By Michael Calvert
Just like its predecessors, game 5 was a tightly played, very close game. And like three of the previous games, Friday night’s contest also took extra time to decide.
The Blackhawks Put Saad up on the line with Kane and Toews and in place of Brent Seabrook on his 2nd game of suspension was Sheldon Brookbank, who again was good enough.
Deja vu for the Blues who lost last year’s first round series to the Kings after taking a 2-0 lead in the series following eerie similarities with this series. The Kings beat the Kings 4-3 in game four and 3-2 in ot in game 5, going on to win the series in LA in game 6. It’s starting to feel that way again, only in Chicago.
1st period: The scoring did not come early in this game or at all for Hossa in this series. With only just shy of 4 minutes left in the first period Marian Hossa followed up his own shot to put the rebound past Ryan Miller.
3 penalties in the first period 2 of which were on the Hawks, these games are being called closely. The refs are calling the games tightly and consistently, normally I am not a fan of too many penalties, but the refs have taken control and the Blues aren’t able to head hunt as is their way.
2nd period: I do not like the guy as a player including when he scored all the penalty shots for team USA; I rooted for him to miss each, Oshie’s goal in the second was a beaut though.
TJ Oshie cut from right to left in front of Crawford and Oshie was hooked and brought down to his knees, I suppose Crawford assumed he’d fire the shot then, but instead held on to it and waited for Crawford to flail at him which he did and Oshie put the puck into the empty net, a great goal.
9:00 into the second and we are all tied up and it started to feel inevitable that this would be an uncomfortable nail biter, thanks to the hockey gods this one was on a Friday.
With just under 3 minutes left Ben Smith gave the Hawks back the lead. Not as pretty as Oshie’s, but a crucial goal just the same. Smith deposited a backhand rebound top shelf, Miller had no chance. Given how close Smith was to Miller, it showed a real nice scoring touch to lift the puck that high backhanded.
Yet again the Hawks are going into the 3rd period with the lead…
3rd period: The 3rd period though not much scoring was still very exciting. The Hawks outshot the Blues 8-7 in the third and unlike the first two periods there were no penalties, both teams looked like they were playing to not lose on a stupid penalty.
The Hawks d got caught off guard and Alex Pietrangelo put in a one-time wrister on a 2-1 break with Jaden Schwartz. What do you know we go back into ot for the 4th time in 5 games.
At 7:36 into OT Keith caught Toews coming off the bench and Toews had a clear breakaway on Ryan Miller, Toews beats Miller on a backhand and that’s it folks, the Hawks have now taken the series lead. There’s one thing you can say about this Blackhawk team, they will not lay down and die in the playoffs.
Brookbank was just fine, but it’ll be nice to have Seabrook back, oddly enough in what should be the prime of his career, Seabrook is worse than ever, but still an upgrade on a good 75% of the NHL’s other dmen.
Oshie’s goal was a great one and Pietrangelo’s goal was the culmination of two very good players given an easy 2-1 other than that Crawford was again pretty magnificent.
Toews was stud like on the goal, it’s great to see him and Hossa getting involved, I can’t imagine it’ll be long until Sharp jumps in as well.
Potential closeout game Sunday in Chi-Town, let’s go Hawks.