The boys pulled it off again! The Blackhawks have come back from a 3-1 deficit and have forced a Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings.
Tonight’s game was intense and energetic, there was a sense of urgency and purpose and some real confidence in their game! It helped that for what seemed like the first time all series long, the Hawks were getting a few lucky bounces and had some right place, right time kinds of passes and interceptions but what made the difference was what they did with the puck off those lucky bounces. Even more, they put the puck on net! There was still some dump and chase going on but the puck was being shot at Howard from the blue line a heck of a lot more tonight and that is what creates second chance opportunities.
Crawford was also solid in net for the Hawks. So many times I caught myself holding my breath and praying that he would make a clutch play to hold the lead and shot after shot he was there. Yes, he let a couple through but that first goal was just a lucky rebound for Eaves. He just happened to be in the perfect spot to put that puck over Crawford’s glove. Crawford stopped 35 of Detroit’s 38 shots on goal and ended the night with a .921 save percentage. ANYONE that wants to doubt Crawford’s talent between the pipes seriously needs to go back and re-watch tonight’s game.
To anyone who may have thought that Detroit is the better team, I want you to think about this….Detroit has played a consistent game all series long. Even when they were down 4-2 tonight they never changed their game. They were still aggressive, making good passes and getting shots on net. The difference was the way the Blackhawks stepped up to make plays. The reason the Hawks won tonight was not because Detroit played worse then they have been, it was because the Hawks played better. I mentioned how there seemed to be a spark in the second period of game 5 where they seemed to get back on track and started playing their game again. The Hawks were controlling the tempo and were communicating and anticipating on the ice and that carried over into tonight’s game. It also didn’t hurt to have Frolik score that amazing insurance goal on Howard’s glove side, which is almost impossible to do! There was chemistry in all four lines tonight and the defense really showed up to play as well. Keith and Seabrook actually looked like their old selves on the ice! Keith was bringing the puck up the ice through the neutral zone and occasionally taking a shot on goal. That is something the Hawks have definitely been missing since the 2010 season and hopefully they can find a way to re-energize that offensive contribution they used to get from the defensive lines, particularly the Keith-Seabrook combo.
So now the focus is on Game 7. It is going to be an incredible game. The last time these two teams will face off against each other. I guarantee it is going to be a full on battle. Tensions will be at their peak. However, all the pressure is on the Hawks. Detroit has made it farther in this postseason than they were ever expected to. The Blackhawks have been a favorite from early in the season to be competing in the finals for the Cup. They are going to have to come prepared Wednesday night because Detroit is going to bring everything they’ve got, they’ve got nothing to lose.
So as a fan, we talked about this, stay positive, support your team and believe. Trust that the Hawks will be focused, confident and hungry for a Game 7 victory and end this long-standing rivalry the way it should be, raising their sticks at center ice with the win.