Blackhawks take down league best Blues in a shootout

30 Mar

Needing a win to get closer to a playoff berth against the team with the most points in the NHL, Chicago turned to Dave Bolland.

Bolland, 0 for 3 in shootouts this season before Thursday, responded with a nice fake before scoring the only goal in the shootout Thursday night as the Blackhawks edged the Blues 4-3.

“You’ve got 20,000 fans screaming,” Bolland said. “You’re thinking of so many moves in your head. For me, it was go down and whatever came to my head, try to put it in. You’re not really sure. Should I shoot? Should I deke? Should I just bury my head and put it through him. Halak’s a good goalie.”

Actually it was 21,659 (109.8% full).

Bolland had been 0-7 in his shoot out career before this 8th attempt of his.

“The extra point was important,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who took the advice of assistants Mike Haviland and Mike Kitchen to insert Bolland in the shootout. “We … did a lot of good things.”

In regulation, the Hawks got goals from Bryan Bickell, Andrew Brunette and Patrick Sharp and looked like they would cruise to victory before they coughed up a two-goal, third-period lead when Jason Arnott and David Perron scored for the Blues.

The Hawks dominated most of the play but the Blues sure turned it up in the last 10 minutes of the game.  Shots were 40 for the Hawks and 20 for the Blues.  The Blues only had 11 shots after the 2nd.  That’s impressive play by the Hawks to keep the leagues best team down like that.

“We were outplayed bad. I don’t even know how we got a point, to be honest with you,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We didn’t compete at a high level. It looked like we wanted the game to be easier.

“We jacked it up for about 10 minutes in the third period and got two goals because of it, but . not going to win many games against that team playing like we’re playing. This is two games in a row in this building where we really haven’t competed for 60 minutes.”

But that 2nd goal.  You just can’t have that.  Crawford fell asleep on that one.  I can’t blame him on the first goal, even though I’d like to.  You really want your goalie to bail you out on that.  You score the first goal of the game and the Blues come down and tie it up 9 seconds later.  9 seconds!!!!  However, it was a hell of a shot.  A fast rising bullet to the top corner.  But that 2nd one.  Come on.  That’s garbage.  The third goal was a redirected screen shot.  Can’t fault Crow on that one.  However, if you didn’t let that garbage 2nd goal in we probably would not have seen OT or the shoot out.

But the Hawks got the 2 points.  If Phoenix would have lost last night in regulation the Hawks would have clinched a playoff spot.  But the San Jose Sharks (who were playing against Phoenix)  lost…in a game they HAD to have.  How could they?  What is with that team?  I’ll tell you what is with them.  Mike Smith.  He has been a nightmare for the Sharks this year.  He has beaten them 5 times out of 6 and shut them out 3 times.  Quebec City should love this team.  The loss dropped the Sharks to 9th in the Western Conference standings.  They were in 3rd a couple days ago.  Tight race.

Back to the Hawks.  Strong games from Stalberg, Sharp and Leddy.  Leddy is looking better and better the last few games.  Stalberg has really been rounding out his game.

Only 2 more games left in the suspension on Keith and Toews has been saying all the right things about coming back.   He has been practicing with the team and says he “feels great right now”.  We will see, he has not been cleared by team doctors for anything.

Next up for the Hawks.  Saturday night in Nashville.  The Predators have pretty much had their way with the Hawks this year.  The last time they met was at the United Center and the Preds won 6-1.  You have to think the Hawks will want to send a message.  It’s very possible the Hawks will see Nashville in the playoffs.

Until then,



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