Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Win Game One

It took over 76 minutes to complete, but the Blackhawks emerged from Game One with a crucial victory to begin their first round series against the Minnesota Wild.

The story of the night was the battle between the two netminders, only one of whom was supposed to be in net on Tuesday night.

For Minnesota, should-be starter Niklas Backstrom left the ice during warm-ups and had to be helped to the dressing room. He was replaced by Josh Harding, who played a magnificent game on short notice. Harding stopped 35 of 37 shots in the game, but took the loss as Chicago was able to score the deciding blow in overtime.

Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford was equally exceptional. After allowing a first period goal to Cal Clutterbuck, Crawford slammed the door shut. When the dust settled and the final horn sounded, Crawford had made 26 saves against 27 shots and earned a hard-fought victory.

That deciding tally came off the stick of Bryan Bickell, who was set up by a gorgeous pass from Viktor Stalberg. The Blackhawks’ third line was great all night, and certainly earned their time in the spotlight afforded by the game-winner. The line of Andrew Shaw, Bickell and Shaw combined for 12 hits in the game (seven from Shaw) and two takeaways in the game. For much of the night, the third line was the Blackhawks’ most effective; each of the three skaters was credited with two shots on net.

Chicago’s superstars came to play as well. Marian Hossa scored Chicago’s first goal, a powerplay score in the second period. Jonathan Toews won 18 of 26 faceoffs in the game, and Patrick Kane was credited with the primary assist on Hossa’s goal.

The Blackhawks received quality contributions from all of their defensemen as well. Michal Rozsival led all Hawks’ defensemen in ice time (27:11) and was credited with six hits and two blocked shots. His partner on the Hawks’ third defensive pair, Johnny Oduya, skated 26:47 and was credited with three hits and two takeaways. Oduya also had an assist on the game-winning goal.

Chicago killed all four of the Wild’s powerplays, while converting on one of three.

Minnesota certainly received a quality return on their investment in Ryan Suter on Tuesday night. Suter skated 41:08 and blocked four shots in the game. Jared Spurgeon led the Wild with seven blocked shots, while Mike Rupp led the way with six hits. Jonas Brodin, Suter’s partner on the blue line, was credited with five hits and two blocked shots in 34:20 on the ice.

Game Two will be in Chicago on Friday night.

Elsewhere in the NHL:

  • St. Louis and Los Angeles also played into overtime. The Blues won the game 2-1 on a terribly played puck by Jonathan Quick led to the game-winning goal. Alex Steen scored both of the Blues’ goals. Quick stopped 40 of 42 shots in the loss.
  • The only game of the night that didn’t go to overtime was in Anaheim, where the Ducks defeated the Red Wings 3-1.
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26 Responses to Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Win Game One

  1. Sr. Brad says:

    Well, okay Tab…Crawford was the difference huh? He certainly did make a great save on the Parisie attempt in OT.

    Harding on the other hand was outstanding, and kept his team in the game.

    I thought the team tried hard and competed well, but they weren’t at their best…I think that Q said it best when he described the Hawks as getting better throughout. Hopefully this continues into game 2. And the goaltending that Minny got is going to continue throughout the playoffs so the Hawks cannot afford to let in any more super softies.

    The 3rd line was in mis season form again tonight…they were awesome…and on the game winning goal, how about the play by Shaw against his own end boards to start the scoring play?

    I thought Saad was outstanding for a rookie…he was solid defensively and a constant threat offensively.

    Great game by both Rozy and Oduya…not such a great game by Keith, who gave up a number of good scoring chances.

    I didn’t like all the line juggling that Q got into tonight. Hopefully he will settle on his lines and let them roll. Bollig played 7 minutes in essentially a 4 period game…why is he being dressed??? Ben Smith could have given us 15 solid minutes. Q can’t do this for the rest of the playoffs…the competition is too tight and good. If you are dressing Bollig, then you roll him along with the rest of the 4th line.

  2. JS says:

    What line juggling did Q do? The only time the lines were different were after a PP/PK, or on a defensive zone draw late in the third when he sent out two centerman.

    Hawks were credited with 40 hits. Is that enough GRIT AND TOUGHNESS for the playoffs?

    Crawford let in a really… realllyyyy bad goal. And then he was outstanding for the last 70 minutes. Hawks aren’t going to win anything if they expect to get a shutout from their goalie every night. They need to score. If you don’t think Crawford played well enough to win yesterday… well, you’re still drunk.

    Stalberg had an incredible game. More of this please.

    Sharp was drunk, Keith was drunk, Seabrook sobered up pretty early in the game. I suppose the Hawks as a whole looked pretty bad. I don’t foresee any more games this series going this way. They might lose one of the games in Minnesota, but after that big game winner by Bickell maybe they will relax and do what they normally do… you know… score goals.

    Hawks top two lines played roughly 25 minutes each while the 4th line was still being rolled in the overtime. Sure, they were short shifts, but they were still out there. Maybe Q did this realizing it was 3 days until their next game? Maybe he doesn’t trust Bollig on the ice? Maybe he doesn’t trust 16 taking draws? I don’t think after seeing one game from Ben Smith we can declare him Blackhawks playoff savior and give him 15 minutes a night. Not to mention Bollig threw a couple nice hits and scared a D man or two into a bad turnover which is likely what Q wants out of him.

    Anyway, Hawks played bad and won. They overcame a bad goal let in by Crawford, dominated on the PK, and scored a PP goal. Yay!

  3. McKay says:

    I don’t think that it was that the Hawks weren’t at their best. I think it was that Minn had a nice game plan. I actually anticipate a lot of games the series looking ugly this. It was like watching a continuation of the PHX series.

    Credit Harding but also credit the defense in front of him for clogging the neutral zone and the slot with 4 skaters. Minn mostly stuck to their game plan, especially at the beginning of the periods. It wasn’t until they got tired or a false sense of confidence that they play started to open up.

    This is a matter of Minn picking their poison at this point. If they want to take 20 shots per 60—bring that on. I’ll take that all day. That Parise OT point blank shot… his second of the GAME. How do you think that feels to a goal scorer? Not good at all. So long as the Hawks defense holds up like they did tonight, Minn will eventually have to open up. Every Hawks’ line had their moments so it really should be a test of endurance and discipline.

    Great job by the Hawks forwards for taking the body on the forecheck. Sutter and Brolin got hit tonight. Suter played 40 mins… good. I hope he enjoyed it.

  4. BigSmokej says:

    This is playoff hockey. I watched some of the other games and the play was the same.
    I agree with McKay as long as the Hawks stay disciplined they should win this series because Minn doesn’t have the fire power to stay with the Hawks and I don’t see Harding playing this good over the series if he has to play the whole series.
    Kodos to CC, he let that early one in and was BIG the rest of the night. If he can play like that in the playoffs, good things should be coming the Hawks way.

  5. Tim G says:

    I was very happy with the way we responded after the 1st period.

    The clutterbuck goal was a weak shot, but it was taken from a weird angle on the short side. I would imagine it just took Crawford off guard more than anything. The rest of the night he was great, and for our boys, we should win any game where we only give up 1. Minnesota knew they needed this one, and skated Suter over 30 minutes. Sure they have 3 days to rebound, but they can’t do that everygame.

    All that talk of why is Q playing Brookbank over Rosy… THIS IS WHY. You keep Rosy fresh for the playoffs. Why put more miles on his legs when we have huge leads in the conference/division when you dont have to? Oduya and Rosy are both well seasoned vets who can dig deep and both came up big last night. I think everyone played thier roles well.

    The one obvious down side was the FO% of Zues and Kruger… both under 40%. Even after the early goal and the horrid start, I never felt like the Wild “outplayed” us. They took the lead on a wonky shot, but never really had a set offensive plan. I had every belief we find a way to win that game, and sure enough we did. Game 2 (and Friday in general) can’t come fast enough. LETS GO HAWKS!

  6. Nick says:

    This should be a quick series if Suter keeps playing over half the game on top of playing half of the season. He is going to be dead tired as this series goes on. No one can keep playing that long and be effective. The last few games should start to go more in the Hawks favor, and they should get more goals.

  7. NJ Dave says:

    That was Minnesota’s chance. After the 1st period the Hawks had the puck a LOT…at one point keeping it in the Minnesota end for far more than 60 seconds. As long as they keep it tight defensively in transition, there is no way Minny wins this series. They simply won’t have the puck enough to score.

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    I saw little/no line juggling during the game other than coming off a PK or PP.

  9. Johan says:

    The Hawks looked VERY sloppy as a team the 1st period, tons of easy bad passes and poor choices what to do with the puck. Perhaps it was just some playoff nervs that needed to get loose.
    2nd period we started to take over as a team and played with a whole lot more confident. The playoff… dump pucks deep, win the board battles and put some pucks on the net. The goal that Kane (maybe Towes) scored that got disalowed was a textbook playoff goal that should have been on the board.

    2nd game on Friday night shold be a similar game, hopefully they will start executing on their chances..

    Let’s bring home the cup!!

    // Gollert

  10. Tim G says:

    NJ Dave… The best part about that shift you mentioned… IT WAS FROM THE 3rd LINE! No team (and i mean no team) can beat us over a 7 game series when the 3rd line is playing like that.

  11. southsidehawkman says:

    Excellent game by Crow, he had an outstanding game after giving up a bad goal to start the game. I felt Keith had a poor game, bad penalty and some bad passes. Nick Leddy had a really good game playing physical and skating hard. Overall I was disappointed in the Hawks performance especially in the 1st. I would have liked the Hawks to come out and show their dominance against a lesser Wild team. The Hawks will grind down on Minny as the series wears on and I still like this team in 5 games.

  12. Negzz says:

    Minny (like Det), is a good pull for us in round-1. They are not nearly as physical as our more dangerous opponents will be after we move from round-1. Craw let in another softie (this time to start the game, sucking the air out of the UC), and it took the Hawks some time before they got their energy back. Definitely flat out of the gate as a team. Fortunately, CC manned up for the rest of the ganme with a couple of great saves with the game on the line (the Parise stop was outstanding.) Should be no more than 5 games to get through these guys and then see who we draw for what will be a much tougher series-2.

  13. Mike says:

    The Wild played their game to a tee. If they open up too much it will be a quick series. I do not expect them to do anything different. All the games will be low scoring. The Wild played with emotion for Harding that will be tough to duplicate over potentially 6 games. Who knows, maybe this was a mental play by Minny. Emotion for Harding, rest for Backstrom, lets see if we can steal a win.

    The Hawks will be more precise but will have to respect Minny’s game. Neutral zone turn overs have to be avoided. Wild has some offensive talent to compliment their tight neutral zone play.

    I agree with Sr Brad about Bolig. However, in a tight game the 11th and 12th forwards always sit the most. But I thought Bolig actually played ok and deserved a little more time.

  14. Tom Jaremka says:

    This will be the norm for the playoffs. Minny and every other team will clog up the middle and force everything to the outside and try to “lull the Hawks to sleep”. It’s a great way to play the Hawks, but you have to be able to score and Minny has trouble with that.

    It took the Hawks awhile to get their legs and get rid of the “butterflies”, but they did pretty well. Sharpy is playing hurt. His shoulder isn’t near 100% and you can tell that because he can’t shoot his deadly wrist shot with any velocity. But this is hockey, not basketball…….when the team needs you, you play. That’s what separates the men from the boys.

    Crawford got better as the game went on, so did the entire team. Remember this…….the Wild have no pressure on them. The Hawks are EXPECTED to win this series and win the cup. Experience helps, but the pressure on this team and these players is going to be tough to handle, at times.

    Let’s make it 2-0 on Friday!!!!

  15. Waitforawhistle says:

    The line of Andrew Shaw, Bickell and Shaw combined for 12 hits in the game (seven from Shaw)

    No wonder Shaw had 7 hits, there were two of him on the ice

  16. Peter says:

    Is it even responsible to do what the Wild have done to Suter? He was a dominant defenseman and played great (maybe even spectacular). He knocked Hossa’s stick on his chance where Harding was out of position and Kane couldn’t shake him when Kane tried to dipsy do around him. I mean there was no dropoff from Suter so I think he can handle what he did last night. But this could be a long series and that contract is pretty long. I really question the Wild on this one.

    Just to echo what everyone else has said, but the 3rd line was ridiculous last night and is what will hopefully separate us from everyone. Bickell hit people, Shaw devastated people and Stalberg when crazy. I loved it. IMO, I thought Saad played okay, but looked a little timid to me when he didn’t receive the puck in open ice. He did play defense well and crashed the net. Hossa was good, Toews was good. Did anyone else think Kane took a little too much time off on the defensive side? When he had that potential breakway opportunity, the only reason he was so open is because he was 30 feet from where he should have been. Tom’s point about Sharpy being hurt is probably accurate. His shot looked a little slower. I wonder if it is something that will linger or get stronger as he plays more.

    Go Hawks

  17. EbonyRaptor says:

    I give credit to Minny for executing their game plan very well, and it’s no surprise because it’s the same as the regular season games between the Wild and Hawks. They clogged up the middle and gave the Hawks very little time and space and they did it very well.

    However, the Hawks had a lot of unforced errors, especially in the 1st period. The passing was attrocious. Uncontested passes were 3 feet out in front of the target, or the passes were behind the guy or in the guys skates which resulted in numerous icings and terminated too may possessions. Additionally, I need to call out Seabrook. I don’t know if he’s lost a step or lost motivation or what is going on with him but he often looks to be playing too patient, almost lackadaisical. Too often when he goes back to retrieve the puck he could beat the opposing player to the puck but he slows up like he’s trying to avoid getting hit, and instead tries to shield the opposing player from the puck and it often results in the puck being turned over in the d-zone. He needs to pick it up – both physically and mentally.

    And now the good news – HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN!

  18. Sr. Brad says:

    Yeah, I re watched the game and most of the line changes were due to the STs. I agree that the Hawks weren’t bad, the Wild were just good. As Tom J said, the Wild have NO pressure on them, and they showed it with a great road game.

    Regardless of what you think Bollig played like, Q has to have more confidence in the 12th forward and roll the 4 lines. I would prefer Carcillo, Smith, Hayes or Morin, but I’ll take Bollig as long as Q uses him.

    As to Suter, NO ONE can play as much as he did, and be involved in as many hits and not have it affect him…he needs the 3 days rest more than anyone else (besides Emery)…but he won’t be able to continue this and not have it affect his game…guaranteed.

    I think Q will have the boys tighten up their game for Friday…do a lot of dump and chase, and throw the puck at the net every chance. Dull hockey, but a recipe for victory versus the Wild.

  19. RyanDale says:

    It was a severe case of deja vu when CC let in the bad goal. It’s just the nature of the beast with him…..but I never get used to it. To his credit, there was lots of hockey to play and he rebounded well afterwards. He handles it better than I do!

    Thankfully, the goal that was not allowed did not play into the final score but, It appeared to be the wrong call and very well could have decided such a close game

  20. Dave says:

    I thought CC was screened by Roz on the first goal it sure looked that way

  21. DropThePuck says:

    I know the hockey traditionalists will say “never”, but do you think the NHL will ever change the playoff overtime format to match the regular season format? (Five minutes of 4 on 4, followed by shootout).

  22. JS says:

    DropThePuck- No

    Dave- he looked like he overplayed it with the blocker trying to do something cute. It was a weak shot that beat him short side, should never happen from that far out. It was a bad goal. However, he was great the rest of the game and they won, so whatever.

    Brad- I don’t really think the first line was getting back onto the ice too quick. There were a lot of stoppages and it seemed to be a long game, so maybe he chose to skip the 4th pairing or he wanted to put the first pairing back out right after a Suter shift. I would have liked to see Bollig get a few more minutes, but I don’t think the reason he wasn’t out there was due to a lack of trust.

    At least Crawford didn’t pull a Quick in OT. Yikes….

  23. Mike says:

    Drop the Puck….Absolutely not

    I want to go back to all 2 point games in the regular season. I hate shootouts. 4 on 4 is great, maybe extend that to 8 minutes then end in a tie. If not, the NHL needs to go to a 3 point system.

    I would not object to changing the playoff OTs a little. Period 4 would be 5 on 5. If still tied, period 5 go to 4 on 4. Try to end the game in under 5 full periods. Better for the players, better for the fans.

  24. Ryan says:

    @Drop the Puck – No, nor should they. Would you want a HR derby to determine the World Series Champ? How about a 3 point contest to determine the NBA Finals Champ? How about the Super Bowl is determined playing 7 on 7? How about a playoff at any of the 4 Golf Majors determined by a long drive Comp? The game is played 5 on 5 it should be settled that way.

    I like 4 on 4 and a shootout to determine a winner in reg season so that we don’t have ties, but it has no place in the playoffs. I hated that Canada beat the US in the Gold Medal game in 2010 in a 4 on 4 OT, it cheapened the game. I also agree with Mike that there should be a 3 point system.

  25. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    If you havent watched the STL and LA matchup Quick has been less then spectular. A horrible give away the other night in OT, a weak tying goal in the 3rd and a bad 40 footer with 50 secs left to play. It just goes to show that playoffs are a different animal (LA was 4-0 against STL in the reg season) and swept them last yr. Last yr playoffs doesnt mean anything. Go Hawks!

  26. JS says:

    Quick has been spectacular, but he’s also let in a bunch of bad goals and cost his team the chance to win two games. Then again, if they actually scored goals they wouldn’t be in that situation.

    Last night Quick, Lundqvist, Price, and Hiller all let in goals that should have been stopped. But yeah, Crawford is the only one that lets in soft goals that can’t win a cup.

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