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Blackhawks DL - A Chicago Blackhawks blog | Page 25

Odds And Ends For Your Blackhawks Off Day

Written by Andrew Bernier on .



A few random things today that weren't big enough for separate posts:

  • Dale Tallon is replacing Randy Sexton as GM of the Florida Panthers.  This is awesome pretty much all around.  I have been a big fan of DT.  He took a team that absolutely nobody wanted to play for and built it into what you see on the ice today.  Sure, he overpaid for Khabi and signed guys like Aucoin and Cullimore and LaPointe, but that's what it took to get anyone to play here.  He eventually made fantastic trades for guys like Versteeg and Sharp (remember Bochenski and Vandermeer? Yeah...we win.)  His drafting was very good.  I still think he handled free agents well.  It wasn't easy to show Marty Havlat the door, but he did it.  Campbell is paid market price and we've all seen how sucky the Hawks are without him moving the puck up ice.  In summation, I hope DT gets the money that he needs to turn it around in Florida.  The Panthers are usually not big spenders, but I think Dale can create a winning team through trading and drafting.  Note to Stan Bowman: don't make trades with Florida. You will get fleeced.
  • The ratings are in and....drumroll please.......the Hawks-Sharks game 1 had some excellent ratings.  They beat out the Cubs on WGN, Sox on CSN, and the Magic-Celtics playoff game on ABC COMBINED in the Chicago market.  Try and say this city doesn't care about this team.  Go ahead. I dare you. I will fight you.
  • Kane is okay.  There was a few minutes there where everyone was all like ZOMG KANE GOT A BOO-BOO!!111! He only missed one shift and finished the game without showing signs of any pain.  He was asked a few questions about it today and was all like LOLZ STFU N00Bz.
  • Niemi is one strange dude.  I don't know if its just that some stuff gets lost in translation or if its because goalies are weird people, but there's something off about him.  Mentally, he is just on another level compared to everyone else.  He may or may not be a robot. Whatever. Just keep getting in front of pucks you strange man.

You Shall Not Pass: Hawks Take 1-0 Series Lead

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

I'm convinced that the Hawks are trying to kill us all.  I might have a massive coronary by the end of the playoffs.  In typical Blackhawk fashion, San Jose scored the first goal of the game.  God forbid the Hawks just hold a lead throughout an entire game JUST ONCE.  But whatever, its the score at the end that counts.  The Sharks got some great chances early in the game and converted on one that might not have gone in had it not glanced off the tree trunks that Duncan Keith calls legs.

The second period could have been the most entertaining period of hockey I have ever seen.  The play was wide open; the goalies were fantastic.  Sharp got a goal on a rush that Nabokov probably never saw thanks to the bodies that were flying at the net.

Duncan Keith had a fantastic game.  He was completely dominant against the Thornton line.  That was the Norris candidate we all know and love.

Holy crap Niemi.  Player of the game.  Nemo played the best game of his career and bailed out the defense several times.  The biggest was a diving cross-crease snag he made with the glove.  The Hawks won't win the series if they force him to play like that every game, but it was nice to have the goalie steal a game.

The 4th line was really encouraging.  They sustained offensive pressure throughout the game and established a solid cycle.  They don't need to score to be effective.  Eager was flying around the ice hitting everything that moved.  As long as they don't start taking dumb penalties, we'll be okay having them play keep away for 5 to 7 minutes per game at even strength.

Speaking of penalties, the calls were quite lopsided.  The Hawks took 5 penalties, which were all pretty legitimate.  The refs made an oopsies by sending Versteeg to the box on Bolland's penalty.  I'm thinking the Hawks will get a few chances on the power play in the next few games.  Some marginal Shark penalties went overlooked, which I'm actually okay with.  The penalty box mixup was the only big error by the refs.  I think I'm really just complaining about the Sharks playing disciplined.

All in all, this is shaping up to be an incredible series between two high powered teams.  I look forward to game 2.

Is It Sunday Yet? Blackhawks vs Sharks Series Preview

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

I'd meant to do this sooner, but couldn't quite get into it just yet.

There's little to say about a Blackhawks/Sharks Western Conference Final. The teams have never really faced each other in the postseason before. They have plenty of shared history between them from coaches and players that were associated with both teams. They both have demons that need vanquishing. They're both considered the class of the NHL. And for the most part, the makeup of both teams is pretty similar.

Goalies:

The Sharks will be going with their soon-to-be-UFA goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who has been up and down so far in the playoffs, shitting the bed a few times but also playing magnificently at other times. When he's on, he's on, but he's liable to also have a clunker of a game sometimes-- and it'll help the Hawks to take advantage of those moments.

Thomas Greiss will be backing Nabokov up, but we can only wish to see him because it means Nabokov fucked up. It's happened once, during the lone Sharks loss against the Wings, but considering the way Nabokov rebounded afterward with a 33-save performance, any collapse during a game is not likely to carry over to the next.

Defensemen:

Though not quite as stellar a lineup as Nashville boasts, the Sharks come pretty damn close to having a solid blue line. Rob Blake and  Marc-Edouard Vlasic will lead the way and they've been functioning primarily as a shut-down pair, although Blake does spend plenty of time on the power play. Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray, a slightly more offensive pair, make up the Sharks' second pair. Boyle is the Sharks' most offensively-inclined defenseman (say what you will of his own-goal against the Avs, but he recovered quite well from that nightmare, which says a lot, I think), and there was even some talk of him being included among other blueliners for Norris consideration. He and Blake are able to balance their more defensively-oriented partners, which is somewhat similar to the way the Hawks' blue line is built.

Kent Huskins and Jason Demers round out the Sharks' defense corps, and I wish I knew more about them than what their stat lines tell me. I remember Demers as the guy some Hawk ran past for one of the 3 shorthanded goals in San Jose during the regular season, but I know very little about Huskins. They're seeing around 12/13 minutes per game and are the Sharks' defensemen with minus ratings, but Demers somehow has 4 assists on even strength.

Forwards:

It is in their offensive game that the Sharks truly shine, though. Whereas in previous years there have been knocks on the Sharks' best players disappearing during the second season, that hasn't been the case this year. Adding Dany Heatley to the lineup and stripping Patrick Marleau of his captaincy seems to be the remedy-- the line has been fairly strong in the regular season and, though not quite as dominant, are still solid in the playoffs, to the surprise of everyone who wondered where they disappeared to during the Olympics.

Then there's Joe Pavelski, the Sharks' candidate for Conn Smythe should they advance to the Finals. Nobody knows quite what happened but Pavelski injected some serious life in the Sharks after some pretty disheartening games against the Avalanche, and they haven't really looked back since. Pavelski actually has more goals than the line of Thornton-Marleau-Heatley combined, which makes the Sharks' offense quite difficult to match up against.

The third line will be made up of Manny Malhotra, Torrey Mitchell, and Logan Couture, and quite frankly these are all the lines you need to know-- McLellan likes rolling just three lines anyway. It'll be up to Quenneville to match line per line, and orchestrate the match-ups most favorable for the Hawks, but he'll definitely have his work cut out for him in this department.

Special Teams:

Some previews have said that with the way both teams are so evenly matched, this series could very well come down to special teams, which worries me a little.

Granted, Chicago's PP% is above San Jose's, but the Sharks are the only team with a perfect kill against the Hawks during the regular season. (Granted, we did score 3 shorties against the Sharks, but that's another topic altogether...) Besides that, I suspect the Hawks' power play is skewed slightly by the stinkbomb that was the Canucks' PK. Both teams' kills are fairly strong as well, which makes Chicago's work on the power play that much harder.

The Sharks are also pretty good on the dot, leading the league in faceoffs during the regular season and continuing on with their domination during the postseason. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have faltered with faceoffs after a pretty strong record pre-playoffs. Faceoff wins usually dictate who controls the puck, and that plays into the strength of a team's puck possession game. This is something the Blackhawks have to work on, especially since, as shots for and against and CORSI ratings will tell you, the Hawks' puck control has stopped being as dominant as it was this season.

Bold Prediction:

Joe Pavelski and Kris Versteeg are identical twins separated at birth following their parents' divorce. They accidentally meet in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and, after spending some time in the penalty box, realize they have more in common than they thought. They begin plotting to reunite their estranged parents, with Joe going back as a Blackhawk and Kris taking his place as a Shark. Hijinks ensue.

Now That That's Over With: Game 6 Recap

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Wow. That game had everything.  Niemi played great; Bolland continued his awesome series; I got to call Shane O'Brien a douchenozzle after he scored.  It was definitely a win for Chicago last night.

First period started off fast & furious (no, there was not a Vin Diesel sighting. He's still trying to act his way out of a paper bag).  The Hawks were getting a lot of great chances that they couldn't convert on.  Buff and Hossa decided to try this new shot: its like a wraparound that doesn't wrap.  It looked like Luongo was on his game and it could turn out to be on of THOSE nights where the Hawks run into a brick wall in goal.

As I was returning from my beer run I heard screaming from my house.  Thankfully, my family was not being held hostage.  Troy Brouwer scored driving to the net on a nice re-direct.  Wow, who could possibly have predicted THAT? (A: I did).  Versteeg got a goal just a few seconds later so that he could get his beard some tv time.  Seriously, that is one heck of a beard from a guy who isn't really all that masculine.  I expected him to be singing Justin Bieber online before growing a beard like that.

Bolland picked up a shorty just before 2nd intermission so that the Canucks could see their eminent demise during the 17 minute break.  Shane O'Brien must have been at the Roxy during break because he clearly didn't get the memo.  He cut the lead back to two goals about 3 minutes into the final frame.  But as time ticked down, the hope for the Canucks began to fade.  Kane and Buff came in and twisted the dagger by adding goals less than 30 seconds apart.  Luongo completed the transformation to LOLongo and that was all she wrote.  5-1 Hawks.

In a complete 180 from the earlier games, this one hardly had any penalties.  The Hawks took 2: Brouwer for hi-sticking and Dunc for breaking someones stick on a slash.  The Canucks, during play that mattered, didn't have any penalties.  Samuelsson took a hook and a cross check with about 8 minutes left, but by then it was all over except for the handshakes.  He probably just wanted to skew the numbers with his 10 minute misconduct.

Niemi looked really good in net.  He wasn't perfect, but it was damn close.  Anyone else feeling confident about this kid moving forward?

AV (because I still can't spell that last name) tried all night to keep the Sedins away from Keith and Seabrook.  I think it should have been Davey Bolland he was worrying about.  Bolly had a great game defensively.  He went 10 for 17 on faceoffs, good for 59%.  I'm really glad he's started to put it together for the first time since having back surgery.

Thanks to Benched Whale for being a great opponent (and helping me with random issues I've been having on the site).  Same goes for all the Canuck fans who I've talked to in the past week and a half.  Its been nothing but respect both ways.  We've had fun with the trash talk and everything without it breaking down into stupid name calling and trolling.  I think this has been the best playoff series in my fan experience from that perspective.  You guys are always welcome back and if you want to root for the Hawks from here on out, you are more than welcome.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go book Bobby Lu a tee time.

Shenanigans! Game 6 Preview

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Game Time: 8:30 PM CST

TV/Radio: CSN, Versus, CBC, RDS / WIND 560 AM

Hey Farva what's the name of that restaurant you like with all the goofy shit on the walls and the mozzarella sticks?

Okay now that I got that obligatory quote out of the way... I hope to see plenty of goofy shenanigans on the ice tonight.  Outside of being highly entertaining (calling SOB a douchenozzle is always good for a few laughs), its proven to be effective when the Hawks decide that they want to go out and play a "gritty" game.  I'm not saying the Hawks need to start taking shots at guys after whistles.  The exact opposite actually.  They need to go back to making the plays that caused the Canucks to shoot themselves in the foot.

One of the biggest differences in the games in Vancouver and game 5, was Byfuglien.  I hate putting so much emphasis on one player because hockey is the ultimate team game, but that man threw the entire Canucks team out of whack for 2 games by going to the net.  Game 5 was back to the same old play from him.  He didn't have a bad game (compared to the rest of the Hawks), but putting his ass in front of Luongo is just so much more effective.  We need more drive to the net from him and several other players.  Who knows if Brouwer will be back tonight (LINEUP YAHTZEE!).  If he is, I want him to be pissed off and in front of the net.  Kopecky too.  Keep earning that contract that you didn't play up to until after the Olympics.

Toews is making it pretty evident that he will win a cup at some point in his career.  The guys at Hockeenight have said it plenty: its not a matter of if, but when.  He's tied with Crosby for most points in the playoffs and has played one less game.  Putting him and Kane together on a line with Buff's fat ass has been paying more dividends than Exxon Mobil (awww poor finance joke, but they paid out dividends today).

Marian Hossa. Not a strong couple of games from him.  Dude, stop taking penalties.  He's one of the best PKers for the Hawks, but when he's in the box it doesn't do them any good.  Seems like he's trying to hard.  Needs to relax and get back to fundamentals.  Get pucks on net and good things will happen.

Nemo needs to keep doin what he's been doin.  It hasn't been spectacular play lately, but he's kept the team in it for the most part.  We've been saying all year that that is all we should expect out of whatever man is in net for the Hawks.  He does not need to be an amazing goalie behind this team.  Just limit the bad ones and make a big save a few times. The defense can handle the rest.  He's not a perfect goalie and probably won't toss goose eggs on the board all night in Vancouver.  Doesn't have to as long as the offense can solve Luongo tonight.

Show me the shenanigans so we can lock this one up.  Let's Go Hawks.

The Best Laid Schemes o' Mice an' Men Gang Aft Agley: Vancouver Cuts Series Deficit to 3-2

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

According to Google, "gang aft agley" is Scottish for, roughly, "go to shit", which is what happened last night. The Blackhawks still lead the series 3-2, but they could have closed the door to the Canucks' season and instead decided to use the tactics that they'd pushed the Canucks to do to lose. They took stupid penalties. They ran at Canucks players. They got rattled when their game started going south. Their power play went back to looking like a pee wee penalty kill. (Hyperbolic analogy, but humor me here.)

It didn't start that way, though. The Blackhawks came out strong, but Luongo was determined to force a game 6. Then the Hawks allowed Ehrhoff a shot from the blue line, and it sailed past Antti Niemi's glove. There were a couple more chances on the Hawks' side, but Wellwood broke out and, on a 2-on-1, sent the puck Kevin Bieksa's way. He tapped it in for a 2-0 lead heading into the second period, where halfway through he netted the Canucks another one. The Blackhawks wouldn't find the back of the net until a Jonathan Toews tally with 7 minutes left in the 3rd-- by then it was too late. Alexandre Burrows managed himself another empty netter, and the Hawks ended the night down 4-1.

Notes:

  • If it makes you feel any better, winning 4 in a row was a tall order to begin with, especially in this season's playoffs. That being said, here are a couple of numbers:
    • 142-101: All-time Game 5 record of teams leading series 3-1
    • 2-4: 2009-10 Game 5 record of teams leading series 3-1, including last night
    • 221-22: All-time series record of teams with 3-1 leads
    • 4-1: 2009-10 series record of teams with 3-1 leads
  • I'm not sure what it is about home ice in this round, but it's looking like both teams are adverse to it.
  • There were a couple of injuries to Canucks players last night-- According to reports, Sami Salo got a ruptured testicle after a Duncan Keith shot hit him. Ouch. Shane O'Brien needed 9 stitches on his forehead (I think) after Dustin Byfuglien's stick clipped him on the follow-through. Ouch again. Daniel Sedin had to go to the locker room after what was apparently a nasty slash by Dave Bolland. I didn't see what happened, though my friend did, and from where we sat it looked like it was a run-of-the-mill thing that shouldn't have hurt Daniel Sedin as much as it did, but of course we don't have the benefit of replay and other Hawks fans who saw it are saying otherwise. For the record, I don't approve of douchebaggery, not even from players of my own team. Agitating is one thing, but being a dick is another.
  • All night I was waiting for the line of Sharp, Hossa and Kopecky to explode. They had plenty of chances, but nothing to show for it, which is unfortunate because Sharp and Kopecky have both been having a really strong postseason. Who'd have thought Hossa would be leading the team in penalty minutes?
  • It's gonna be a long layover between now and game 6. Hockey gods help us all.

Who Thought It Would Come to This? Canucks at Blackhawks Game 5 Preview

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

To ask whether there's any fight left in the Vancouver Canucks is absurd-- of course there is.

To ask whether there's enough mental fortitude left in the Vancouver Canucks to claw their ways out of a 3-1 series deficit, however-- there's a better question.

I have to say I was as surprised as any other Canucks fan when I watched the Canucks let the Blackhawks get to their heads after Game 2-- they took selfish penalty after selfish penalty in game 3 and, despite lip service about a more disciplined game, they did the exact same thing in game 4.

Last year the Blackhawks made Roberto Luongo cry. This year, we made him shave his playoff beard. But for all that's said in between games and off the ice, what will we actually see on the ice tonight?

There's a line as well between having a mental advantage and being cocky and arrogant to take winning for granted-- where do the Blackhawks stand on this one?

It's funny to think that a series can be as volatile and unpredictable now that it's 3-1 as it was when it was 0-0, but that's the beauty of the NHL playoffs, and having the Canucks and the Blackhawks face each other during the postseason.

But for what it's worth, I sure hope tonight's the last the two teams meet each other until the 2010-11 NHL regular season.

Let's go Hawks!

This Game Brought To You By The Letters P and P: Blackhawks win 7-4

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Coming into tonight, the big questions were whether the Canucks would be able to revert to their game 1 form and if they'd be able to counter the agitation tactics from the Hawks.  Well, the answer in short is no, they couldn't.  Despite the Nucks best efforts, they were not able to knock the Blackhawks off their game.  The darndest thing about it, though, is that the Hawks didn't do as much bumping and yapping and spraying as they did in game 3.  It was as if Dustin Byfuglien and his big giggly behind were haunting the Canucks.  They went out of their way to take shots at Buff, which led to penalties early and often.

Its almost baffling to looke through all the penalties the Canucks took.  Shane O'Brien took 2 cross checking penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game; Daniel Sedin picked up 2 penalties in the 2nd period; Mason Raymond hooked down a Hawk despite being the fastest player on the ice; Burrows decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a little late by pretending Buff's head was a pinata.  The difference tonight was the Hawks converting on the power play.  While they've usually made me want to do harm to small, furry animals with their incompetence with the man advantage, JToews went all Captain PP on everyone's asses, netting 3 PPGs.  Sharpie joined in on the fun too (of course with Tazer getting an assist).  Overall the Hawks went 4 for 8 on the PP.  Words to describe this escape me.  Just bonkers.

Big props to Bolly, Ladd, VERSTEEG!, Seabs, and Dunc for shutting down the Sedins.  They've silently been keeping the creepy twins off the scoreboard at even strength the past two games, while generating offsensive chances of their own.  When you can get this kind of production from the "3rd line" it opens up guys like Toews to be on the ice in the offensive zone a whole lot more.  And the Canucks don't seem to have any answer for the Kane, Toews, Byfuglien line. Sami Salo has seen the most ice time against them the past 3 games, and he's -2 with 2 assists in that time frame.

The key again was getting pucks to the net.  Crashing bodies towards Luongo resulted in a goal scoring bonanza.  It was all about rebounds.  Since everyone loves pretty pictures, I'll let the NHL Gamecast show you exactly what I'm talking about.

The Hawks know the secret to beating Luongo.  It just took a whoopin' in game 1 to wake them up.  The ability to adjust after that first game has been what sets the Blackhawks apart from the Canucks.  In game 1, the Hawks were out-skated, out-hit, and out-hustled.  They didn't do anything well.  After the game there was no moping around, though.  Duncan Keith was the first to say that they needed to step up the play and defend Niemi.  After the Canucks got beat in game 3, they've been passing the buck like a hot potato.  Luongo tossed his defense under the bus.  He may be right. He isn't getting any support, but that's not the type of leadership you need out of your captain when you drop 2 home games in the playoffs.

And that is the most promising thing about this Hawks team.  Every team is going to have a clunker of a game, but being able to come out strong and fix everything you were doing wrong is what makes good teams great.

P.S. How funny is it when Seabrook scores?  He opened up the scoring tonight and it was almost as funny as when he beat the Blue Jackets in the 11th round of the shootout.  Like watching a dog walk on its hind legs, there's something unnatural and weird about it, yet you just know its awesome.

The Suspense is Killing Me: Blackhawks at Canucks Game 4 Preview

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

With games in this series happening every other day, I was half-expecting the series to go by pretty fast, with barely a moment's pause. Yet, somehow, in the one-day breaks between games, a lot of things seem to happen anyway.

By my count, it's only been roughly about 36 hours since Dustin Byfuglien reared his villainous head to haunt the nightmares of everyone in the city of Vancouver. Even so, there's plenty of material cropping up to make tonight potentially even more explosive than game 3.

Storylines (and Questions) to Follow for Tonight's Game:

  1. The Officiating

    It is no secret that officiating in the NHL has had its share of criticism. To be fair, though, there is a completely human element to calling penalties and not calling them, and as it is subject to the perception and bias of those who see it, is it really possible to have everyone agree on a call made?

    That being said, it is clear that the Canucks haven't been happy with the officiating done thus far, especially with what they perceive has been an especially lax treatment of goaltender interference. Whether or not it technically happens, however, is not the point, but in discussing the calls made in the Sharks/Wings series, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News highlighted an interesting aspect of officiating:

    After Game 1, Mike Babcock chides fellow Western Canadian Devin Setoguchi for embellishing an obvious slashing call. Now, even though Babcock's target was Setoguchi only, referees hate to hear that kind of stuff. It makes it look like they were duped and they tend to take deep offense.

    So Sharks coach Todd McLellan wisely counters Babcock's comment by praising the integrity of the officials. Brilliant.

    Come to Game 2 and the Sharks are diving all over the ice -- at least that's how it looked to me, especially goalie Evgeni Nabokov -- and the referees reward the Sharks with 10 power plays to four for the Wings. Coincidence? I don't know, but clearly, McLellan has the early lead in the working-the-refs department.

    What have the referees heard so far from AV and Roberto Luongo?

    “If they do it on us and its not being called, we have to do the same thing on the other side to at least get it even up as far as advantages are concerned,” said Luongo, who finished with 30 saves. “We have to get some traffic.”

    [...]

    “We’re going to have to do a better job of protecting the front of our net,” Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault said. “At the same time, we know what’s being allowed and permitted on the ice in front of the nets and we have to do the same thing.”

    Implicit in the statements made is the Canucks' belief that the officiating has been less than desirable. The question is, how would this affect the way the refs call tonight's game? Are they going to call more goaltender interference for both teams, are they going to call it only on the Blackhawks, or are they going to penalize the Canucks more?

  2. The Crease

    Much has been made of Byfuglien's role in front of the net, and the truth is, it's well-deserved attention. Of the five Blackhawks goals scored in game 3, not a single one came off a single shot--each and every one of the goals were put in by Blackhawks players driving to the net and poking in rebounds.

    We've been saying all along that good things happen when you plant yourself in front of the net, and the Canucks are now on record as saying they're planning to do the same.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, though, but I thought they have been doing that. Some writer or blogger--I forget now who it was--pointed out that so many of the Canucks' chances in the first period flurry of game 3 happened by the left post, where Canucks have planted themselves to poke in rebounds of their own. The problem, of course, is Niemi's left pad. But elevate the puck, and the left post is the weak spot. Blackhawks will need to defend Niemi from whoever the Canucks plant there.

  3. Adjustments, Readjustments, Momentum

    With some tension obviously building between the two teams, it would be interesting to see what the Canucks decide to do with their game plan. Quenneville made a few readjustments to the team after game 1, inserting Burish and Eager to the lineup (for the purpose of injecting some agitative energy, not goonery) and moving Byfuglien to the top line with Kane and Toews, and it's worked quite well so far.

    Before game 3, there was a rumor going around that Hordichuk will be playing, but he ended up being a late scratch. Will AV cave and send out the Canucks' scrappers to face the Blackhawks? Will the players themselves attempt to get away with murder to throw the Blackhawks off their game, as the Blackhawks did with them? Will they try to retain their composure? It's a strategy that seemed to work in game 1.

    Of course, what we don't know too is how much the Blackhawks have gotten inside the heads of the Canucks, and how easy it would be for the Canucks to not let themselves get affected. It takes plenty to rile up Daniel Sedin, and Bolland's done just that. Luongo's attitude going into the series and throughout it so far can reasonably suggest that Byfuglien isn't, in fact, just any other player in front of him. If there are, in fact, Blackhawks-shaped demons living underneath the Canucks' beds or in their closets, how easily vanquishable are they?

When all is said and done, of course, the better question is this: can the Blackhawks take the momentum from Game 3's win to seize a stranglehold on this series? This is the first time the Blackhawks have clearly dominated a playoff game--do they have the killer instinct to take full control?

We'll find out in roughly 9 hours.

Are You Not Entertained? Blackhawks Take 2-1 Series Lead Against Canucks

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

(Macro credit to Mazarin, an SCH commenter.)

Come gather round, four-feathered folk
And listen well, to this tale I'll tell
Of a night that started almost a joke
But which eventually ended quite well.

Two sides, two teams, one war to wage
The first to four wins ascends to the next stage
The men in red have their eye on silver
The men in blue, demons that still make them shiver.

As things were, it was an even field
A series tied, fates yet unsealed
There was an Orcan rush, and oh, was it strong
An onslaught of attack that went too long.

The night's first hero, a Finnish wall
Went down too low, yet stood quite tall
Twice (or more) did attackers nearly break
But how they failed, because they didn't elevate.

So it was, the Feathered men drew first blood
Thanks to the work of a man they called VerStud
Not long after, though still a little outchanced
There came another tally, the score now even less balanced.

At this point, it seemed, the Orcans felt a bit defeated
But a young soldier by name of Hansen persisted
He brought his team closer to a victory
If not for a typical display of Burrows asshattery.

With the hair-pulling menace in the box of shame
The men in red struck once more to make this their game
The tally came from the stick of Big Buff
He taunted the enemy, who had seen quite enough.

In search of redemption, Burrows broke through
With the clock winding down, turned the score 3-2
Those who came to watch erupted with glee
There was still a chance that a win they would see.

For nearly eight minutes, the third frame in gear
They waited, breaths bated, for a reason to cheer
Unaware they'd seen the last of their men that night
(Except, I guess, for the occasional but meaningless fight.)

This time it was a man named Marian who came through
He outhustled, outskated, outskilled a man in blue
And so, with the battle nearing its finale
It seemed only right to deliver one last, controversial tally

Two men converged upon the Orcan's lone guard
His defenders came to his aid, but with little regard
To what a small push or shove would eventually do
How it would drive the final nail in their coffin blue.

When the battle was done, when the dust had settled
And their supposed faithful littered their arena with rubble
The defeated men saw things all too clearly again
This tale has found them a villain, and his name is Dustin Byfuglien.