Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Has anybody paid attention to the Hawks’ resolve over the last seven seasons? They don’t cave in. There don’t go away without a fight. They have been known to heal themselves.
Not even that three-goal barrage could kill them.
“I think a lot of teams wouldn’t feel too good about themselves,’’ said Toews, who had a goal and an assist. “I think we did a great job of just collecting ourselves and staying calm and knowing it is what it is and you can’t change that. You’ve got to move forward and you’ve got to find a way to get yourself back in the game.
“…I think we had the character and poise to relax and calm ourselves down and make a game of it and find a way to get back into it.’’
This is the franchise that roared back from a three-games-to-nothing deficit in 2011 to take No. 1-seeded Vancouver to a seventh game, before losing in overtime. In 2013, the Hawks were down three games to one to Detroit and won that series. Doubt them at your own risk.
Lots of people, including some players, had painted Game 4 as a must-win game for the Hawks. No. Whether they won or lost, they would to go to Anaheim for Game 5 and give themselves every opportunity to win. That’s how they operate.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
This Game 4 at United Center wasn’t as long as Game 2 was back at Honda Center, but then that exercise in triple overtime was the longest Blackhawks’ game ever, and this franchise has been around longer than the concept of the playoff beard.
Having suffered their second crushing, late-night, last-call defeat of the week, the Ducks – whose resilience is such that no one should question their ability to rebound from this one, either – said all the right things afterward.
All the right things, plus some.
Andrew Cogliano suggested his team “put some doubt” into the Blackhawks’ minds by coming back after being down, 3-1, in the third period.
Perry joined the chorus in noticing all the minutes being accumulated by Chicago’s top defensemen, saying, “If we just keep doing the same things over and over again, we’re going to wear them down.”
And Cam Fowler continued the drumbeat about the team’s deep-rooted faith, noting, “We’re a group that believes, no matter what, in here.”
The guess in this space, however, is that the Ducks fully understand this series looks like it’s headed for a Game 7 – and potentially an epic one – next weekend.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Blackhawks endured an improbable three-goal Ducks onslaught in a 37-second span in the third period, an onslaught that erased a 3-1 Chicago lead. And they withstood a further onslaught from the Ducks in overtime, being outshot 21-7, before Vermette found the back of the net from a sharp angle with just his second shot of the night.
"I think we worked hard to get to where we were in the third period with a 3-1 lead. I guess when it rains it pours, in some moments, especially today for us in the third. I think a lot of teams wouldn't feel too good about themselves," said a still-sweaty Toews, who scored his first goal of the series Saturday to break a five-game goalless drought.
"I think we did a great job of staying calm, collecting ourselves. It is what it is. You can't change that. You have to move forward, find a way to get yourself back in the game. Obviously, when we get into late overtime periods, I think we have a feeling as a group that we're going to find a way to win."
If there was one person who personified that will to win, that belief in the collective when in the face of adversity, it was Vermette, who was inexplicably scratched for Game 3.
He watched that Game 3 loss from the locker room, working out with some of the other scratches.
"The emotion, it's not a pleasant one," Vermette said. "As a proud competitor, like anybody else on this team, you want to be part of the team. You think you can help the team. I think that's a natural emotion to get. At the same time, very supportive of the group.
"Hopeful we get a couple more wins here."
Below, watch the game highlights...
Elliotte Friedman takes an in depth look at the resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Chicago sports scene.
Not sure why ref Chris Rooney was where he was....
The game starts just after 8:00pm ET on NBC, CBC and TVA.
The Ducks can go up 3-1 in the series which would then give them a chance to wrap up the series at home on Monday.
The Blackhawks certainly need this game and should bring their 'A' game tonight.
Feel free to discuss.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Somewhere in between the three overtime loss and the three and a half hour flight back here from California, the Blackhawks lost their speed.
And with it, they may have lost the ability to dictate the outcome of the remainder of the Western Conference final.
With a crucial Game 4 looming at the United Center on Saturday night, the 'Hawks hope to return to the style that got them through the first two rounds and a series split back in Anaheim.
And to do it, they'll need to get their legs out of the quicksand and not allow the Ducks to control the flow of the game as they did in Thursday's 2-1 win.
"I think any time when you talk about winning a series, you're going to want to play your game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We can't play a run-and-gun game.
"We're not a team that's built to skate up and down the rink all night long and trade chances. We're just not built that way. We have to execute our system and the things we want to do."
from Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The Ducks stifled the Hawks in the third and yet another power play went for naught when the Hawks failed to get bodies to the net and pucks to the goal.
"It's frustrating," Sharp said. "We have to be better. We have to get pucks to the net."
Captain Jonathan Toews did not use the word, but he didn't have to. His remarks were short and his temper not far behind.
"We're not making any excuses," Toews said. "We'll find ways to be better in the next one. It's a great team we're playing and we know we have to be better on special teams."
Most frustrating for Hawks fans was seeing Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom back in the lineup in place of Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette.
It meant Andrew Shaw was back at third-line center after some terrific games as a fourth-line winger. It meant the ineffective Versteeg dragged down another line, this time with Sharp on it, and it meant no Teravainen, which is inexplicable.
Perhaps most baffling is burying Sharp on the third line, when he could be helping Patrick Kane shake loose. To this point, Kane has a single point in the series after a Ducks collision offered him a loose puck in the slot and led to a goal late in the first period Thursday.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Instead of letting the past determine their future, the Anaheim Ducks revealed an inner fortitude that now has them halfway to a berth in the Stanley Cup finals.
Less than 48 hours after a crushing triple-overtime defeat in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, the Ducks turned up in one of the loudest, most difficult buildings to play in and came away with a 2-1 victory that gives them a 2-1 series lead.
It was not particularly pretty at times.
The Ducks seemed to fall into a potentially destructive shell in the third period as they tried to nurse a one-goal lead across the finish line, relying on netminder Frederik Andersen to come up huge -- again -- as Chicago outshot Anaheim 10-5 in the third period.
And the pace was well off the dazzling to and fro that dominated the epic clash in Game 2.
But when it mattered most on Thursday night, the Ducks proved they were made of sterner stuff than could be deflated by a triple-overtime loss. And the battle-tested Blackhawks revealed that perhaps winning a game in triple overtime can be as taxing as losing one.
Watch the game highlights below...
Puck drops just after 8:00pm ET on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
The series is 1-1 and the series shifts to Chicago for the next two games.
Discuss as you wish.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com