Hook, Line and Sinker

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks lower themselves below their level and lose another game late.

Sorry this took so long but I had some debating to do on the interwebs.

That was a roller coaster of a game. The Blackhawks came out like crap, recovered to take the lead in the 3rd period, and then switched jerseys with the Blues and played the most dumb seven minutes of hockey I have seen in a long time.  The Blues main objective in this series is to get the Blackhawks to play their game and muck it up, and today they accomplished it. Bravo, super sized hockey coach, bravo.

The start of Saturday's game felt more like an old school professional wrestling battle royal than a hockey game,  Both teams came out looking to send a physical message.  The Blackhawks got an early power play after Ryan Reaves took a charging penalty for hitting Michal Rozsival well after the passed the puck.  The Blackhawks "power" play responded with just one shot.  Ken Hitchcock benched Brendan Morrow for Chris Porter and the move paid off at  7:09.  Porter was in the right place at the right time as a Brent Seabrook shot block went right to his stick for an easy goal, his 1st career playoff tally.  Kevin Shattenkirk would double the Blues lead with less than one second left in the 1st period. After Corey Crawford made a great save of Jaden Schwartz, the puck found Shattenkirk at the point with the entire Blackhawks teams on the right side of ice, and he blasted the puck past Crawford who was trying to slide back to cover the left side.

The stupidity started in the 2nd period as the Blackhawks took three straight penalties within the first six minutes of the frame.  Thankfully, the Hawks' penalty kill unit was up to the task.  The Blackhawks finally decided to stop being cute and started getting pucks towards the net midway through the 2nd period and it paid off.  Kris Versteeg won a rare board battle behind the net and got the puck to Duncan Keith at the point, who ripped a slap shot through traffic and past Ryan Miller for his first goal of the playoffs at 17:25.

The Blackhawks would start the 3rd period on a full two minute power play but could not do anything with it.  Brent Seabrook would tie the game 4:53 into the 3rd period after Brandon Saad made a great play.  Saad chipped the puck along the boards, won the race to the corner and got the puck around the boards where Seabrook ripped a one timer past Miller from the top of the right circle.  About a minute and a half later, the Hawks would take the lead with another goal from a defenseman.  Michal Rozsival shot a floating puck from the point that hit off of David Backes on the way past Miller to give the Hawks all the momentum. This is the point of the game where the Blackhawks went from the 2013 champions to a bunch of ice skating idiots. First Bryan Bickell stuck his knee out to take down Vladimir Sobotka.  Before that penalty could expire, Seabrook would get tagged with a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for targeting the head of David Backes. Vladimir Tarasenko would tie game up with 6.5 seconds left, while the Blues had a 6 on 4 advantage, because he had a ton of space to get in front of the net a deflect an Alex Pietrangelo shot past Crawford.

There must be something in the water supply of St. Louis that causes hockey players to do dumb things.  Even Jonathan Toews took a dumb high sticking penalty just over three minutes into overtime.  Shortly after that penalty expired Barret Jackman would end the game as his shot from the point got through traffic and squeezed through the pads of Corey Crawford.  The Hawks have painted themselves in a corner after blowing two games they could have won.  Hopefully some home cooking is all they need but I am not encouraged by what I saw Saturday afternoon.

* I am sorry but what I saw from Bryan Bickell and Brent Seabrook was disgusting.  If you are going play like the Blues you are going to lose like the Blues.  The thing that is most disappointing about all of it is that these two plays came from guys who know better and are not dirty players.  What exactly are you trying to prove? I had to deal with a lot of people who wanted to defend Seabrook's hit but, in my opinion, there is no way he gets a free pass.  I know it's hard for some to admit a guy on your favorite team could do something wrong, but everything about that play was wrong.  I've argued all night long if the hit was dirty or not, and it was, but some who say it was clean can't even admit that it was stupid.  There was no need for that type of hit when you have a one goal lead late in the 3rd period, none!  Brent Seabrook, who has been on the receiving of that type of hit twice in his career, should know better.  That is what is most disappointing and frustrating.

* Had to read a bunch of people blaming Corey Crawford for the Saturday's loss.  Are you kidding me?  The Blues got only one goal on nearly 18 minutes of power play time.  There is plenty of blame to go around for being down 0-2, but start with the power play not Corey Crawford.  Three shots on goal in eight minutes with the man advantage is just pathetic.

* One positive from Saturday's game is there is no way Q can play Michal Handzus and Brandon Bolling Monday night, right? RIIIIIIGHT?  You need to make a change to get a spark going, I say start with the worst two players on the ice in Game 2.

* I'm normally an optimist and I would mention the Blues were in this same spot last year and lost in six to the Kings.  I could also mention how the Hawks came back from being down from 3-1 to the Red Wings last year.  But, what I saw today from the Hawks, undisciplined, stupid and dirty hockey, doesn't give me a lot to hang my hat on.  Sure the Hawks were 1:51 from having a 2-0 lead in this series but I am not convinced they can just change things because they are wearing their red sweaters.  They have shown stretches of playing like Stanley Cup champions but haven't been close to doing for a full period, let alone an entire game.  It will be interesting to see how they respond in Game 3.  This series isn't over, but they need a big time turnaround Monday night.

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

17:18

51.5

-15.2

38.1

-32.5

69.2

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

14:55

64.7

6.5

70.0

23.6

28.6

Seabrook, Brent

D

14:26

55.6

-6.7

46.7

-9.9

72.7

Leddy, Nick

D

09:35

65.2

8.1

66.7

18.4

100

Sharp, Patrick

R

11:00

55.6

-6.7

38.9

-26.1

0.0

Kruger, Marcus

C

06:11

66.7

8.3

75.0

25.0

20.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

13:04

85.0

35.0

88.9

47.5

83.3

Saad, Brandon

L

10:41

61.9

3.1

50.0

-3.8

72.7

Versteeg, Kris

R

09:19

60.0

0.4

80.0

31.5

80.0

Handzus, Michal

C

08:23

30.4

-43.0

25.0

-47.7

0.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

14:24

68.8

11.6

75.0

28.3

33.3

Smith, Ben

R

08:18

61.5

2.2

80.0

31.5

0.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

11:50

76.5

21.9

75.0

28.3

81.8

Rozsival, Michal

D

10:14

60.7

1.6

46.2

-9.8

100

Bollig, Brandon

L

03:29

50.0

-10.6

40.0

-14.5

0.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

10:27

52.9

-8.9

50.0

-3.3

83.3

Hossa, Marian

R

10:40

57.7

-3.2

38.9

-26.1

50.0

Kane, Patrick

R

13:56

63.2

4.7

83.3

36.5

85.7

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Jackman, Barret

D

11:41

52.9

16.6

70.0

30.7

62.5

Schwartz, Jaden

C

12:07

39.1

-1.7

42.9

-7.1

33.3

Roy, Derek

C

04:07

33.3

-7.2

0.0

-47.4

100

Sobotka, Vladimir

C

11:30

42.9

3.6

46.2

-1.8

37.5

Bouwmeester, Jay

D

13:25

34.8

-8.1

45.5

-2.7

18.2

Steen, Alexander

L

12:05

27.3

-18.7

25.0

-28.3

18.2

Shattenkirk, Kevin

D

14:57

50.0

14.6

53.3

9.9

66.7

Pietrangelo, Alex

D

15:29

36.7

-6.2

46.7

-1.2

18.2

Ott, Steve

C

08:04

58.3

21.7

40.0

-8.5

60.0

Porter, Chris

L

10:25

52.6

16.8

61.5

21.5

50.0

Leopold, Jordan

D

13:13

44.8

7.6

43.8

-6.3

25.0

Lapierre, Maxim

C

11:49

45.8

8.3

50.0

4.2

50.0

Backes, David

R

11:00

30.0

-14.2

50.0

3.3

10.0

Polak, Roman

D

11:57

27.3

-18.7

30.0

-23.6

33.3

Reaves, Ryan

R

03:40

33.3

-7.2

0.0

-47.4

100

Oshie, T.J.

C

13:06

13.0

-40.0

14.3

-40.6

20.0

Cracknell, Adam

R

09:55

56.5

23.9

57.1

15.5

66.7

Tarasenko, Vladimir

R

09:50

45.5

7.5

52.9

10.1

50.0

*all data collected from www.nhl.com and www.extraskater.com

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