Red Wings fans, then listened to their bitterness regarding Marian Hossa. I heard for roughly an hour how Hossa was brought into Detroit last season to specifically score goals against Pittsburgh in the Cup finals — something he didn’t do. Now, they all hate Hossa and placed a great deal of blame upon him for the Red Wings losing to the Penguins.
Needless to say, it was complete justification Hossa got on the board tonight with his first goal and third point of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. It’s almost as if Hossa woke up in the middle of the night and knew some bitter Wings fans were talking shit and said to himself, “That’s it, I’m fucking scoring in Game 2.”
Done and done.
– Toews came into the series as the consensus leader for the Conn Smythe. If Antti Niemi continues to put in performances like Game 2′s 33-save gem, the Finn may be getting some hardware. Giving up five goals in Game 1 wasn’t ideal, but he bounced back with some key saves and withstood the Flyers’ furious comeback attempt Monday in the third period. The Blackhawks once again played well in front of him, but Niemi is doing a hell of a lot all by himself in these playoffs.
– Finally, after nearly 75 minutes of apparently PERFECT hockey, Philadelphia got whistled for a penalty with 5:12 left in the first period which drew sarcastic cheers from the crowd at the UC. In Game 1, the Flyers were the first team since Boston in 1953 to play a flawless Stanley Cup game.
– Speaking of penalties, I want to know how Chris Pronger hasn’t been called for shit through these first two games. He even broke Byfuglien’s stick while battling him for position in front of the net tonight, and got away with it. He continuously cross-checks the shit out of everyone within site of him. I hope he rots in hell.
– Dan Carcillo and his so-called intangibles were supposed to make a difference tonight. The best thing he did all night? He checked the shit out of Jeff Carter. Carter plays for the Flyers. Nice job, dickweed.
– I’ll say it: Ben Eager has had a hell of a playoff run. He takes a lot of shit for being a bonehead half the time, but no one can ever question the kid’s effort. After scoring his goal in the second period, 28 seconds after Hossa’s, the excitement he displayed is what the Cup finals are all about. However, if I have to hear one more time how he used to play for the Flyers, I’m going to strangle myself. Taking it further, if I have to hear one more dipshit reporter ask him what it’s like to play against the Flyers in the Cup finals and/or have someone ask him what it’s like to score a goal against his former team, I’m going to hang myself with dental floss.
– Other than getting faked out of his strap at one point, Brent Sopel played a heck of a game tonight. He made some nice checks, moved the puck fairly well and got a few more bruises by blocking shots. Like Eager, he takes a lot of shit. Overall, Sopel’s been a rock in these playoffs.
– Chicago is buzzing with this series lead, and rightfully so. But also acknowledge what I said before the series started: The ‘Hawks will win this series, but it won’t be easy. Philadelphia has proved it can compete in this series and won’t be pushovers like 80 percent of the hockey world thought. The Flyers don’t seem all that concerned with improving their play heading into Game 3. Both of these games could’ve gone either way with a couple bounces.
– With all that being said the Flyers should probably consider winning Game 3, or else they’re pretty much: