Author Archives: Brad Gardner

Blackhawks tie Finals series 2-2 in wild 6-5 overtime win at Boston

By Brad Gardner

Entering the game trailing the Bruins 2-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series, the Chicago Blackhawks were desperate for a win on Wednesday night in Boston. The ‘Hawks offense woke up, but the Bruins would not let Game 4 go quietly.

The Bruins tied the game twice in the third period to force yet another overtime session. Brent Seabrook scored the decisive goal in overtime, his second overtime goal of the playoffs, to give the visiting team a 6-5 win. Read more »

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Hawks can’t sustain stunning dominance of Bruins in 1st period, Boston prevails 2-1 in OT to tie series 1-1

By Brad Gardner

After playing 112 minutes of hockey in Game 1, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks returned to overtime in Game 2. The Bruins took the decision on a Daniel Paille goal at the 13:48 mark of the first overtime session, knotting the Stanley Cup Finals at one game apiece.

Both goaltenders continued their strong play in the series. Tuukka Rask earned the win with 33 saves on 34 shots and was especially important in the first period, when the Blackhawks outplayed the Bruins throughout the opening period and finished with a 19-4 advantage in shots. Read more »

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Kings bounce back, defeat Hawks 3-1 in Game 3 in L.A.

By Brad Gardner

The Los Angeles Kings held serve with a 3-1 win on home ice over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Goals from Justin Williams and Slava Voynov spotted the Kings a 2-0 lead, which was enough for Jonathan Quick and a tight-checking Kings defense to remain undefeated at home during the playoffs.

Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 27 shots and kept his team in the game the whole way. The penalty kill also played a big part in keeping the score close, finishing a perfect 5-for-5 against the Kings powerplay. Despite the loss, the Blackhawks maintain a 2-1 series advantage. Read more »

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Howard, Red Wings stand tall, Take 2-1 series lead; Game 3 clouded over questions on officiating

By Brad Gardner

The second round playoff series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, tied at one game apiece, shifted to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 on Monday night. Even though the Blackhawks offense opened up to the tune of 40 shots, doubling their total from Game 2, Jimmy Howard stood tall in net for the Red Wings and carried his team to a 3-1 victory.

Quick strikes from bottom-six forwards Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller in the second period put the Blackhawks in a hole from which they would not get out. Patrick Kane scored for the second consecutive game, but Howard came up with the save on the rest of Chicago’s 39 shots, including saves on 16 of the 17 shots he faced against the Hawks late push in the third period.

Viktor Stalberg suited up for the Blackhawks after being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the series. It looked like his night might end early when on his first shift the game, Jakub Kindl ducked a check, sending Stalberg head first into the boards. He was slow to get up but eventually skated off under his own power. After a few minutes in the locker room, Stalberg returned to the bench. Read more »

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Detroit draws even: Disjointed Blackhawks effort leads to 4-1 Red Wings victory in Game 2

By Brad Gardner

Three days after the Chicago Blackhawks took a 4-1 victory in Game 1 of their second round playoff series against rival Detroit, the Red Wings responded in kind with a 4-1 win of their own to even the series. Henrik Zetterberg assisted on two goals for Detroit as the visitors handed the ‘Hawks their first home loss of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Red Wings’ tight-checking game didn’t give the Blackhawks nearly as much room to operate as they had in the latter stages of the first game. The puck possession time favored Detroit, and even when the Hawks were able to get a shot on goal, they did not challenge Jimmy Howard too much. The Red Wings goalie made 19 saves on only 20 shots, the lowest total for the Blackhawks in the playoffs.

Corey Crawford made 26 saves on 30 shots and did not look as sharp as the Blackhawks had come to expect of him in the playoffs. Read more »

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Hossa strikes twice; Hawks advance, Eliminate Wild

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Corey Crawford put on a show early for the United Center crowd, before the offense kicked into gear and put the Wild in the rear view.

Marian Hossa scored twice and Jonathan Toews, scoreless in the first four games of the series, got on the score sheet with two assists. The Hawks out-shot the Wild 33-22 in the game, but Crawford had a handful of huge stops in those 21 saves.

The visitors had more than a few good looks in the opening period, but the play of Crawford kept them off the board. The stingy Hawks defense from game four was not immediately noticeable, but Crawford could do no wrong; his worst rebounds wound up being his best saves, turning away initial chances from the likes of Jason Pominville and Devin Setoguchi only to make better saves on the subsequent looks from Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen. Read more »

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Hawks take 2-0 lead in series heading to Minnesota; Magic Frolik Returns

By Brad Gardner

The Chicago Blackhawks took a 2-0 series lead over the eighth seeded Minnesota Wild with a win at home on Friday night. After jumping out to a two-goal lead in the second period, the Blackhawks eventually held on to win by a final score of 5-2.

It was a rematch in net between Corey Crawford and Josh Harding after each goaltender turned in a strong performance in Game 1 of the series. Neither disappointed on Friday, even though it was a higher-scoring affair. Crawford got the win in Game 2 with 26 saves, while Harding managed 43 saves on 47 shots in the loss.

Michael Frolik and Patrick Sharp registered two goals apiece as the Blackhawks carried play for a majority of the game. Despite a substantial lead in the shot column for the home team, the visitors remained in it for much of the game, trailing only by one goal heading into the third period. Read more »

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Toews, Kane tally in regular season home finale win

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks completed the season sweep of the Calgary Flames on Friday night with a 3-1 win at the United Center. First period goals from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews proved to be enough for the home team, which had little to play for having clinched home ice advantage throughout the playoffs with their win on Wednesday.

Corey Crawford bounced back with a win in net after going 0-1-1 in his previous two starts. Crawford played over 46 minutes in Wednesday’s game in Edmonton, stopping all 14 shots that he faced, but that decision went to the game’s starter, Ray Emery, who left in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Back at home on Friday, Chicago iced a lineup that is likely very close to the one that will be deployed when the playoffs begin next week. Dave Bolland remained out of the lineup due to a groin injury and Niklas Hjalmarsson was also scratched, but otherwise the regulars were utilized normally. Read more »

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Blackhawks Out-Everythinged in Vancouver

By Brad Gardner

The Chicago Blackhawks were throttled early in Vancouver and the Canucks did not let their foot of the gas pedal, taking a 3-1 victory over the top team in the Western Conference. Daniel Sedin assisted on the eventual game-winner and scored a goal of his own late in the second period.

Cory Schneider got the win for the Canucks by stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced. Corey Crawford faced a far greater number of quality chances and came away with 29 saves in the loss.

Although the Blackhawks came into Monday’s games with a chance to clinch the President’s Trophy, the Pittsburgh Penguins came away with a 3-1 victory in Ottawa, keeping the President’s Trophy out of the Blackhawks’ reach on Monday. With three games left to play for each team, Chicago still holds a three-point lead over Pittsburgh for the league’s best record. Read more »

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Blackhawks, Wings tie; Saad clinches extra point in the shootout

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks completed the season sweep of the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 shootout win at the United Center on Friday night. Jonathan Toews tied the game with around three minutes left in regulation and Brandon Saad scored the decisive goal in the shootout.

The Blackhawks clinched the Central Division title in what will be the last regular season meeting between the two teams while they are division rivals. The longest rivalry in hockey will be relegated to inter-conference play next season when the Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference.

Corey Crawford got the start for the first time in eight days, matching up against Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, fresh off signing a six-year extension with the Wings. Both goalies turned in strong performances, with Crawford making 27 saves and Howard 26. Of the ten total attempts in the shootout, the goalies allowed only three conversions. Read more »

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