If you need extra time to recover after Wednesday's marathon Game 1, don't worry, so did we. One day removed from the Blackhawks' 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in triple overtime, and there's still plenty to talk about, including Chicago's depth once again coming through as Brandon Saad and Dave Bolland tallied their first goals of the playoffs (and not a moment too soon!), as well as the home team's domination in the shot attempt department, with just about everybody getting pucks through on Tuukka Rask. Bonus: Jaromir Jagr's longevity on display.
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The day before the Blackhawks Game 7 OT victory against the Detroit Red Wings, Mick Jagger presented the crowd with his very own personalized Blackhawks jersey. The 69-year-old rocker told the crowd, “I hope they win!”
The Blackhawks and Bruins have both enjoyed recent success in the postseason, but have never met in a Stanley Cup Final until now. Chicago and Boston didn't cross paths during the regular season, but the two teams have forged similar paths to get to this point: The Bruins weathered a seven-game bout in the first round against Toronto, coming within 3 minutes of blowing a 3-1 series lead to their heated rivals, while the Blackhawks had to claw back from a 3-1 deficit of their own against Detroit in the second round. The squads also share potent offenses, stifling defenses, and two starting goalies playing at the top of their game. Below, the Blackhawks Blog takes a look at how Chicago and Boston match up in other areas.
Each week, the Blackhawks Blog will give you five stats you need to know about the Blackhawks this season.
1. Twenty-two of Marian Hossa’s 43 career playoff tallies (51.2%) have been go-ahead goals.
No. 81’s game-winning goal in the third period of Game 4 was his seventh goal of the postseason. Hossa has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last seven games.
There were several clutch performances that led to Thursday night's 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Worthy of mention: Bryan Bickell netting his eighth goal of the playoffs, Patrick Kane getting on the scoresheet for the first time in the series (with Bickell contributing an assist), and the Slovak connection coming through on the game-winner, with Michal Handzus finding Marian Hossa for a one-timer. But a crucial part of the Blackhawks' success in Game 4 was the team's depth—and strength—on defense, as Head Coach Joel Quenneville needed big games from his blueliners to make up for the one-game absence of Duncan Keith due to suspension. In came Sheldon Brookbank, who logged 6:20 in his first action since the end of the regular season, but it was Niklas Hjalmarsson, Michal Rozsival and Johnny Oduya who faced down the Kings' toughest customers all night. Below, the Blackhawks Blog compared the trio's ice time from the last two games:
Click on the image for full-size version (PDF).
The Blackhawks are back on the cover of Sports Illustrated, this time being featured in one of two national covers of the magazine. Author Steve Rushin offers his perspective on why the Stanley Cup Playoffs are unlike any other postseason in professional sports:
"From the shaggy beards to the thrilling Game 7s to the enduring institution that is the handshake line," he writes, "the NHL playoffs bring traditions with which other sports simply cannot compete."
Check out the cover featuring Marcus Kruger finishing a check against the L.A. Kings' Tyler Toffoli in the Western Conference Final:
Vince Vaughn appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday night to promote his new film, "The Internship."
Avid Blackhawks fan Vaughn chatted with Leno about Chicago's second-round series against Detroit and the team's recent success in the Western Conference Final against Los Angeles.
The play, as it happened...
Scrum behind the play near the Blackhawks crease. The Kings' gruff winger, Kyle Clifford, gets tangled up with Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and the scuffle escalates quickly. In Crawford's own words: "Their guy grabbed him and got a couple of free shots. I figured it was enough, decided to go in there and grab his head."
Six goals, two statement games and one pulled goalie later, the Blackhawks are two wins closer to reaching the Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks won their first two games of the Western Conference Final against Los Angeles by a combined score of 6-3, including a four-goal outburst in Game 2 that sent Jonathan Quick, reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, to the visitors bench in the second period. Meanwhile, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa continued to lead Chicago offensively, combining for two goals and three assists in two nights, while Michal Handzus established a career-long postseason point streak. The Blackhawks Blog's newest infograph highlights the spread of point contributions over the course of the playoffs and Quick's atypical night, as well as the team's big-game performers.
Click on the image for full-size version (PDF)