Alright now that I got that out of the way, what a game! I've been going to games for a long time, but I've never been to one that exciting. I sat on the glass, through a series of events that I'm still waiting to wake up from. That's for a different post though (and trust me, it'll need a separate post for all the pictures I got).
So pregame was pretty ridiculous. There was a buzz throughout the stadium like I haven't seen in a long time. I don't know if it was excitement or nerves about the large investment they all just made in hopes of seeing a sweeping Western Conference clincher. Probably both.
The Hawks came out slow in the first few minutes (this is my surprised face). The Sharks were outshooting them 6-1 after the first 15 minutes of the game. Then the Hawks realized they were in a hockey game. By the end of the period, shots were 8-7 Hawks. Logan Couture got the only marker of the period when he continued his attempt to have more playoff goals than regular season goals (final tally: 5 regular season, 3 playoffs).
Skip ahead to 7:30 into the 2nd period. Hawks go to the power play. Besides the usual awful happenings when the Hawks have an extra guy on the ice that just absolutely perplexes us, Dunc got hit in the yapper with a clearing attempt. He lost 7 teeth on the play and headed straight to the bench. So that left Sharp and Toews back to defend a 3 on 2 because what do we need stinkin defensemen for when we're on the powerplay??? Marleau got the goal, since he's the only guy wearing teal who decided to show up for the entire series (AND I CAN HARDLY IMAGINE WHY THAT WOULD BE THE CASE (ca-ching)).
In an effort to cut down the lead while simultaneously making me laugh my ass off, Seabrook scored. It wasn't even like he scored from the point though. Dude was both below and inside the dots and wristed it towards Nabby before it trickled in. I think it either was Nabokov or one of his defensemen who got the final touch on it, which is HILARIOUS because...its Seabrook scoring here people...that just doesn't happen. It was originally ruled no goal, but the NBC camera guy proved that there is some good about NBC's hockey coverage and told us right away that he saw it cross the line on his little tv monitor.
Bolly tied the game just before the end of the second period. He picked up the puck down low behind the net and was given all the room in the world to skate out and beat Nabokov on his glove side. I don't know how you can leave a guy wide open like that. Maybe its because he's so little and easy to play against, right Jumbo Joe? (seriously dude, screw you. Love, little guys everywhere like me and Bolly.)
Of course it wouldn't be a Blackhawks playoff game if Buff didn't do something great. For one brief moment, the power play solved its identity crisis as Kane played some give and go with Toews before dishing to Buff in front of the net for the redirect. From then on, it was all Hawks. The Sharks had some life in them when they were up, and even played well tied. But it was all over once the fat man sang. Versteeg put the final nail in the coffin with the empty netter.
Niemi made some key stops throughout the game, but nothing that really deserves a History Will Be Made commercial (but we'll probably get one anyways...). Again, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse by saying he played to exactly what was expected of the Hawks goalie. Bend, but don't break. You don't need to be perfect, just be good. Just please don't poop the bed for 4 of the next 7.
The Hawks are headed to their first Stanley Cup since I was 2 years old. I thought this day would never come. This team has disappointed me more times than I can count. "Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!" 4 more wins, boys.
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