With the NHL on pause and the World Championship tournament canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Second City Hockey will look back at Blackhawks playoff games since 2010 with an “On this date in Blackhawks history” series.
Everything was lining up for the Blackhawks to head to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992.
They had a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Final against the Sharks, goaltender Antti Niemi had played well throughout the series and they were at home for Game 4.
But they trailed 2-0 at 7:35 of the second period and were down one player in forward Andrew Ladd. And looked to be down another when defenseman Duncan Keith lost seven teeth after Patrick Marleau’s clearing attempt hit him in the face.
But Keith wasn’t done and neither were the Blackhawks. He missed a few minutes before returning to the bench and chewed on a gauze pad to soak up the blood from his mouth. And the Blackhawks scored four unanswered goals for a 4-2 win to sweep the Sharks.
Dustin Byfuglien scored his third go-ahead goal of the series, converting on a power play at 14:05 of the third period. Byfuglien did what he did best against the Sharks — go to the net. With seven seconds remaining on the power play, Byfuglien took a pass from Patrick Kane and knocked the puck past Evgeni Nabokov for a 3-2 lead.
Kris Versteeg scored from center ice with a backhand shot into an empty net with 42 seconds remaining in the game, and had an assist. Niemi made 16 saves.
Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau both scored for the Sharks, who were swept for the first time since the 1995 semifinals against the Red Wings. Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves on 26 shots.
Couture scored on a rebound after a shot by Devin Setoguchi from the left boards for a 1-0 lead 11:08 into the first period.
During a power play in the second period, Patrick Kane had a look at a half-open net but Marc-Edouard Vlasic blocked it with his left skate and the puck trickled toward the blue line where Marleau attempted to clear it. The puck hit Keith in the face and caused him to lose several teeth and start an odd-man rush, which Marleau finished from the right circle at 7:35 to make it 2-0.
But Brent Seabrook cut the deficit to 2-1 at 13:15 when he put in a rebound during a scramble in front of the net. A video review overturned the on-ice ruling of no goal.
Dave Bolland grabbed control of the puck behind the net then waited to take his shot on a wraparound that deflected off Kent Huskins’ stick to tie tied it 2-2 at 18:38.
Byfuglien and Versteeg’s goals would follow as the Blackhawks eliminated the team that beat them by one point in the regular season for the top seed in the West. The Blackhawks would wait until the next night to find out their Cup Final opponent as the Flyers defeated the Canadiens 4-2 to win their Eastern Conference Final 4-1.