Well to say that was fun would be a HUGE understatement! It is a shame if you didn’t have a horse in that race like me that this one didn’t go the distance. As much as I would get frustrated at times with the terrible officiating and the fact that the game keeps drifting closer and closer to the way things were in the “old NHL”, it still doesn’t mean that it wasn’t playoff hockey at its absolute best!
3 games went to OT, 2 more went down to the final minute of play, and in game 4 we witnessed one of the most exciting Stanley Cup final games of all time. And the fact that there was a game in this series that overshadowed game 1 is pretty unreal, and the ending to last nights game will make it an all timer. I will get to the Bruins in another blog, but this one is about the Hawks season. Simply incredible.
Starting with their streak to start the season, the 3rd longest of all time with at least a point going 24 games, and the longest such streak to start a season (79-80 Flyers went 35, 77-78 Habs went 28). They ended the regular season with a 36-7-5 record. Could they have kept up that pace over 82 games? Who knows, but incredible nonetheless.
Then after having an easy time with the Minnesota Wild (I LOVE Wild fans!!), they fell behind the Wings 3-1. They weren’t getting bounces, Jimmy Howard was playing out of his skull, things didn’t look good for a team that hadn’t faced adversity all season. After a win in game 5, they trailed game 6 in Detroit 2-1 heading into the 3rd. That was the first time that this team really nutted up for lack of a better term and came up HUGE. 3 goals in the 3rd got the Hawks back home with a big 4-3 win and momentum all on their side.
Then the 3rd period of game 7 happened. Up 1-0 going into the 3rd, Henrik Zetterberg tied it early, and the Wings controlled much of the play. Then with just 1:47 left in the 3rd the Hawks believed they had scored the goal that would clinch the series, only to be waved off because of a horrific coincidental penalty call by referee Stephen Walkom. I really believed that would be the dagger to the Hawks run. To shake off getting such a horrible break like that takes incredible mental toughness.
The conference finals wasn’t what anyone really expected, as the Hawks were able to roll over the bruised and battered defending champs relatively easily (although 3 of the 4 wins were only by a goal). But the Stanley Cup final was definitely a different story, and once again overcome a lot.
Game 1 you may already have forgot they trailed 2-0 early, and 3-1 8 minutes into the 3rd. But they managed to tie it, and then on their 60th shot of the game beat Tukka Rask to win it in the 3rd OT. A lot of people including your’s truely believed that would be a damn tough game for the Bruins to overcome, but they not only overcame that loss, they took control of the series in games 2 and 3 and seemingly had the Hawks on the ropes.
Game 4 was something special. The Blackhawks carried the play and for the first time in the series really had the Bruins playing “their game”. But they couldn’t shake them. Corey Crawford had his worst game of the series, and the Bruins were getting the bounces while the Hawks were really having to work hard for their goals. I really thought there was no way with how Crawford was playing that they were winning in OT. But again, they sacked up, Crawford kept battling and shut the door in OT, and Brent Seabrook came up big to send the series back to Chicago tied at 2.
After hanging on in game 5, they went back to Boston and of course we all know what happened last night. Again, it seemed done when Milan Lucic sniped with 7:49 left in the 3rd. I believe on the CBC broadcast prior to that goal Healy and Simpson were talking about how it was basically already in OT, that’s how it felt. But again, the Hawks came up huge, with Toews setting up Bickell to tie it and of course 17 seconds later with just 58.3 left in the 3rd David Bolland wins it.
Just remarkable what we just witnessed…unless you’re a fan of the Wild, Wings, Kings or Bruins. Weather you love them or hate them, you have to tip your hat to the Chicago Blackhawks. That was truely one of the most unbelievable runs in NHL history, and with the core of this hockey team still very young I have a feeling this isn’t the last one they will win.
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