Let it be known I'm on wrap duty because the other two members of this board are on girlfriend duty on this most glorious of nights.
I can't tell you why I put Animal up here, but that's the raw emotion that I feel. I know there are loftier goals this season than simply making the playoffs. But I am sure that I am not the only one who when that 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs graphic popped up on the Jumbotron after the final whistle had their heart skip a beat. It's been so long, we've been through so much misery, and been so excited for this moment. Now that it's here, I'm more excited than I should be, probably. But fuck it. I've waited 7 years, and in fact I wasn't living in the country in 2002, so I've waited 12 years for this. There's much more to be done this season, but for one night, let's rejoice that at some point this month, the Hawks will take the United Center Ice, and there will be a Stanley Cup Playoff emblem on the ice, and we'll know we've arrived.
It was a tough slog tonight. The Preds are so disciplined, so well-drilled, they make things very hard. They were practically daring the Hawks d-men to make a long breakout pass from their zone, and for the most part the Hawks couldn't do it. But the Hawks didn't let up either, and made it just as hard for Nashville to get things going either. Both Hawks goals resulted from turnovers in the Preds zone. Ladd caused one, centering to Pahlse, who buried a backhand top shelf. In the 2nd, Havlat and Kane caused a ruckus in the Preds zone, and Havlat found Toews in front to score the winner.
From then on, the Hawks were about as solid defensively as they've been. The Preds only created a few good chances, and Khabby was there to shut the door everytime. Finally, the Hawks got the big saves they've need for over a month and weren't getting. But there were only a few.
I could go more in-depth about tonight's game, but now is not the time. Tonight is time to celebrate that our wait is over. We are an NHL franchise again, we're bordering on being an NHL power again, it's all over, and a new dawn is here. Take one night and drink it in.
Player of the Game
I thought about Pahlse, who was once again solid in both ends. I thought about Toews with the winner, or Khabby with a solid effort, but there's one guy once again making the difference