[Insert "sweep" pun here] - Hawks Win Western Conference - Beat Sharks 4-2
After going down 2-0 nothing a little less than halfway through the second period, you could have expected to the Hawks to slow it down and regroup for a game 5 on Tuesday. They were without Andrew Ladd who was having a great series and their Norris Trophy nominated defeseman just had his face shattered by a clearing attempt, which directly led to the Sharks short-handed goal.
Instead the Hawks rallied. They chipped away with an ugly goal that was initially called off before the replays clearly showed it crossing the line. Then as the period neared an end, Dave Bolland beautifully tied up the stick of Logan Couture before skating out to the side and patiently waiting for an opportunity. Nabokov was down early and Bolland tied us up going into the third.
The third period started strong for the Sharks and they seemed like they were moving.. but it didn't last. In fact, despite working hard at the beginning of the period, they managed only 3 shots on net. For once it was the Sharks who couldn't seem to stay out of the box as they took three straight penalties. On the third, Buff put in his third game winning goal of the series. With just under a minute left, Versteeg iced it and Maria started pouring the shots.
-With only 3 shots in the third and their lowest shot total of series by a mile, it's no surprise that it's the Sharks who have the awful looking Corsi Numbers this time around. A nice change of pace for the Hawks, only Hendry, Brouwer and Eager were negatives for the night... er afternoon.
-Duncan Keith is all that is man. Not only did he lose 7 teeth... one of them was stuck in the back of his throat. He missed only a few minutes before coming back and assisting on the Hawks second goal. He also still found time to lead all skaters with just over 29 minutes of ice time. I'm sure he's high as a fucking kite right now and it's well deserved. And speaking of losing teeth - if you haven't read this piece by Mirtle, please do so now.
-The Sharks still won the faceoff battle but it wasn't nearly as ugly as we've seen recently, 29-28. Dave Bolland didn't help much though winning only 3 of his 12 draws. That's at least a double digit percentage though.. good for him.
-Speaking of Bolland, the rat was once again a pest for Thornton. He shadowed him effectively, shut him down and very importantly, didn't take any penalties in this game. For the second game in a row we've seen some great work behind the net. With Bolland playing at the best we've probably ever seen him, we've got 4 Hawks that are frontrunners in the WCF MVP race... so who do you think it is?
Who is the Hawks MVP in the Western Conference Finals?
|Dave Bolland - 2G, +4, all around pest||93|
|Jonathan Toews - 1G, 5A - extends point streak to 13 games||207|
|Dustin Byfuglien - 4G, Three GWGs||448|
|Antti Niemi - .949 SV%||734|