Crawford Returns, Hawks Eliminate Preds

The first period wasn’t pretty, but the final score was. In the end, the Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators with a 4-3 comeback win on Saturday night.

Scott Darling allowed three goals in the game’s opening 11:16, which gave coach Joel Quenneville an opportunity to insert Corey Crawford into the lineup. With a goaltender change in the middle of the first period, the Hawks responded with the final two goals of the opening period and the game-winner in the third to send the Nashville Predators to their respective golf courses for the summer.

Nashville got off to a flying start, with James Neal scoring at even strength only 70 seconds into the game and again on the power play at 8:09 into the opening period. Patrick Sharp cut the lead in half, but only briefly; Matt Cullen scored the Preds’ third goal only 39 seconds after Sharps’ score to put Nashville up 3-1 and chase Darling.

Crawford entered, and his teammates responded.

Jonathan Toews scored a power play goal 58 seconds after Quenneville made a change between the pipes to bring the Hawks back to within one, and Patrick Kane tied the game with only six second left in the opening period.

Kane, Toews, Sharp and Duncan Keith ended the first period with two points each for Chicago. Neal was the only Nashville player with two points, both goals, in the game’s first 20 minutes.

The second period was relatively quiet. Chicago killed a Brad Richards penalty but still managed to out-shoot Nashville 12-7 in the period. Neither team was able to score in the second.

When the final period began, Nashville was ready to fight for their season but Chicago answered the bell. The Hawks allowed only four Preds shots to reach the net, and Keith scored his second of the series at 16:12 to give Chicago a 4-3 lead.

Crawford stood tall over the final four minutes and the Hawks were able to successfully complete the comeback elimination.

Pekka Rinne finished the night with 28 saves against 32 shots, and Crawford picked up his first victory of the series while stopping all 13 shots he faced over almost 49 minutes of action.

Toews had three hits and three points (one goal, two assists) but won only three of 15 faceoffs in the victory. Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa were each credited with five hits, and Saad finished with a team-high two takeaways in the win. Bryan Bickell was credited with a team-leading eight hits in the game, while Saad led Chicago with two takeaways.

Keith skated exactly 28 minutes and posted three points (one game-winning goal, two assists) and tied Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya for the team lead with two blocked shots. Keith also led the Hawks with six shots on net.

While Toews struggled at the dot, Antoine Vermette (won 13 of 20) and Brad Richards (won 13 of 19) played a significant role in the faceoff circle.

46 thoughts on “Crawford Returns, Hawks Eliminate Preds

  1. Wow. What a great victory. Stunning turn of events and incredible drama combined with speed and skill. Keiths laser winner absolutely a thing of beauty.

    Nice new website here Tab…stunningly beautiful I might add….thanks to Tab for all this…we are indeed fortunate…”May you live in interesting times” is a dream come true for all us.

  2. The boys turn up the wick when they have to but these lapses of everything going south need to be addressed going forward. Right now it looks like the Wild but hopefully the Blues, at least, win tomorrow and force another game so that series goes 7 and they continue to beat one another up.
    I love the breakdown of the faceoff win by Richards on Kaner’s goal. Big, big play there and maybe the biggest faceoff win of the year. Sure was nice to see the Hawks cash in late in a period as it usually seems to go against us there.
    Despite several defensive blips in the series, Keith from the 2nd period on tonight was what Mike Babcock referred to him…’elite’ elite, elite.’
    Sharp, Toews, Kane, Keith…four of the Hawks unquestioned leaders came through when needed.
    Preds are going to be very tough moving forward especially if they add another legit offensive piece or two and dump clowns like Ribeiro & Stalberg.
    Now get it together, get a few days of rest, get consistent…this is likely to be the end of the road for the group as we know it.

  3. Great new format, Tab. You do a great job here.

    After the first goal given up by Darling, I thought the perfect ending would be Crawford saving the day for Hawks and clinching it tonight. Now, he undoubtably starts game 1 vs. MIN/STL.

    The stars stepped up and that was the difference in the game.

    Who would everyone here want next round? Both teams are tough.

  4. Yes, agree with MM on the site…I found myself checking once or twice if I was in the right place tonight.
    Thanks to Tab Bamford for giving all of us that are committed to the revered Indian head a great forum to voice our thoughts.

  5. Wow is right! This is a team with some huge stones. Come back from 3-0 and 3-1 to win both games in the same series, don’t think I have seen that from any team. Best thing about this series,(besides that it is over) is that this team got through it without playing there best hockey, at least not 60 minutes worth. What a rough start, first goal was the only one I thought 33 should have had, but what a difference in team defense after the switch. Thought 80 and 91 played their best game of the series while I am amazed at the turn-over machine that is Versteeg can still continue to regress. I think 86 should get at least a shot, allowing Shaw to go back to wing. Speaking of Shaw, I was happy he did not take a dumb penalty to cancel out the power play, showed great restraint/maturity. I have to believe that they will start to go in for Hossa the next series, he certainly deserves it. Got to hope for two more games (rough ones at that) for Minn/St. l. Great time to be a Hawks fan, no matter what the doom and gloom squad spews. Go Hawks.

  6. Tab, well done. The timing seems odd but only because I’m one of those that has to keep the status quo during playoff runs or else…?! It looks nice though

    I thought 6 games was the right number, but its more like 7 in game time so rest is good right now. I’m hoping we need only one goalie going forward and his initials are CC

    Playing Sharp 12 mins a game? Sort of hard for me to understand why or how that makes us better.

    Get used to hearing this in the future…”Former Blackhawk Defenseman and NHL Hall of Famer, Duncan Keith”

    Blues or Wild? Matchups be damned, I will always prefer the more traditional foe first. Bring on little brother aka the blues

  7. Tab the site looks awesome! Thanks for creating and maintaining the only relevant website to discuss the Blackhawks.

    Wow what a game. I had a feeling they were going to comeback even when things were at their worst. I was just thinking they have scored their three, how many are we due for?

    As for who is next, I still like our chances against MN. It’s Rozi and KT that worry me, and STL has more weapons.

  8. I can’t imagine how much time and effort that you put into this site but it is greatly appreciated. Thank’s Tab.

  9. 1St off Tab congrats on the new site it looks amazing!

    All the Hawks big guns showed up on the score sheet which is necessary for a knockout game.

    Crow was still fighting it, but managed to pick up the win.

    Nash will be good in a few years with all their r young propects on the way

  10. Fantastic game, hawks were completely dominant after falling behind 3 to 1 and the stars were the stars : Toews,Kane, sharp, Keith, Seabrook, Crawford.

    No negativity except for the nightly Timonnen bear hug.

  11. Nice update Tab. Andrew shaw was a worthy winger on the most dangerous line in hockey. 65, 19, 88 put fear into the hearts of the predators and the series was over. At about 8 minutes into the 3rd period Shaw made himself the difference maker the Hawks needed, on both sides of the ice, winning every puck battle and passing with skill we don’t often see. I don’t get to watch a lot of regular season hockey
    But 65 doesn’t get a lot of space to work with then. They dominated thereafter, and Rozsival was excellent, he and 7 played out of their minds on defense. Keith just might have made up for his defensive carelessness early. Darling didn’t deserve to get pulled, yet pulling him worked. Q laid down the hammer at the end of the game and it was as much fun watching a sport as you can have. I also checked back on the archives of this blog, and I called 3 Sharp goals this series, which makes me absolutely zero dollars, but still gives me satisfaction in a dumb way. And that’s good enough for me, let’s meet back here after the next round.

  12. Here is the stat line for the playoffs to date for the majority of the core:

    gp g a pts
    19 JONATHAN TOEWS 6 3 5 8
    2 DUNCAN KEITH 6 2 5 7
    88 PATRICK KANE 6 2 5 7
    81 MARIAN HOSSA 6 0 5 5
    10 PATRICK SHARP 6 3 2 5
    7 BRENT SEABROOK 6 2 2 4

    We can never underestimate the competitive drive of these men. I have to also add number #4 to this group. What a privilege we have all had in watching these men play the last 7 years. Despite all the doubters, me included, they have time and again surprised us all and prevailed. They have not doubted themselves and have provided magical moment after magical moment. Chicago fans are accustomed to watching other players on other teams deliver in the clutch and wish they were our players. Well, we have had these guys keep delivering for us now for seven years. My applause goes out to each one of them. I appreciate all of you now and hope we get many more years of all of you to savor.

    I believe 19. 88, and 2 have already played themselves into the HOF and they aren’t done yet. 81 will be there for his entire body of work with the Hawks and his prior teams. I truly believe #7 should be there as well, however, he does not get the pub that his partner does. Another cup and I have to say he would be considered along with #4. One thing is for sure, everyone of these men should have a banner with their numbers hanging in the rafters alongside #1, #3, #3, #9, #18, #21, & #35.

    Go Hawks! Thanks for the past memories and thanks for the future memories you have not blessed us with yet. Once again, go Hawks.

    p.s. Tab, great job on the site and thanks for all of your efforts.

  13. I visit this site almost every day. Great new look, Tab!

    Booman’s comments very early this morning are spot on. All Hawk fans have been blessed to have such a terrific core group. They not only entertain us but they deliver results.

  14. Great look Tab-
    nothing is more exciting then when the Hawks get a team on the run and do the Harlem globetrotters thing-
    it was weird that on a night that the media was pointing out how well the hawks were doing on key face-offs that JT did so poorly as a %-does he have a wrist/hand injury
    or perhaps when doesn\t he?

  15. Tab, new site looks really nice.

    QUESTION: Who do you think we match up against better, Blues or Wild?

  16. +1 on the redesign. That’s a beauty there boys.

    Things didn’t look so good after the first last night. Team was flat out of the gate and even 19 half-@$$ed it back on the first goal which you almost never see. The margin of error is going to be even less against the second round opponent. But good on the team clawing back to even by the end of the first. 6 goal first periods not so good for the ticker.

    The Blues look like they are about to turtle up vs the wild and fulfill the annual right of spring that is reliable as the arrival of the tulips. The Blues flaming out early. The wild looks like the better team and that should be a GREAT second round series. Let’s have a war to renew the Minnesota hate. Dino sucks!

    Also look forward to Corey getting back in the net for game one. Good on the UC crown for the road when he came on in relief.

    Speaking of comebacks, how about the flames coming back twice from down 3-0 and then 4-3. Those guys have some stones. Hopefully they can give the Ducks a run for their money. Love watching the nucks fall on their faces.

  17. Great upgrade on the website, Tab. Thank you for all of your efforts for helping a displaced Chicagoan (Nashville, ironically) keep in touch with the Hawks.

    My son and I were wondering if a team had ever won two games in a playoff series in games that their starting goalie was pulled (not due to an injury)? It seems unlikely, but our Hawks did just that!

  18. Nice redesign Tab, magazine theme from Elegant Themes? Looks good!

    Because someone has to comment on Rockford, I’ll do it …

    Ice Hogs took the first two games down in Texas, they come back to Rockford with a 2-0 series lead in the Best of Five opener vs. Texas Stars. Great goaltending by Leighton and Tanner Kero scored last night – six goals in eight pro games.

    Next game is Wed. night in Rockford – Hogs are playing excellent team hockey …

  19. Nice change in site Tab. Once again our nucleus of stars steps up at the big moment. 19,88 & 2 are three of the five best players in the world IMHO. Good decision by Q to pull Darling, he was struggling. Crawford did look a little shaky at the beginning. The big negative I saw last night was 23. It seemed every time he touched the puck in the Preds end our possession ended. He either made a bad pass, dangled too much or got easily rubbed off on the boards. He should take a seat in the next round and let 86 play. The speed of the Wild makes me nervous. I would rather see the plodding Blues.

  20. I am hoping for the Blues… I am a little worried about the Wild’s speed, and their Defense does a great job of keeping things to outside ( as opposed to Hawk’s D in 1st and most of series… allowing Preds to inside- time after time???)

    SSHM- very good post and Objective I might add!!!

    Nice to see Sharp finding the net again

    Hof- what is scouting report on Kero??? Hard to find much on him… Just see that he competes and has Good hockey IQ… how’s his skating, hands,shot???

  21. thanks for the love on the new design. wanted something that would not only change things up but also improve the mobile user experience.

    re: the game – we finally saw a determined team that won in spite of itself. Terrible start, doing Darling very few (if any) favors. Crawford comes in mid-first period and the Hawks allowed only 13 shots on goal from there. Defensive dominance once 50 went back in the cage.

  22. Wall, too soon to tell much on Kero. It’s been 8 games but my initial impressions are he’s worked very hard on his shot, it’s above average with a quick release. He’s got good hockey sense and I like the way he plays in all three zones. Skating is definitely above average too.

    I was told, or basically overheard I should say (can’t vouch for the source) that he (Kero) was pursued by the Red Wings, Wild, a couple of Canadian teams out west and a few more. The Blackhawk scouting & front office group had been tracking him for several years and Kero and his advisors liked that.

    As to his NHL potential, I am hesitant to make predictions like that so soon. He’s definitely showing he merits closer watching. I want to see how he does in these playoffs and how he competes at training camp.

    For now the things that stick out to me are his hockey sense and awareness in all three zones. Right after that are his skating and quickness. He’s not big but he’s got some aggressiveness in his game – I’ve read he really ramped that part of his game up this past year and it led to his sr. year success.

    For more on Rockford, there’s a Q&A summary with Mark Bernard on the main Blackhawk site about how Danault, McNeill, and Ross have progressed this year and how the trade of TJ Brennan was in part made to get Johns and Pokka more ice time and important minutes – which is paying off. Well worth seeking out and reading for those interested in prospects in Rockford.

  23. Tab. After checking the site on the home computer and being amazed at how clean it looks, i had to check it out on my phone and it is way nicer than yesterday. Thanks for all you do and making this a great site for us ever loving Hawk fans.

  24. Love the new look Tab. Appreciate your hard work. This by far is my go to source for Hawks reading material. Between your work, and what others post, just makes all other sites a notch below. Thank you.

  25. Awesome effort after a start that left me wondering what was going on?
    Keith was a beast yesterday.
    Why is 44 playing?
    How can we get 86 in the lineup?

  26. Hof- thx for report… Heard same thing – Re: Wings chasing him Baun, and Bailey…

    MS- picking up on our last talk – Re: 4-5 guys from Rock/playing on Hawks next year… you can add Kero, Paliotta, Hartman to list.
    I will add that if SB finds a good Trade for 29… I can 100% say that Baun can take his spot for sure… immediately! Thought Baun looked real good for as little time spent in Hawk’s system!!!

    DickieD- I’d say the Flames are more than Rebuild mode!!! they can play/contend now!!! and could be scary after this draft!!!

    Lastly- looking ahead to Summer moves (now that there is some dead time…)
    U-18 USA and Finland… there are some Real BIG kids -putting up some Big #’s…
    2016 Draft looks solid….

    If you want a good laugh… Look at some Youtube video on this Patrik Laine from Fins… looks like tape when 14 or 15 yrs. old… Kid is like 6’4″ 210lbs. vs. 5’2″ kids

  27. The new site looks great on the cell. Thanks.

    23 was terrible last night. His possession game could get us in trouble.

    I loved the effort from 16. He’s a guy that doesn’t get a lot of attention… that’s because he makes few mistakes and busts his butt on the PK.

    Great night for the fans. Let’s get ready for MN.

  28. Mchomer, guess you answered my question on how do we get 86 in the lineup? Bench 23. I agree he is terrible. Constantly on the wrong side of the battle, I know he has some offensive skills but out of every forward he may be the most useless.

  29. I’ll echo the kudos going to you Tab on the new look – very nice.

    Big boys showed up last night and made the difference – good to see.

    The d-corps moving forward is a concern though. On several of the goals in games 5 and 6 our d-men didn’t play it very well and the d-men I’m talking about are 2/4/7/27. I would cite fatigue but the misplays happened in the first period of both games, so I’m not sure fatigue is the reason. The optimistic view is that we know those 4 guys can and will play well, as they did as both games moved along. The other two guys – 32 and 44 – well ,,, that’s another story, although 32 has played better over the past couple games.

    The whole goalie controversy is much ado about nothing, in my opinion. CC is the #1 goalie. Period. If he struggles, like all goalies do from time to time, Darling is capable.

    I hesitate to wish for one team over the other – be careful for what you wish for. It seems to me the Blues have more firepower and the Wild have better goaltending. It’s a pick your poison choice. I guess my preference comes down to wanting to see the Blues lose and there’s a certain pleasure I would get seeing them get bounced in the first round again. So based on that I hope the Wild advance to be the Hawks’ next victim.

  30. We did great with relief from Darling…and Crawford. Hope Q keeps that in mind during the rest of the playoffs, Bring in the relief to close the door is uncommon in the NHL, but with 2, no 3 outstanding goalies, why not.

  31. Nice new look Tab.

    As for the game, it was a good decision by Q to pull Darling (not that ANY of those goals were his fault) but down 3-1 at home in a must win game, the Hawks needed a message sent! It was also received by the players as they shut NSH down in the final 49 minutes of the game, something they were not able to do at any point during the series. That’s on the leaders of the hockey team. Down 3-1 you could see Toews and Kane both barking at their team mates telling them that the Hawks weren’t going to lose. There is no other stat than SC wins that measures that intangible. Toews, Kane, Keith, Hossa, Sharp and Seabrook are simply put WINNERS and they put the rest of the game on their backs and the Hawks won.

    No one on this sight should under play Scott Darling’s importance to this series. Frankly put, the Hawks don’t win without him. Crawford didn’t do a thing last night once he entered the game and in fact looked shaky in handling the puck and rebounds. Crawford may be starting game 1 of the next series, but I doubt we have seen the last of SD this year.

    Huge props to the NSH Preds as a team, players and coaches. They are going to be a dominate group over the next few years. To come into our building in such a key game without the best DMan in hockey and absolutely take the game to us for the first 10 minutes was very impressive. Really, the game turned when Q sent his message with CC and then Neal lost his focus and took a stupid penalty against Shaw (who once again had another hugely important game for the Hawks). Bam, we scored 5 seconds into the PP to deflate the Preds, and then Patrick Kane did his magic with a few seconds left to tie things up at the end of the period! Did any of you watch the Preds, including Rinne leave the ice at the end of the first??? They were hurting to a man.

    Now we rest and see what happens with STL/MIN. Either team is going to give the Hawks fits with only 4 defensemen to speak of. MIN would be the worst pairing for CHI as the Wild are fast, tenacious and physical and the Hawks simply don’t react well to this combination. The Hawks are going to have to get much better as a team if they expect to move on past this next round.

    A big thanks to Brad Richards who played his best 2 games as a Hawk all season long in the last two!

  32. I read this blog all the time and clearly there is excellent hockey knowledge on this site. We all agree that 44 and 23 should be in the press box. We can’t all be wrong.

    23 loses every battle out there and 44 just can’t keep up with the pace. I would think runblad can give you 12 meaningful minutes and can chip in on the offensive side of things. 86 is a high end talent who is defensively reponsible and would look good on that 4th line as we saw in the regular season. shaw can move up up with kane and Richards recalling that kane and shaw gelled nicely last year during the Kings series.

  33. Hawks did what was expected. Not sure of the “comfort” going forward with the dueling goal tenders. Great game to watch and the last 5 minutes show fans just how good, aggressive and quick to the puck this team can be when “needed”

    1. Don’t touch the lines
    1a. Winning faceoffs is more than half the game, the other half is staying out of the penalty box. HAWKS WON A LOT OF BIG FACE OFFS first time I can remember in years, and then even to run set plays like the PREDS do was really key. Our faceoffs in crucial times has be okay in the past but last night GREAT. Vermette made two efforts I saw that where pure HEART and TUFFFFFNESS and he won a few clean, Maybe maybe he’s ready?
    2. Shaw to me is subtly the surprise of the series and was on the ice in crucial closing minutes. That 4th line is the reason we won, they take away the PREDS ability to switch lines on the fly, they held the puck, wear you down, line shifts disabled and they got the line rotation out of sync and that was key all series. If you can match lines on the fly the game, get the match up you want, they would still be playing. 4th line amazing and getting better. All three of them!
    3. Everyone put in a solid effort in the last two periods, I mean a everyone, team effort is when we are best, even Vermette was effective in closing out plays, and Richards has played great, smart guy, really skating hard and chasing down lose pucks.
    4. Keith is really amazing as usual.
    5. Our elder d-men really are hard to cover up, they just don’t have the speed that is needed I still say bring up Rundblad.

  34. Ok..Its Minny…bring it on…we don’t have to worry about Tarasenko, Backes or Oshie and that dreadful chant. Guess we do have to worry about Yeo…ha ha ha ha ha …thats a good one.

    Wild …we will demonstrate what the meaning of wild is …as in Lion in the tall grass waiting for you..oh yah, meet Duncan Keith, again! Showtime for Kane. Really liking this matchup.

  35. Fabulous site upgrade Tab. Been here for a couple of years. Live in TO but been a Hawks fan for 57 years. Share all the concerns about this years club. But the stars know when to turn up their game. Hawks vs Wild will be a good one.

  36. Tab – As all others have commented – thanks again for all the work you do to maintain such a high quality site.

    Incredible comebacks like game 1 and last night take me back to all the lean years of old man Wirtz. We are very, very lucky to be able to enjoy the last 5 years and may it go on for many more. On another note, as much as I supported SB with his TDL approach I have to say what I imagine most are thinking – Kimmo shouldn’t be playing for Rockford let alone the Hawks. Not that the 6th D man should be a defense maker but he just can’t keep up with the pace. Thankfully it should be the stars who dictate results in the playoffs and I’ll take ours thank you.

    Wall – Re: the Icehogs getting promoted next year, my comment wasn’t regarding their abilities – it was related to Q’s approach. If I was a betting man I would guess we move a couple of young guys for a more established young guy or two (still with low cap $$) while we work in a few of the key prospects (i.e. Johns, McNeill, Danault).

    Hof – Thanks for the Rockford updates – keep them coming. Any thoughts on not signing Nick Mattson after the North Dakota season ended? Also interesting to see Gotovets get the game winning goal in game 1 and also that Robin Press dressed ahead of the other two higher drafted Swedes in game two.

  37. The St Louis tulips. Appear every spring only to disappear shortly after they arrive.

    Bring on the wild. Should be a great test. Arguably the hottest team in hockey since January.

  38. Got to believe that Hitchcock is gone in St Louis – hard to justify giving the team a 5th chance to try and get past the first round.

  39. Yes have to agree the site looks fantastic and had to do a double check to make sure I was at the right spot.

    Great series by the Stars 19,88,2,7,4 etc. and when people say to me how much the 19 and 88 contracts were for the Hawks I say well you wish your team had them. When looking at the Stamkos, Ovechkins, Thornton, Marleau, Sedins. how often are those guys getting it done when it really counts in the playoffs. We are blessed as Hawks fans to have these skilled/hardworking guys.

    Thanks HOF for the Rockford updates…much appreciated.

    McDavid continues to tear it up averaging 3pts a game in the playoffs. No doubt first overall too bad it will be with “The Oil”.

  40. Hey Mining Man, see these fingers? Pick out two. One, two…… Yeo!!!

    Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck, nyuck…

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  41. Now didn’t that feel great? Cro came back and saved the day. I bet Cro feels re-energized and ready to take on the Wild.

    This is great leadership. Pulling Cro and then putting him back seems to be exactly what the team needed.

    Q is my favorite coach in the NHL.

  42. Dare I say the Hawks have an amazing flair for the dramatic? Call it lightning strikes or whatever. Stunning, eye opening, jaw dropping, WTF game changing moments that over the years have been too numerous to count even in non Cup winning years. More to come I think?? This most recent Preds series was loaded with em. Stunning 3 goal comeback game 1 capped by Keith OT dagger. Seabrook triple OT winner. Keith late 3rd period nail driver into the coffin to more or less end series in a game that was on the edge esp in the 1st when Preds could have blown it wide open. Never mind massive Kane goal end of 1st to tie. Oh yes, as pointed out the Preds left the ice appearing to be in shock.

    Lightning strikes all of it.

    Lets Go Hawks!

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