After the game last night I had so much I wanted to talk about while trying to come down off my emotional roller coaster I feel we were all put through so I thought it would be best to take a day and just collect my thoughts and hit some of the key points. So here they are:
1. That game was more complicated than an unhealthy relationship crammed into 65 minutes.
When the game started, the Hawks seemed focused and on top of their game. They were making passes and taking shots on net and everything just seemed to be clicking. Then out of nowhere they started playing on their heels and went on the defense. They were doing the dump and chase without much of the chase and couldn’t seem to get the puck through the neutral ice to save their lives. Things picked up again, the Hawks got aggressive and they increased the pace. Then starting the third on a very short power play I thought they would hold momentum and finish the game strong but they gave up a quick goal to even things up. Then came the go ahead goal that was waved off by the official with less than two minutes to go. So regulation ended with a 1-1 tie, just like the Hawks have seen so many other times this season. Both sides were playing great at the start of OT, it really was going to come down to who slipped up first. After a lot of strong shots on goal from both sides, Seabrook carries the puck across the blue line and takes a shot that somehow finds a way over Howard’s glove. Game over.
2. The Shaw line did far more than any other line on the ice.
Since the start of the season, Shaw and Bickell seemed to have a strong chemistry on the ice that proved to be a confidence boost for both. Even when Coach Q would change up the lines, they both had a strong presence on their lines and continued to make things happen. Last night for the majority of the game Shaw seemed to be at the center of every scrum and every major opportunity on net. While Kane and Hossa have been primarily invisible this post season and Toews is just starting to step up, Bickell, Shaw and Saad have been making things happen. With more experience, especially postseason experience, I feel like they are going to continue to have a major impact for this team the rest of this season and hopefully in the future. The organization really needs to recognize what they have in those three and do what they can to lock them up long-term.
3. Everyone needs to stop focusing on the Hjalmarsson goal that didn’t count and start focusing on the Seabrook goal that kept the Hawks in the fight for the Cup!
Everyone knows that the Blackhawks were majorly robbed of a regulation win last night. Chicago knows it, Detroit knows it and Stephen Walkom knows it. Not only was there no coincidental penalty since Saad did nothing wrong, but the scrum had no effect on what was unfolding in the Red Wings’ zone. If there was going to be a penalty, it should have been a delayed penalty on Quincey. However, had that hit happened against the glass instead of at the Wings’ bench it would have been a clean hit. It just looked a lot worse because Saad was at a 90 degree angle over the board. Not to mention, had Hjalmarsson not hit that shot, everyone would have been screaming for that to be a penalty. Unfortunately that wasn’t a call that could be corrected. I was happy to see that the Hawks didn’t let their emotions take over at that time. They remained level headed and didn’t take any stupid penalties. They seemed confident going into the OT and made something happen and proved that they were the better team.
I really don’t think there could have been a better end to that rivalry. As frustrating as that waved off goal was, it lead to an emotional, stressful, exciting overtime victory. Two teams fought so hard for victory that 60 minutes wasn’t enough. Both teams are well coached and well matched. Ultimately the Blackhawks proved themselves to be the better team and I’m sure it’s a Game 7 Hawks and Wings fans alike will remember for a very long time.
So now it’s time to focus on LA. The Hawks only have a couple days to rest up and get to work on home ice again. Chicago and LA haven’t seen much of each other this season but both teams have really strong goalies. Crawford has been extremely strong between the pipes. He’s really seeing the puck and anticipating shots. Quick has been equally strong this postseason. Not to mention the Kings are defending Stanley Cup champions so they will be hungry for a repeat. It’ll be another great series to watch and hopefully the Blackhawks will come out on top.