By Brad Vandenberk
From one Eastern Conference team to the next, the Blackhawks jetted to Philadelphia on Tuesday looking to stack points in effort to regain a home ice advantage for the opening round of the playoffs. A welcomed spark was added on Sunday with the return of Marian Hossa.
Big Hoss propelled the Hawks to victory with a three-point performance over their old rivals, the Detroit Red Wings Sunday. It definitely makes a difference when he is in the lineup. Although it was an injury depleted Red Wings team, the 2 points is exactly what the Hawks needed. Now it’s a visit to Philly to take on the Flyers. Last time the Hawks played the Flyers, Ray Emery was run out of the net as the Hawks coasted to a 7-2 victory.
Coach Q did have some different line combinations for last game which seemed to get certain players going. On the bad news front, Brandon Saad did leave the game with an upper body injury which seems to have occurred when Saad fell victim to a Kronwall-ing. Saad did not dress for this game. To the good news front, highly sought after prospect Teuvo Teravainen just completed his season In the Finnish elite league and could be on his way to Chi Town. Will this be exactly what the 2nd line center position ordered, or will it be a boy trying to survive among men? As we witnessed in the world Jr’s over the Christmas holiday, we see that he can be quite the dynamic player. Time will tell!
With a visit from the Big Bad Blues coming up tomorrow at the UC, Antti Raanta got the start for the visitors team deeming Crawford the starter for the following night. The Flyers went with ex-Hawk Ray Emery, who hadn’t played in weeks due to Steve Mason’s stellar play. Maybe home ice will favour him.
Michael Rozsival was not on the ice this morning and it was later noted he was dealing with a lower body injury and stayed back in Chicago along with Saad. David Rundblad was the other Hawks scratch.
Obviously Patrick Kane was getting booed every time he touched the puck to open the game. Funny thing is he reenacted the infamous 2010 goal in Philly during Tuesday morning’s skate almost throwing his gloves and stick.
It didn’t take the Hawks long to get to Emery. Just 2:29 after puck drop, Andrew Shaw gobbles up a Michal Handzus rebound flipping it over Emery 1-0. Just over a minute later Duncan Keith gets a wide open look in the slot and slips it under Emery’s arm 2-0. This gave the Flyers a spark. Scott Hartnell gets a lucky bounce putting a centering pass out front and Marcus Kruger gets his foot in the way banking it past Raanta 2-1. Hawks get the first power play chance when Michael Raffl slashes the stick out of Sheldon Brookbank’s paws. Emery sharpens up and makes some key saves as the Flyers kill the penalty. The Flyers get their turn on the man advantage when Brandon Bollig gets called for tripping in behind the play. Both Claude Giroux and Mark Streit hit the post during the power play. With 10 seconds remaining on the penalty kill, Kruger heads to the box for holding the stick and the Flyers remain on the man advantage. After another kill, the Hawks struggle to clear the zone and Giroux spots a wide open Hartnell in the slot and the score is tied at 2. The period ends with the Flyers owning the shot advantage 14-7.
Kane denies the boos and pulls his patented spin-o-rama to open the second period. Almost beating Emery but new line mate Ben Smith was right in the way. Brookbank challenges Zac Rinaldo to a duel and the two exchanged a few nice blows and Brookbank makes the take down. Bryan Bickell gets a nice chance to score trying a wrap around. Brent Seabrook makes a great play on Giroux dropping to his knees and with his stick breaks up the play. Kane hits the post with a shot. Sean Couturier shows off his rendition of a wrap around and Nick Leddy makes the save as it slides across the crease. Hossa heads to the box for holding giving the Flyers a late power play. Raanta stands tall and they kill off another penalty. Kane draws a holding penalty when Nicklas Grossman can’t contain the speedster. The penalty ends as does the period with the Flyers still ahead in shots 20-18 and the score remains 2-2.
The Flyers open the period coming at the Hawks hard. Just 53 seconds in the refs barely catch the Hawks on a bad change and the famous Too Many Men is called. Just as one penalty is killed another one happens minutes later. Shaw trips Giroux in the neutral zone and the Hawks are back on the kill. Giroux hits his 2nd post of the night and Jakub Voracek hits the Flyers 4th post of the game. Finally the Hawks get a chance to win this. Andrew Macdonald gets his stick high in Kane’s face and heads to the box. No blood means only 2 minutes. Kane and Seabrook both have shots but Emery is holding on. Raanta begins to shine. He stops the Flyers during all kinds of flurry. Brayden Schenn shot, Vincent Lecavalier on a breakaway and flashes the leather from a Braydon Coburn point shot. Flyers think they have one it when Schenn buries a rebound, but it’s immediately waved off as it was hit with a high stick before Schenn finished it making the play unreviewable. Bickell gets into his first fight of the year literally throwing Wayne Simmonds all over the ice. He gets his hand free and pounds on Simmonds winning the bout. Flyers try to end this in regulation but Steve Downie’s shot trickles wide and overtime is needed to solve this one.
The 4 on 4 period opened with Kane and Toews exchanging with Hossa and Sharp. Kris Versteeg provides a great forecheck getting the puck in front, Shaw then dishes to Leddy who fires wide. Just as the period was winding down at the 4.2 second mark to be exact, Giroux finally solves Raanta. He grabs a puck in the neutral zone and speeds over the blue line finally scoring on the Hawks to win the game 3-2.
Vertseeg Toews Hossa Ketih Seabrook
Bickell Smith Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Shaw Handzus Sharp Leddy Brookbank
Regin Kruger Bollig
-Flyers outshot Hawks 37-25
-Hawks go 0/3 on the power play with the Flyers going 0/5
-Keith led all Hawks with 28:31 TOI, Hjalmarsson was next with 27:11
-Toews 14/23, Smith 4/5, Handzus 5/18 and Kruger 8/14 in the face off dot.
-Avalanche did lose to the Habs so with the Hawks OT point the teams are now tied at 93 points.
-Coach Q will have to wait for his 700th win when the Hawks return home to face the Blues in the second of a back to back.