Blackhawks Handle Home Business, Take Series Lead

After struggling to get a lead in the first two games of the series, the Blachawks couldn’t hold onto one in the opening 21 minutes of Sunday afternoon’s game. But a stronger team effort for the final 18 minutes of the second period gave the Hawks enough breathing room to put the Preds away and take a 2-1 series lead.

The Hawks two deadline acquisitions who were in suits for Games One and Two, Antoine Vermette and Andrew Desjardins, dressed for Game Three in place of Joakim Nordstrom and Teuvo Teravainen. And while one would hope it was the player Chicago mortgaged a first round pick to acquire was making an impact, it was Desjardins who had himself an afternoon.

Desjardins opened the scoring 14:48, but the Hawks only had the lead for 31 seconds before Mike Ribeiro brought the Preds back.

Jonathan Toews scored his second of the postseason only 36 seconds into second period, but once again the lead didn’t last a full minute. This time, Mattias Ekholm scored only 18 seconds after Toews’ tally to tie the game.

After the Ekholm goal, however, the Blackhawks took control of the game.

Brandon Saad scored his first of the series at 3:38 of the second, and this time the Blackhawks held onto the lead until the next goal was scored by Chicago. Brent Seabrook took a gorgeous pass from Jonathan Toews and extended the lead to 4-2 late in the middle period.

Scott Darling started in place of Corey Crawford, and was good even while allowing two goals in the game’s first 21 minutes. Nashville out-shot the Hawks 28-24 over the first two periods, but Darling was up to the task. He left more rebounds than he – or the fans – would like early in the second period, and could have played the two goals better, but kept the puck out of the net once his team took the lead for a third time.

Marian Hossa was flying from the opening faceoffs, and picked up the primary assist on the Blackhawks first two goals of the game. He now has four assists in three games, picking up two in each of Chicago’s wins thus far. With his goal and the assist on Seabrook’s goal, Toews now has five points in three games; he had three points in the Game One victory.

The teams skated 20 fairly quiet minutes down the stretch, and the game ended with Mike Ribeiro in the penalty box and the Hawks allowing their second power play of the afternoon to end without a goal. Chicago’s penalty kill was perfect against two Nashville advantages after struggling in the first two games of the series.

Pekka Rinne made 26 saves in the loss, playing behind a team that was without captain Shea Weber. In Weber’s absence, Nashville relied heavily on Roman Josi (28:32) and Seth Jones (26:11), but both defensemen finished the game minus-three.

Darling made 35 saves in the victory, earning his second career postseason victory.

Desjardins skated only 19 shifts (11:47) but was credited with four shots on net and two more that missed the mark. Vermette won only four of five faceoffs and skated just 13:35, but blocked two shots and was credited with four hits.

Toews won 13 of 20 faceoffs against a Nashville team that was also missing Mike Fisher once again. Bryan Bickell led the Hawks with six hits, but only skated 17 shifts (13:34). Four Blackhawks led the way with three blocked shots, including Kimmo Timonen.

68 thoughts on “Blackhawks Handle Home Business, Take Series Lead

  • April 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Showed signs of dominance in spurts throughout this game. Still aren’t quite there yet, but the effort was encouraging.

  • April 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Good game, good crowd, good outcome. Much more jump in their step tonight.

    11 really brought it and the 4th line looked good (aside from giving up the 2nd goal). All 4 lines were rolling for the most part. This Nashville team doesn’t look the same without weber and mr underwood though.

    I think the Hawks ride Darling the rest of the series and if they get through then crow Stars game 1 in the WC semis.

    Also a nice outpouring of support for the tornado victims with the split the lot donation going there. Almost 70k raised. Good on he Hawks fans.

  • April 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Dominant performance by the first line. Darling looked solid and I especially like his positioning. Stick with the hot goalie until he has a bad game or there is a loss. 32/44 were not as bad as usual. 11 played well except for being way out of position on the first Pred goal. Would not mind seeing 10 put on 2nd line instead of 23. Replace 80 with 86.

  • April 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Outstanding team effort, great game by Hossa , should silence the “father time” crap for at least 48 hours. I think this was the best, complete game for the hawks in a long time. I thought Dejardins was a major upgrade from Nordstrom and most certainly should be in the line up for Tuesday. The 4th line was second best line for Hawks, and any doubt about where Saad belongs should now be clear. That is what a 1st line should look/play like. Usually Q leaves the line up the same after a win, but I would switch TT for 23. Seems like 23 is good for too many turnovers, and now dumb penalties.(two in game #2.) I am not the biggest TT fan, but at this point I think he is a better option to play with Kane, and could certainly help on the poor power play. Go Hawks.

  • April 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Desi had a great game. Gives the team some sandpaper and energy throughout the lineup. I hope Q sticks to the formula and keeps 42 out of line up.
    Darling looks cool as a cucumber back there. Does not get rattled. Unbelievable for a rookie goalie.

  • April 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Good overall performance thought puck control was much better than the first two games. The Toews line was flying and really controlled the game. I thought the fourth line had a good game not only on defense but created some good offense. Not really happy with the Richards line I think its time for Versteeg to take a seat wouldn’t mind seeing Teravainen on that line. Happy for the win hope we can stay aggressive. Go Hawks!!

  • April 19, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Dave, thanks for saying it re Versteeg. Time for him to sit. 44 needs to sit as well. No knock against him but he can’t keep up out there.

  • April 19, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Those 2 quick responses by the Preds to our goals were a bit alarming. Like, what the? We cannot forget this team led the league in points for a long stretch. They are a weakened team thats for sure and Rinne did not look all that great today at all. All the Blackhawks looked great out there and had a good game overall. Lets keep it up and take a chokehold 3-1 series lead on this wounded predator. Richards and Sharp just had lousy puck luck or the score was higher. We need Minny and St Louis to go seven and annihilate each other and it looks like that is in the cards. Bring it on.

  • April 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Actually like to see Bickell playing with Kane and Richards, 80-65-10 and reunite 16-11-86. If Vermette won 4 of 5 faceoffs, we need to keep him at the dot against this team.

  • April 19, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Heard Q say in the postgame that Carcillo is healthy now…. NOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • April 19, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    This team has more personalities than a teenager. Must drive Q crazy. Anyhow, really impressed with Hawk positioning, tenacity, and resilience. Virtually no space or time for any Pred plaver as game went on. Seemed like the Hawks had ten men on the ice. You could see the frustration on the Pred faces, “Who Are These Guys?” Fore and back checking were things of beauty.

  • April 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon.

  • April 19, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Jax, 48/you know it was a brunchfest start right.

  • April 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Father time. I do not believe a word of that Florida shit.

  • April 19, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Great game today and most encouraging performance we have seen in a while. Sitting 23 in order to get TT back in would be a good move from my perspective.
    Not sure where RFF is coming from. Real fans check this site multiple times a day because of the great insights Tab is able to provide. Another couple of games like today’s and the trade Crawford this summer gang will have some real fodder to work with.

  • April 19, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Elite defensive performance by just bout every skater and Darling. The shots that got through were centimeters from either post, and both wide open shots on the two worst defensive turds laid out there. All the 50 haters are getting proven right now, and it sucks, but he put up career numbers and has never been this consistently awful, nothing more to say, Darling is in control and looking like a champion. Without weber on the ice Toews makes the game look easy. Sucks for Nashville, it would be a lot sweeter to beat that guy. Game 4 will be a bloodbath. My poor liver.

  • April 19, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I may have been premature in my liking the trade for Vermette…. He has a lot of convincing to do and little time. Good for him the stakes are so high now.

    room him with 7 during playoffs

  • April 19, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Role players like Desjardins are critical in pursuit of Stanley Cup. We’ve seen enough examples in the years we won the Cup (’10 & ’13), from other teams (Kings 2x & Bruins mixed in there) rolling four lines, and in direct contrast last year’s Q obsession w/ Bollig and rolling only 3 lines. I have beem harping on Desjardins v. Nordstrom since Nordstrom got suspended and then injured for a reason. Desjardins knows how to carry himself out there, he’s a pro; Nordstrom doesn’t belong in the lineup unless 3 or 4 forwards get the flu (God forbid). Let’s hope once again we’ve seen the last of Nordstrom until the parade.

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    1. Awesome to see Desjardins on that 4th line and the goal. Size and decent speed and he fits in perfectly. Richards was throwing his weight around today good to see it.
    2. The lines seemed to be perfectly balanced today and each line gave the Pred’s little to no space and performed well. Pace was just fast enough and never really let up.
    3. Vermette will not be here next year, he looks a step slow if not two. He is weak in the corners and seems out of place and just not finding his groove or space on the ice. Twice i saw him pass the puck “backwards” instead of stepping up and carrying the puck offensively! The only thing I would do before I sent him home is pair him up with KANE that might give spark him. But he just doesn’t play with any speed or intensity again he played with Shane Doan and we a floater not a grinder.
    4. Sit Vermette and bring back TnT (Teuva) on that third line tuesday
    5. Sasquatch Mr. Darling played solid, again great control of the rebounds and really no slop in his movements. He starts again tuesday. Very well played and with his size he really is able to redirect rebounds wide to the corners, so no pucks in front of him.
    6. Defense looked good and the “odd couple” Rozy & Kimmo played okay, no one has 6 good defense men so they did a good job of resting the core.

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    R.D.- I’m in the same boat with Vermette. I have always liked his two way game as well as how he conducted himself as a player/teammate. I thought this was going to be an outstanding move for the Hawks, even though the cost for a rental player was high. I thought maybe if things went well,(deep run or even Cup) he might sign with Hawks for a cap friendly deal. I still have this feeling that if he could get the first one, he could relax and get on a roll. It is not for lack of effort. As you stated, time,(and Q’s patience) is running out.

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Tab, I gotta respectfully disagree with your assessment of Darling’s play. You have a rookie goalie making his first playoff start in his home town and ends it by leading all playoff goalies in GAA and save % and you say he could have been better? The goals against were legit (i.e., no softies). Go back and study what transpired immediately before the goals (a bad turnover led to Ribero all alone in front and a defensive zone face off loss and a pinpoint post to post rocket). Get real, Nashville is a good team with a good offense. The guy runs show on Rinne twice in the playoffs (3 times this year) and you think he should be better? He wasn’t perfect (like in game 1) but he was a difference maker on this game. You are just flat out wrong.

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Desjardins after SHAW got the punched in the face on the bench, told him (nbc camera) when they came back to the ice, “don’t even think about going after him, no dumb penalties lets just finish this out” not a direct quote but the message was sent. Smart guy and he hits but is always under control.

    Vermette while winning at the dot, i think Q and us Hawk fans want more! So Q throws out the Car Bomb comment to light yet another fire under him? This is the playoffs he is NOT playing hard, today i did not see one Hawks not playing hard except him? Don’t get it?

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Kudos to Q on inserting Desjardins for Nordstrom and putting Shaw on the 4th line. I agree with the TT for Versteeg change. Awesome 3rd period! Hawks really stifled the Preds. Not one grade A chance for them in the 3rd period.

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    80, hasn’t scored since Feb 14

    he is seldom on ice when any Hawk scores…today was very rare

    its bizarre..not sure about his faceoff pct, i doubt its 49

  • April 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    With all the talk about the Hawk goaltending I think the major story is how weak Rinne has looked. He has been fighting the puck all series after struggling a bit down the stretch of the regular season. The 4th line was excellent today and and I’m sure Desi will stay in the lineup on Tuesday. I am as disappointed as others with Vermette’s contribution but I still think we are better off with a more physical lineup so I hope we stick with the same group.

  • April 19, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Rundblad was very solid, no mistakes or turnovers. Okay dumb joke.

    I agree with mike and company above on vermette. This is not the Vermette from his Ottawa or Columbus years.

    Quenneville loves players who play with “pace” and that’s clearly not Vermette. I really thought the Hawks gave up too much for him. The 1st round pick was really hard to swallow.
    However I will say this. With Edmonton winning the lottery, There will be a real push by them to trade draft picks for proven NHL players at the draft. The same can be said about buffalo which will need goaltending and some veteran players. They have cap space, a deep pocketed owner and a bunch of draft picks. Again, a possible trade partner for Stan at the draft.

    On a positive note, desjardins was a really good underrated move and signing Darling was brilliant. Hard to believe Hawks might be headed to the final 8 and their goalie is not Crawford or Rantta.

    Good night all, looking forward to Tuesday.

  • April 19, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I agree with Jim about Darling…that was big time goaltending for those that watched carefully. His rebound control (covering up the puck or sending it to the corner) is far superior to that of Crawford, plus even though he is much bigger than CC, he gets back up out of the flop a lot quicker and right back into position. Plus, he is very quick post to post with his pads, which saved yet another goal today and likely three in game one. Any coach that wouldn’t put him right back in the net, would need to be second guessed.

    Good inserts with Vermette and Desjardins, much more effective than TT and Nordstrom because they both do so much besides play solid 5 on 5 hockey. Desi was one of our principal PK’s today and did a great job, besides scoring a goal and taking the body! Vermette was in good position all day today and strong at the dot. Plus, he is a good PKiller.

    I said this before the playoffs and I will repeat it, Richards hasn’t been good enough for a while, and he should sit with Vermette taking his spot and bring TT back into the lineup. The line of Richards, Versteeg and Kane has escaped a lot of trouble already and against better teams they will become a liability.

    Finally, for those talking about the Hawks defence doing an excellent job today, think again. We gave up 37 shots and a lot of power moves to the net. The Preds are fast and our D is SLOW! Way too many chances are being given up and this is going to be a problem unless we continue to get outstanding goaltending. There is a reason Crow gave up 9 goals in 4 periods, not all of it is on him! Darling has just been that good…we need to get faster and tougher on D. What our D did a much better job of today was positioning in their own end, resulting in fewer free Pred forwards for second and third chances, which has become the norm against us. Also, Darling’s rebound control was a key reason for this improvement as well.

    The Hawks haven’t won a thing yet and have benefited greatly from Fischer’s and Weber’s absences. If the Hawks are going to advance past the Preds and beat the winner of STL/MIN, then they must continue to get this goaltending, our forwards have to be even more responsible defensively and our defence must find another gear…we are losing almost every race to the puck in our own end and that’s going to result in even more goals sooner or later.

  • April 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    It was incredible that Q threw out Rozy on the first PP unit today on our first attempt. I know Q didn’t want to give up a SH goal, but Rozy was so slow it was like the Hawks were playing 4 on 4. Bad choice by Q in that situation as the Preds had the best chance to score and it killed any momentum we had and gave them some hope.

  • April 19, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Hawks are totally diluting one of the best d tandems in seabs/keith by splitting them up to pair with 32 and 44. If Q continues to use those two, we won’t win the cup. At least play only one per game. I in no way care for 26 or 5, but I ‘d rather see them than 32/44. Those two will be our demise this year.

  • April 19, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what Vermette’s deal is. The guy has done nothing since we got him. When the trade was announced he did not appear pleased about leaving the Yotes. His play since then has mirrored thst sentiment. U think with him being s UFA that he would be playing with more passion than he is displaying.

  • April 20, 2015 at 12:14 am

    I have high hopes for TT, like many Hawks fans, but the Hawks played pretty well as a team and so I wouldn’t change anything right now. Take it one game at a time and change nothing or as little as possible after a win.

    Back in Nov/Dec – the 23-91-88 line was playing very well together. he reason they were playing very well together was Kane was playing as well as he’s ever played and 23 and 91 were reaping the rewards – but they put themselves in position to do so. Kane is not back to that level yet, but I can’t blame Q for trying to re-ignite that line. Hopefully now that Kane has played three games he is closer to getting back to game speed. It’s a gamble and it looks like a bad play right now, but if the gamble pays off and Kane gets back to Superman mode, than the 23-91-88 line has a chance to be a very big headache for the oppostion with 20-19-81 playing so well. But trying something new – like Vermette or TT on that line is a gamble too and I think it would be an even bigger gamble than showing patience with 23-91-88.

  • April 20, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Surprised no one has commented on the amount of high, stick-side shots that were taken on Rinne. although, those shots weren’t necessarily the ones going in, they seemed to be giving him a bit of trouble and will surely lead to rebound opportunities if it continues. A lot of invisible players on the ice tonight, but that also means no one appeared to have a noticeably awful game either. I don’t have a strong preference who comes out, but I would like to have 86 back in for game 4

  • April 20, 2015 at 4:59 am

    I think the Car bomb comment was for Shaw and no one else.

    What 44/32 did was play about as well as they have played all year. 44 is slow but he took the body and tried to be more physical today than I have seen. He played over 10 minutes. 32 got over 19, but played well. That is what we need so the other four dmen can be somewhat fresh at the end of games.

    I wasn’t unhappy with going back to Crawford after G1, and understood the reasons, but Darling played well enough to stay in net. After G3, there is no way to go back to Crawford until Darling loses. This is the playoffs, I don’t care who makes what money. Take the wins where you can.

    The first line was amazing all night. 81 gets a pass, but I wonder what 25 said/did to him to get him to react like that. The Hawks best motivation might be to win the series so Stalberg has to sit through the playoffs after the first round…again.

  • April 20, 2015 at 6:30 am

    Totally agree with Vermette comments-
    there was one shift where he needed to go in deep in the defensive zone to help out one of his d-men and he did the half effort curl instead of going right to the puck-is he hurt-pissed, or not used to competing at this level?
    Like 11 he should have been chomping at the bits-
    If this is what he’s got you swallow hard over the first pick, move on and put in TT
    (he can be used only for injury purposes)

  • April 20, 2015 at 7:09 am

    ok… i didnt see it asked… so, i guess Darling is in on Tuesday?

    Crow maybe gets the Call in game 5, if we win in game 4… That would give us “wiggle room” and maybe let crow get his feet back under him. But i cant see a situation where 50 is in net tomorrow.

    I love 11. He will stay in the lineup over 42. I would like to see TT get in over Versteeg. He’s just not doing “enough”. and i would keep 80 in over 23 even with the less than steller game from 80.

    Thats what id roll out there.

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Happy to see the TOI for the forwards being balanced out nicely so as not to burn anyone out. The defence TOI is a little concerning but all teams are doing that with their D. I’m sure Subban and Suter have higher TOI than Keith and Pietrangelo numbers are comparable

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Great to be back at UC watching playoff hockey. It ratchets up a notch in intensity and both Hawks and the crowd were ready. Having been at Fridays game and having some nice lower bowl seats I have to say that my UC Club level location at 231/232 which are higher up give a much better view of the ice and plays developing. Closer you get to the ice for what you gain in seeing on ice intensity, you give up a lot in being able to see the bigger picture of whats happening as plays develop. Just my 2 cents. Hawks blitz in the 2nd had the UC cooking with intensity especially after Seabs blast went in. I just love it when that happens. More please game 4?

    Getting the lead was important yesterday as It I guess in any game. Giving it back twice in a row within 1 minute was frustrating that the Hawks can’t bear down and keep that momentum rolling. I was in awe of Hossa leaping over Preds defender and almost potting a shorty early in the 1st. Had that gone in the place would have been up for grabs. Father time my ass, Hoss has plenty left in the tank imo. What a play!!

    I may be nuts but watching the faceoff closely yesterday, it sure looked like Preds face off guys were not putting sticks to the ice before the puck dropped. Isn’t the linesman supposed to boot visitor guys from the circle, if they don’t do that? Despite that observation Hawks won the battle at the dot yesterday which was a big plus and something we can only hope becomes a trend.

    Insertion of Desjardins was 2 games too late. He is a smart veteran player that knows what kind of game to bring to playoffs. While I like positive development of Nordstrom, 11 should be skating on that 4th. Nordy’s time will come. Like the rest of you, I have been waiting patiently for Vermette to step up his game, and sadly apart from face-offs won yesterday, he needs to do more in my eyes. I think Q will probably keep switching TT and Vermette, but yesterdays forward combos were ok with me given the effort they put on the ice.

    Hawks need better zone clears. Preds forecheck is pretty relentless and combined with an employed trap makes it tough for Hawks to get any speed into neutral zone with numbers.

    Darling fine yesterday. Rinne is not fully on his game. Hawks went high with almost everything especially blocker side. While Rinne was out to cut angle with Saad goal he left a gaping hole blocker side that Saad found. Q I am sure sticks with Darling next game.

    Ribero always has been, and always will be a bum.

    Enjoy a huge game 3 victory Monday everyone.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Astute comments B and B. Well said.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

    re: Jim Smith – don’t get me wrong. Love me some Scott Darling. But his rebound control before Saad’s goal could have been better.

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

    re: Mike the Mook’s comment from Desjardins talking Shaw out of being stupid – another reason he needs to be in the lineup for the rest of the series.

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I floated an question on another post but thought I would re-raise here. There is a lot of teeth-gnashing over the flaws of this team. But, seriously, which team in the playoffs isn’t flawed. I don’t see any 800 LB gorilla out there that looks unbeatable. Montreal has Price, the Blues are solid top to bottom, the Wild have gotten their act together, the Rangers look good but even they disappear from time to time – they looked pretty bad in game 2 vs. the Penguins. Like they just expected to run over Pittsburgh without much effort. Who else does that sound like?

    I know everyone wants to play armchair GM and prove that “hey, look at me, I was right!!!” but this team is what it is, flaws and all. Besides, pick a team, any team that you would take 2, 4 and 7 and swap with their top 3 d-men.

    I think we all quickly forget how fickle this game is. We’ve been on both ends of it before – in 2010, game 5 vs. the Preds, Hossa gets a 5 minute major while we are down a goal and Kane scores the game-tying goal with an empty net and we win it in OT. We don’t get that goal, going back to Nashville down 3 games to 2, we may not get out of that round, no cup run and Hossa is labelled as an elite talent who can’t perform in the playoffs. Last year we are one deflected puck away from going to the Final again.

    This is our team, warts and all. They have a shot at a cup run just as much as any other team in either conference. Can’t wait for game 4 and hopefully break the will of the Preds once again. Let’s go hawks!

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Excellent game yesterday. The 1st line was a force on both ends of the ice. Toews showed why he is one of the elite players in the league. Without Weber Nashville is going to have issues matching up. Josi and Set Jones were – 3, they aren’t going to win with that level of execution. Give PREDS credit they battled.
    Is their a bigger penis on either team then Ribero? What a total Dbag. That being said he was one of the best players for the PREDS.

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Agree with everyone on Desjardin. He is a must in the lineup going forward. I think Bickell is having an impact out there. Anyone else agree? He is hitting people and you can tell he is looking for the chance to hit even more. I would like to see him out there with Kane to try to give Kane some more space. I thought Darling did fine and he should stay in there. Great game by Toews. Nashville does not have an answer for the Hawks first line. GO HAWKS.

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Yes I agree Tab and MTM if 11 can help on the ice and the bench that is fantastic

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

    thanks Tab for the comment . . . Yes he settles it down, he plays hard but in control.
    go hawks

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Richards is playing okay, he will be up and down a little but as i said earlier I saw him take a few big runs, physical play which is not his strong suit. He wont sit nor will Shaw these third tier players will have ups and down games but both playing good enough to start!

    AND YES to stick side, I hate the glove side on 99% of goaltenders it’s the strong side. The blocker /stick side is a tuff shot but it’s the shot ALL players should use, glove side is the sucker shot, when your playing glove side looks like an open net . . . NOT!

    Also Pecker-Riny 5 hole like Darlings is big when you get him to go down, big guy and those pads don’t close up like Quicks or Price. And head shots to me are always a good idea, get him to duck, flinch just a little, often has impact late in the game.

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I agree Pete. Bickell is not just putting a body on opposing players. He is really driving through the checks, and is pasting Preds. Cumulative effect is all good for the Hawks as guys don’t want to make plays or if they do the passes get rushed and result in turnovers. Preds D should be pounded mercilessly while Webber sits. What we have here is Bickell being playoff Bickell from an engagement standpoint. Now if we can get some scoring from 29….

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

    it is imperative that the 4th line not only forecheck as they do but also be able to at times score and put pressure on the goaltender! 11 does that, he helps Marcus not to give up his body so much and really frees up Shaw who has some good outside speed and skill that is not being seen yet. Shaw is showing small signs of offensive growth in my view.

    When they can forecheck and take time off the clock Hawks do well, when the 4th line can get quality shots on net ot even score Hawks Win.

    The other lines are a Vitamix of hot cold, old and emerging talent. I still strongly feel that SADD needs a line where he leads not follows, YES he is productive anywhere but he needs to own it! I would even try Vermette at wing to just get him in the mix of a scoring line and sacrifice his “dot” work a center, Or as i say put him with KANE.

    I would get TnT in here some how and also Rhunblad, this playoff season is growth season all year long we blab about AHL which is not when players really really develop, it’s the playoffs so get them in there! So invest in them!

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:26 am

    80 always says the things that make you think his head and heart are in the right place. I really felt the SO winner he had would fuel something. It never did. This was the 3rd time he has been moved in season, and late at that, and he previously did well in his new locale, so who knows.

    91 was taken to task here at the beginning of the season for not producing. Richards went 3-9-12 in his 20 game intro that drew the ire of some. Vermette has turned in 0-3-3 in 20. I hope he finds a way to contribute, he seems anything but selfish or disinterested. Now is the time when he can turn it quickly in his favor. If Q grants the chance.

    TOI is surely skewed a bit with the 2OT opener but…it’s worth noting our top 4D are all in the top16 in minutes, and that’s with Rosy hitting 19mins twice already! Keith and Josi are tops league above 30.

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:28 am

    top FW ~ Ribiero, Getzlaf Backstrom….and Saad

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Thanks Phil for the comment. I was wondering if others were seeing Bickell’s play the same way I was.

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I like the comments…really feel 11 has to stay in the lineup and that 80 has to, as well. Something has to break good for him (80); if the brass didn’t think he could be a strong contributor they wouldn’t have brought him in. I think they have to keep him on the ice.

    Also want to get 86 back in for game 4 and would endorse sitting 23. For any of ‘yoose’ who aren’t strong on 86…he’s 20 years old! It’s going to take awhile for it to come but I really think it will.

    If the comment on Carcillo was really made…please no!

    Go Hawks…let’s go up 3-1!

  • April 20, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Brandon Saad is pretty much my hero. You knew he was going to score on that partial breakaway. I’m glad Josi took a crap line and didn’t try to force him wide, then again I feel like Saad had another gear left so maybe that’s why Josi took the line he did.

    Hard call on Crow. I don’t necessarily think that Darling is playing great (outside of game one and he still seemed to be leaving rebounds all over), but I do think the team is playing significantly better in front of him. The team always seems to focus better when Crow isn’t in the net, I would assume because they don’t want to rely on the goaltending as much as they do with Crow there.

    Ribiero is a penis. That was smart of him to take a penalty at the end of the game to avoid the wrath of the Flying Shaw. Speaking of Shaw. Shaw on wing is so good. Whyyyyyy does he play center?

    I couldn’t help but be reminded of 2010 when the Hawks were closing out the game on the power play. If Nashville knew how to do that back then, the series would have looked a lot different.

    After being justifiably mean to Rozsival after the first two games, he was significantly better yesterday. He turned the puck over 20 second into the game, but after that he has a pretty good game.

    I expect the Hawks to change their zone exit strategy. They’ve been going with the reverse around the boards but Nashville is anticipating that and have a forechecker ready to go on the other side of the ice. High off the glass or through the middle of the ice would be my guess. I think I only saw it once yesterday where the defensemen had the puck in the D zone and there wasn’t a forward to be seen to release, so that’s good.

  • April 20, 2015 at 10:09 am

    to Chevrier’s question about 800-lb gorillas…

    Every team has issues. St. Louis has questions in net, and their “leaders” have struggled to perform w/ money on the table. Minnesota has great leadership, but the fear there is that Dubnyk wakes up at some point. Every series in the Western Conference is wide open. Great reminder that the game gives and takes every year. Let’s just hope those bounces favor the Hawks this spring… but let’s also hope that those things the Blackhawks can control they handle like champions.

  • April 20, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Has anyone else noticed that 23 in the defensive end often cheats off of the half boards, which often leads to a non-exit? Anyone with better positioning coaching background have a reply. I would love to hear your comments.

  • April 20, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Looks like Darling for game 4. Why not, he has earned it. Wall… your point and a little pre-mature. If Darling continues to shine……Darling/Raanta to save about $5mm

    Bickell does not look like playoff Bickell to me. Yes he is adding a little physicality to his game. But, his passing, receiving and puck control are all lacking. He is simply not “making the play” It wouldn’t break my heart to see TT in for Bicks.

  • April 20, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Agree with all comments about 23. He should sit. Period. Bring back 86 on that line. As far as 80 is concerned, I think he’s worth keeping in the mix, even though he seems a bit distracted. I’ve always liked his game and enjoyed watching him play with AZ. Something’s up, though not sure what it is. I know his wife is pregnant and I thought I read somewhere that she had a difficult first pregnancy, so perhaps that’s causing some worries for him. Can anyone confirm that?? I like the guy and would love to see him contribute.

  • April 20, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Mike- The problem ( I guess it’s a good problem) is if SD continues to play well (win or lose)… and Crow doesn’t get net back… or gets net back after a Hawk Loss… and CC doesn’t play well… the trade value/market shrinks in a Big way!!! and that has a negative impact for the Hawks near future

    MtM- I probably shouldn’t say it… (I was going to earlier- but didn’t want to Jinx SD)
    The 5 hole has been an issue with SD (only couple times has he looked/bad/off all year were 5 Hole issues)… SD has looked 100% better in making conscious/coached effort to Shut that 5 hole early… when he drops to his knees… especially from shots from outside the dots… to me this is great coaching/and epiphany for a goalie of his size to realize that with his “leg wing span at 6’6″ tall” and if on a proper/good angle to the shooter outside the dots… there should be nowhere on the ice for that puck to get past him… (excluding crazy bounces of #7’s skates , etc.)… so don’t Over-react…

    As much as I thought Emery was a crappy goalie… He did understand the concept of “not panicking/spreading legs/ “Turco-iing” on the ice ” when you lose sight/ or puck takes a weird bounce/deflection. Emery was good at staying calm/still/Trying to stay as big as possible.

  • April 20, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    About a month – 6 weeks ago we were all on the ledge with Kaner out and we couldn’t beat anyone convincingly and we looked “average”. This team plays better when the heats on and there is a purpose for winning.

    I am looking forward to watching the Blues and the Wild KILL each other tonight. Let them pound each other through the boards and get to a game 7. The same with Winnipeg and the Ducks. Let’s win this series in 5 and rest up. This should be a nice, long cup run.

  • April 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    @ Reg Good comment. The Hawks need to take care of business and let those other Central foes best the snot out of each other.

    Curious to see Winnipeg host a playoff game in a long time. They’ve played well but are down 0-2, curious to see them make it a series. Watched the NUCKS v flames. Kevin Beiska gives Ribero a run for biggest Penis on skates with a flying head shot to one of the young flames and then later starts pummeling another flame after the game ends.

  • April 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Disagree with the start 86, sit 23 sentiments. I understand 86 is a future top 6 player, but right now he’s not. Outside of the one pass he made to Hjalmarsson, he hasn’t done anything.

    I would, however try anyone for Timonem, if only for game 4. That way it gives him rest, gives an opportunity for someone to strive, and allow Q to dictate the matchups for him.

  • April 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Southside…….the entire Canuck team is full of Douche Bags! I thought that a coaching change would change their attitude, but they are just sore losers!!

    Bieksa starts punching a much smaller Calgary player because he was tired of getting hit every time he touched the puck. After the Hawks, I am a fan of whoever beats the Canucks!!

  • April 20, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Chevrier/Dunlop, that’s the thing. There might not be as big a gap between the top3 teams (like there was in 13 or in 14) and the other top teams and good teams but that doesn’t mean which ever team is automatically better then whoever or were not as good just because of that. I still see it as the same, with not as big of gap. The Blackhawks are a top3 team, again. You guys said it every team has areas there not as strong in.

  • April 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    ‘Bieksa starts punching a much smaller player.’ When it seems things are different, things stay the same. What a bunch of Flatlanders.

  • April 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    To continue on Bieksa, I remember a few years ago when he jumped Stalberg (who’s not a fighter) just like he did to the Calgary kid last night. I don’t ever remember Bieksa going toe to toe with anyone, he only fights when he can jump & surprise the other guy.

    Bieksa = Cowardly Lion

  • April 20, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Bieksa isn’t going to get any love here but that was alot about the previous game and the line brawl that Ferland was front and center in. Not that it was solely on him however. It’s Van/Cal….if fans arent staying up to see it, they should be. I wait all year for playoffs & bad blood. Make mine a double!

    btw, KB and Mayers had a good one a few years ago in the UC

  • April 21, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Yeah – go Calgary. Canucks still have some d-bags no doubt. I watched a little of that game and saw (1) Hamhuis lineup the rookie Bennett behind the net for a shoulder to the head. A little bit later Burrows crosschecks a player into the boards and then lastly Bieksa jumps Ferland and throws three or four punches before Ferland even knew he was in a fight. Typical Canuck d-bag players doing d-bag plays. Nothing new.

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