Please forgive the lateness of this post-game wrap-up, as Sam, Killion, and I were all at the game last night, and because it was Friday, we were going to have some beers afterwards, goddamnit. And by "some beers", I mean "close the bar down". And by "close the bar down", I mean "they're going to close the steel shudders on us from the outside before we leave".
So because Sam is on Indian detail for tomorrow afternoon, and due to the aforementioned circumstance, Matt and I rochambeaued to see who had the responsibility of eventually writing the recap after last night's beer fueled mayhem. I lost, and clearly so have you, the reader, but I will try to mitigate the damage.
As was stated previously, these are not your grandpappy's Devils. Sure, they can give you the neutral zone anaconda treatment if they need to, but they can just as easily run and gun with you, or they can punch you in the damn mouth if they deem it necessary. So while it shouldn't have been surprising to see, I was still taken aback to have watched a period involving the New Jersey Damn Devils that totaled 34 shots on goal.
The opening stanza which saw the Hawks outshoot the Devils 20 to 14 pretty much had it all. The Hawks started out firing on all cylinders, pushing the pace and causing the Devils to take an unfathomable 5 minor penalties in the first period. The Hawks were without Brent Seabrook's services for an extended sequence of back-to-back delay of game penalties due to his 95 foot bout with Devils' hemmoroid David Clarkson after Seabrook and fed him his own dick in the right corner of the Hawks defensive zone. And immediately preceding that, Duncan Keith stepped into a streaking Zach Parise in the slot, and promptly introduced him to the view of the underside of the rafters of the United Center.
The Hawks had numerous chances on the man advantage, and finally cashed in on a slick move by Kris Versteeg, who took a pass below the goal line from Jesus Havlat Christ and went backhand-forehand-water bottle with a spin move to walk it out to the shortside post and roof it over a down (but in position) Fatso.
The Devils responded the way talented and well-coached teams do on the road. Captain America, Zach Parise zipped one by Nik, which appeared to jump up off Aaron Johnson's stick. The Devils took the lead in the dying seconds of the frame off of a scramble in front of Khabibulin on a delayed call, which Paul Martin banged home. Brian Campbell would futilly protest afterwards to the officiating that he had gained control of the puck, but alas, the goal counted anyway.
The second period saw things slow down a little bit, and it should be noted that one of the referees took a puck in the chops off an odd carom on a ring around on the boards, leaving the crew to complete the game a man short, which may or may not have resulted in both teams getting away with more shenanigans (that place with all the shit on the walls) behind the play. The Bolland line, which Q matched up against Zajac and Parise all night, had an excellent shift of sustanted pressure which saw Seabrook unleash a bomb from the point only to draw iron with about the loudest ring off the post I've ever heard at the UC. The Hawks were able to control the rebound and the Devils allowed Havlat to skate unabated into the high slot and pick his corner over Fatso's blocker.
(Note to the braintrust at 1901 W. Madison: Every clutch point he produces is going to cost you more money, or more wins next year. Take a page out of the Ken Holland Book of Awesome and make him a Blackhawk for life with a severely frontloaded contract. Contract year my ass, he's a point per game player regardless of who he plays with)
The third period saw things tighten up further with both goalies making the saves they needed to make for their respective teams. The quality scoring chances were few and far between during the rapidly moving third period, which did not see its first stoppage until about the five-and-a-half-minute mark.
Given the extra space in overtime, the Hawks controlled the majority of the play with 5 shots on net before Brent Seabrook capitulated the game with a one-time from the blue line that Brodeur would probably like to have back. Who knew the way to beat arguably the best goaltender in history was with an unscreened slapshot from 60 feet away? Needless to say, pandemoneum ensued. The Hawks were able to keep pace with Vancouver (Biscuit even admitted to scoreboard watching in the on-ice interview), and gained even more confidence with their third win in a row, their second in a row against another Cup hopeful.
There were many options for last night's player of the game. Versteeg (who has been skating his ass off in general since Sam called him out in the Indian) and his nifty goal, Marty being Marty, or Dunc with two helpers. But seeing as he managed the elusive Gordie Howe Trick, it's got to go to Brent Seabrook.