After a cardiac-arrest inducing final five minutes, the Blackhawks somehow pulled Game 4 out of their rear ends with a huge 2-1 win over the Lightning on Wednesday in the United Center. The series now shifts back to Florida for a pivotal Game 5 Saturday night in Amalie Arena. The Blackhawks found a way to scratch out the win Wednesday night after being dominated for most of the game. Toews finally notched a goal, and Kane hit the scoresheet on Saad’s game-winner in the third. Let’s try to break down this snoozefest turned thriller from Wednesday night…
-I am now finally convinced that God is an ardent Chicago Blackhawks fan, because that final wave in the last few minutes by Tampa was the most unbelievable hockey spectacle I have ever seen. I’m still not sure how Steven Stamkos didn’t score. The Lightning captain missed a wide open net, and was stoned by Crawford from point blank range as well. The Lightning threw the kitchen sink at the Hawks as Chicago held on for dear life. I always say “puck luck” is a major part of any Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Blackhawks were not benefitting from it for 3/4 of this game (Three posts). But in the final few minutes the Hawks had all the luck, and sometimes I’d rather be lucky than good.
-Corey Crawford showed up, as I expected he would. Killorn’s goal was the result of a filthy pass from behind the net by Filppula, and a breakdown in coverage by TVR. No way you can pin that on Crawford. The rest of the way though he stood tall, stopping 24 of 25 Lightning shots, most importantly in the final few minutes. This is the Corey Crawford we all know and love. Hopefully it translates into Game 5 on the road.
-Brandon Saad is really, really, really good at hockey. Pay that man at all costs.
-Agreeing with Versteeg over Bickell makes me uneasy, but what else is Q left with? Carcillo? (Jokes)
-I was disappointed with how Q buried Teravainen when the Hawks needed a spark and creativity the most in the second period. Teuvo is, behind Kane, the Hawks most creative and naturally gifted player. It is obvious for all to see that he is the real deal. He needs to be getting ice time no matter what, especially with guys that he can set up with his innate knack for passing.
-Okay the Lightning are a lot better than maybe some of us thought. Which is dumb because they have so much obvious talent that underestimating them seems ridiculous now. Their passing and puck movement is amazing, and it’s really giving the Hawks fits. At times they are able to move the puck at will. Their main defect that I can see is obviously on defense. Outside of Hedman they aren’t very good, and the Hawks have had many odd man rushes or guys breaking past Tampa defenders like they were standing still. If the Hawks can exploit that and maybe catch some guys pinching or off-balance, chances will come easier.
-Toews and Kane broke through. The captain with a goal, and Mr. Showtime with an assist on the game winner. Kane did not have a spectacular game by any means, but he was around the puck a lot and created chances. To me Kane is a Game 5-Game 6 kind of player. When he smells blood in the water he explodes big time for the Blackhawks. Examples: Philly 2010, LA 2013, Boston 2013, Minnesota 2014, LA 2014, Anaheim 2015. Jonathan Toews is all over for the Blackhawks, and was finally able to break through with a goal. All he has to do is keep doing what he’s doing. Not much more to say about him, he knows what to do.
Well we are guaranteed at least one more game at the United Center this season. Either way, the Stanley Cup will be in the building for Game 6. If all goes according to plan, the Hawks will have a chance to win it. We are right back where we were last series. The Hawks should be confident going back into Tampa since they won Game 1, and Game 2 was a close defeat where they did some things well. The Hawks didn’t look as stellar on home ice as some of us had hoped, but hey, they found a way to get it done when they needed to the most.
Oh by the way, the Blackhawks are now 41-14 in Games 4-7 of a playoff series in the Q era. Digest that for the next three days.