Blackhawks Take Game 1 From Minny 4-3, Teuvo Pots Game-Winner

By Chris Block

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead after just 15 minutes of the first period in Game 1, Friday night at United Center.  Brandon Saad notched his third goal of postseason on an incredible power move and shot that he ripped by Devan Dubnyk at the 1:15 mark.  Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger scored 124 seconds apart later in the period to give the Hawks command of the game.  Kane’s tally, also his 3rd of the playoffs, was set up by a great move (or, the $2M toe-drag, you could call it.) by Brad Richards entering the Wild zone.

But the Wild chipped away at the Hawks lead in the second period, and by the mid-way point of the second stanza, the game was tied 3-3.  Minnesota’s marksmen Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund all scored to even the score at 1:21, 5:07 and 9:30 of the second respectively.

Neither starter, Dubnyk nor Corey Crawford were pulled from the game.  Crawford stopped 30 of 33 shots.  Dubnyk allowed 4 goals against 35 Blackhawks’ shots on net.

Chicago’s 4th and deciding goal came off the stick of Teuvo Teravainen with 59 seconds to go in the second period.  The line of Antoine Vermette, Patrick Sharp and Teravainen were doing their work down in the Wild zone when Teravainen fired a puck toward the net from the half wall.  Dubnyk might have been partially screened for a moment but he just whiffed at it with his glove and the puck sailed by him and into the net at 19:01 of the second.

The score remained that way throughout the 3rd period, though Minnesota’s Dubnyk had to come up with 15 saves in the final period to keep his team in the game.

Crawford’s win gives him a 2-1 record now in this postseason.  Crawford is now 9-3 lifetime in postseason play versus Minnesota.

The Hawks are now 11-7 in Game 1’s under Joel Quenneville. They’ve gone on to win 9 of those 10 prior series in which they’ve won Game 1 under their current coach.

Game 2 is Sunday night at 7:30pm central on CBC and Sportsnet 360 in Canada and on NBCSports Network in the States.

Lindbloom’s View: Sparks

Lindbloom_Top_043015Reflections On A Hand Shake Game

“We welcome passion, for the mind is briefly let off duty.” – Mignon McLughlin

By Rich Lindbloom

In 1979 Graham Parker recorded his album, Squeezing out Sparks. The album contained one of “them” songs, you know, the songs that you are compelled to turn up the volume 3 to 4 notches. If you’re really bold, and no one else is in the car with you, you might even try to sing along. One of the lines in the song Passion Is No Ordinary Word reminds me those moments in life, whether victorious or in defeat, where passion rules the day;

“Passion is no ordinary word ain’t manufactured or just another sound that you hear at night.”

Certainly, what we are passionate about in life takes on many forms. Read more »

Hawks finish Preds in a dramatic Game 6

By Michael Calvert

The Blackhawks closed out Nashville in another dramatic, come-from-behind whirlwind night at United Center on Saturday.

Duncan Keith scored with 3:48 to play in regulation to complete the Hawks’ Game 6 comeback. Keith’s tally was his second of the series and gave the home team a 4-3 lead that would stand as the final score.

A wild opening 11 minutes of the game saw the Predators gain 2-0 and 3-1 leads on the backs of two James Neal goals, and another from Matt Cullen that got Scott Darling pulled from the net in favor of Corey Crawford.

Darling was the Game 6 starter as he’s managed to keep the net since Game 3 and the Hawks went in with what has become a pretty consistent line arrangement.

The Blackhawks tightened up in front of Crawford as he needed to make just 13 saves in 49 minutes the rest of the way. That opposed to Darling, who saw 12 shots in 11:16 of play. Read more »

Lindbloom’s View: Honey, Don’t Ask

Lindbloom_1_42515

Q-dawg, riding that horse hard
“Quit whining or I’ll put you in for Rozsival”

“I ain’t much for mowing grass
I’m too slow for working too fast
I don’t do windows, so honey don’t ask
But I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer.” – Billy Currington

By Rich Lindbloom

I heard the song Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer while driving to work this week. Billy Currington sings about all the things he’s not too good at, (basically anything involving work), but ends each stanza by singing, “but I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer.” I had to admire Billy in a way; life just seemed to make sense to him. It made me smile, perhaps it hit too close to home. Leave it to the country bumpkins, and I think you know who you are, to summarize a portion of my suds soaked life. C’mon y’all, you know we ain’t worth a plug nickel after a few beers. Read more »

IceHogs return to postseason after 4 years out; After a strong 2014-15, how will Rockford fare; Calder Cup 1st round preview

By Chris Block

Tonight, Rockford plays its first playoff contest since 2010 when they begin their best-of-5 opening round series with the Texas Stars in suburban Austin.

Rockford has lost the past 10 consecutive playoff games they have played. The American Hockey League record of most consecutive losses in postseason is 12, set by the Buffalo Bisons in the 1950s.  The IceHogs last playoff win came in Game 5 of their second round series with the Chicago Wolves in 2008, the IceHogs first season in the AHL. Rockford was up 3-2 in that series then lost games 6 & 7.  The Wolves would go on to with the Calder Cup that year.

While the IceHogs dominated the season series with Texas, this was about the worst draw Rockford could have asked for. The key to Rockford’s success against Texas during the regular season was catching the Stars at the right times, and a power play that ran at a 37.5% clip against the Stars this season.

Rockford can skate with any team in the West at 5-on-5. Where they have separated themselves for success is in getting elite goaltending from Michael Leighton, Scott Darling and Antti Raanta. Mac Carruth, who was in net for three games this season and went 2-1 with a shutout (at Chicago) is now the backup.

But aside from the goaltending, which, no mistake, is why the IceHogs are in the postseason, Rockford’s special teams were consistently the difference between a win and a loss in 2014-15.

Noting that, no team boasts better special teams than Texas.

Their combined special teams mark is 106.9 (86.9 PP + 20.0 PK). Texas ranks 3rd overall in the AHL, and tops in the Western Conference on the power play. Their penalty kill is 4th in the AHL and 2nd in the West. Read more »

Preds Narrow Series Gap in 5-2 Win in Nashville

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks had a chance to close out their Western Conference quarterfinal in Nashville Thursday night. Thanks to a hat trick by Filip Forsberg and a trio of Predator goals early in the third period, that didn’t happen.

Nashville broke open a tight affair and cruised to a 5-2 victory over Chicago. The Hawks still own a 3-2 series advantage but the Preds showed they have the resolve to extend the series to at least six games.

First Period-Patrick Sharp was the recipient of an ill-advised hit by Ryan Ellis, who was sent to the box for tripping 3:06 into the game. The Hawks had a few chances early in the power play, but Nashville wound up with possession for most of the second minute of the penalty. Read more »

Dan Carcillo talks the death of Steve Montador, life away from, and after the game

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E9XLs4BDdjk

Seabrook blast ends Game 4 in Triple OT, Hawks take 3-1 series lead on Nashville

By Brad Vandenberk

There was a marathon at the United Center on Tuesday night as the Hawks found themselves beating the Nashville Predators in three overtimes, 3-2.

Chicago did not hold a single lead during the game, but still eventually found a way to win and take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Brandon Saad scored the tying goal with Antoine Vermette getting his first tally as a Blackhawk, tipping one past Rinne in the opening period, the first of six on Tuesday.

Shea Weber and Mike Fisher did not dress for this one, but you can be sure with their season on the line that they will try and play on Thursday night when the series shifts back to Nashville. Scott Darling and Pekka Rinne faced a ton of traffic and shots and lasted the entire 5 periods. Read more »

Fantasy Chatter: TTMI’s Top 50 Under 25 Keeper/Dynasty League Player Rankings Revisited

LeaveThemAllBehind_2015Apr20

By Lane Myer

As promised, here is the revised Top 50 Under 25 list that we initially published back in early January for Keeper/Dynasty leagues. Since we don’t cover much here in this column dealing with keeper or dynasty leagues, we figured this would be the most beneficial manner to toss something out there in a fairly simple manner.   Also I’m told everyone loves a list. Not that you were anyway, because you’re much smarter than that, but don’t pay too much attention to the ranking number. It’s a highly convoluted process with attempting to mix current production with future projection along with other factors such as basic stat categories, age in relation to similar value players, and future playing time and line-mates for the younger less established players.   Tie-breakers were awarded to players with an age advantage and/or those who are more likely to hold multi-positional eligibility.

As a reminder, as with almost everything we do here, these are penned with standard stat category leagues in mind. That means 6×4 or 5×4 fantasy hockey leagues that use the basic stat categories that usually include Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, PPP and either (or both) PIMs or Shorthanded Points on the offensive side and Wins, GAA, SV% and Shutouts on the goalie side.

*Revised Top 50 Under 25 after the jump…

Read more »

Hawks take 2-1 series lead over Weber-less Preds

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks came back to the United Center Sunday afternoon and took a 2-1 series lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal with the Nashville Predators. Three second period tallies and a stronger defensive effort paved the way for a 4-2 Blackhawks triumph.

First Period-Nashville went to the power play in the opening minute when Kimmo Timonen held the stick of Taylor Beck. Marian Hossa led a shorthanded charge that was stopped by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. The Blackhawks killed the penalty fairly easily.

Nashville’s first shot came off the stick of Beck in the fifth minute but the attempt was covered by Hawks goalie Scott Darling. The action was back and forth and the pace was brisk to say the least. Read more »