Author Archives: Brad Vandenberk

Hawks punch ticket to Finals in thrilling 2-OT victory over Kings in Game 5

By Brad Vandenberk

With their surprise sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Boston Bruins awaited the winner of game 5 in the Western conference final in Chicago between the Blackhawks and LA Kings.  If the Hawks win this contest, they will head to the Stanley Cup final.  The Kings were trying to take the series back to LA and recreate the same momentum the Hawks had against Detroit.

Duncan Keith was back in the lineup for the home team after serving his one game suspension.   Read more »

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Keith-less Hawks stuff LA’s home winning streak; Kings face elimination Saturday in Chicago

By Brad Vandenberk

Game 4 of the Western Conference gifted us with nothing but story lines before the puck was even dropped.  Duncan Keith was assessed a 1-game suspension for an uncontrolled high stick to the face of Jeff Carter in game 3.  Keith received a four minute minor during the game, but the league wanted more and suspending the Hawks D man.  Carter received 22 stitches in his mouth and chipped a few pearly whites.

Mike Richards did not dress once again for the Kings missing his 3rd straight.  But with Keith out, the Kings were looking poised to get the win to tie the series.

Sheldon Brookbank was inserted into the lineup to take Keith’s “spot”.  Read more »

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Blackhawks force Game 7 Wednesday at the UC, drop Red Wings with 3 third period goals Monday at the Joe

By Brad Vadenberk

Saturday night at the UC showed how a resilient Hawks team can play and dominate a hockey game if they seem so fit to do so.  The word elimination is still lingering around as the Hawks travelled back to Joe Louis Arena to continue this series and look to force a game 7 back at the UC on Wednesday night.

Jonathan Toews finally got his first 2013 playoff goal.  He scored it in fashion, ripping a shot from the side of the net off Jimmy Howard.  The captain’s roar was so loud even the hockey Gods heard it.

You can tell the Hawks were playing with urgency.  During both power play goals the puck was moving around the ice with speed and crisp passing.  This was something that was missing in earlier games.  Read more »

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Blackhawks still alive, Win Game Five 4-1 at the UC

By Brad Vandenberk

This game needs no introduction!  The Chicago Blackhawks are on the ropes playing game 5 at home in the UC trying to stave off elimination, trailing 3-1 in the series.  The Detroit Red Wings have stifled the Hawks’ offence, forcing frustration on the face of Jonathan Toews, who took 3 penalties in game four.  It was time for the Hawks to show why they were the best team in the NHL through the regular shortened season.

Coach Q loaded up his line up and put Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp together.  Marian Hossa found himself playing with Michal Handzus and Bryan Bickell.  Andrew Shaw centered Viktor Stalberg and Brandon Saad.  Dave Bolland was on the fourth line, not playing center but the wing alongside Marcus Kruger and Michal Frolik. Read more »

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Minnesota gets one; Zucker beats Crawford in OT – Blackhawks hold 2-1 series advantage

By Brad Vandenberk

As the scene shifted to St. Paul, Minnesota on Sunday, the Chicago Blackhawks thus far had held the  8th seed Minnesota Wild in check.  Game one turned out to be a bit of a feeling out process.  Both teams knew what was required to win this series.  Bryan Bickell decided to produce at the perfect time, sliding the overtime winner under Josh Harding.  Game two showed us that when the Hawks want to play… well, 5 -2 was the result.  Patrick Sharp, finally got the monkey off is back, sniping two goals.  Patrick Kane was mesmerising causing the Wild to chance him around the ice all night.  Michael Frolik, playing his normal 4th line minutes, chipped in with a nice shorthanded goal, his 2nd g note of the night.

Game three was the Wilds first playoff home game since 2008.  The Hawks were 18-4-2 on the road during the regular season.  Dave Bolland and Ray Emery skated this week but remained out of the line up.  Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers and Sheldon Brookbank were out as well.  Read more »

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Hawks take the President’s Trophy with 4-1 victory in Edmonton; Drew Leblanc makes his pro debut

By Brad Vandenberk

The Blackhawks miracle regular season finishes this Saturday night in St Louis.  But first, they have to complete their western Canadian road trip with a stop in Edmonton to face the Oilers.

Now, we all remember it was back on February 25th when the Oilers that took the Hawks to overtime and the Hawks finishing on top 3-2 with a great move by Marian Hossa.  The second match against the troublesome Oilers saw the Hawks surrender 4 goals in the first period on route to a 6-5 defeat on March 10th.

Tonight’s game was the rubber match.  The only thing the Oilers were playing for is pride as the Hawks can clinch the President’s trophy with 2 points.  Read more »

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Smith, Coyotes outlast Hawks in a shootout 3-2

By Brad Vandenberk

The boards remained intact at the United Center as the Blackhawks played at home once again this weekend, finishing up a back to back, with the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.

On Friday night, they outlasted the Predators in overtime completing their season series.  This game really didn’t mean a lot, but the Hawks obtained another two points toward gaining the President’s trophy.

The Coyotes came in looking to help gain some momentum for a late playoff push.  Patrick Sharp remained out for this contest with an upper body injury.  Ray Emery was unable to back up with recently called up Carter Hutton sporting the baseball cap.  Read more »

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Crawford, ‘Hawks shutout the Blues 2-0 in the Lou

By Brad Vandenberk

After squeaking a shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night at the UC, it was time to hit the road again and venture into St Louis for a Sunday afternoon tilt against the Blues.  The game on Friday marked the last time the Wings and Hawks will play each other as divisional rivals with Detroit heading east next year.

St Louis lost on Friday night, which meant that the Hawks clinched the central division and now the sights are set on the President’s Trophy.  Friday’s shootout victory gave the Wings a much needed point to stay within a playoff spot in the western conference.  Read more »

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Once is enough; Hawks beat Preds 1-0 in Nash City

By Brad Vandenberk

Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, it’s time to get down to business and make the final push for the playoffs.

The Hawks only acquisition before 3pm EST Wednesday, was Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks.  He made a great first impression on Thursday in Chicago winning important face offs and proving to Stan Bowman that his only deal was a good one.

Today was a trip to Smashville to play the pesky Predators.  Although the Preds are on the outside of the playoffs looking in, they still give the Hawks trouble when they meet.  This would be the second meeting between these teams within five days and this game is the first of a home and home series with the Preds invading the UC on Sunday evening.

Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp did not make the flight to Nashville and it is still undetermined when they will return to the line up.  Read more »

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Hawks can’t hold Kings down in the 3rd, lose 5-4

By Brad Vandenberk

The road trip has ended and the Blackhawks find themselves at the UC playing 3 games in 5 days.  Their recent road trip had them obtain 6 out of a possible 8 points.

Their only loss came at the hands of the Ducks on Wednesday, abolishing a 2-1 lead with 6 minutes left in the 3rd period, losing 4-2.

That’s not the only loss that was suffered.  Marian Hossa left the game in Colorado on Monday night and has yet to play a shift since.  Coach Q stated that the injury is not serious and that Hossa is expected to return shortly.  Sorry Hawks fans, Hossa did not dress tonight for the Kings match.  He has also been listed as questionable for Tuesday’s contest against the Flames.  Hossa was a big contributor to the Hawks beating the Flames in Calgary scoring the tying goal with 2.4 seconds left in the game.  They then went on to claim victory in the shootout.  Read more »

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