Chicago Blackhawks Week in Review: April 20-27
Chicago Blackhawks: Week 14
The last week of the season has come and gone. It feels like it started only yesterday, and now we’ve come to the end. Did the Chicago Blackhawks go out with a bang or a whimper? Let’s find out.
The Blackhawks began their last week in western Canada against the Vancouver Canucks, but it was a horrid game with a 3-1 loss. There was only one goal from Daniel Carcillo, and Corey Crawford seemed to be the only player doing anything. Their next stop was Alberta and the Edmonton Oilers, where they bounced back and clinched the President’s Trophy with their 4-1 win. Patrick Sharp returned and Drew LeBlanc made his NHL debut in that game, but Ray Emery was out again with a lower-body injury late in the first period.
The last two games of the season didn’t really mean anything in terms of points, but the Blackhawks played them with passion nonetheless. Their last home game was against the Calgary Flames, and Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews tied each other in goals with 23 for each in the 3-1 win.
The final game, against the St. Louis Blues, was different. The core of the team, 10 players total, sat out the game while the group of “Black Aces” from Rockford took over and battled the Blues. They tried to score, but only Ben Smith was successful. They lost 3-1, but it didn’t matter. The season was a success even without that last game.
It’s hard to believe the season’s over already. The Blackhawks made history, broke records and made a huge comeback after two less than stellar seasons. They can be proud of this season, but their job is far from over.
At Least Corey Was Awake
With the way the Blackhawks played, it looked like everyone had forgotten how to do anything. The only player who seemed to know what they were doing was Corey Crawford, who made 29 saves and kept the game from being a major disaster.
Carcillo Stops the Shutout
Coach Joel Quenneville called it “the worst game of the year”. Aside from Crawford’s performance, what kept the game from becoming a total wreck was the absolutely fluky goal Daniel Carcillo scored in the third period.
An Undisciplined Approach
It seems as though every time the Blackhawks play the Canucks, everyone says the same thing: “Stay focused. Don’t lose your head. Don’t take penalties.” But once the game starts, that plea for discipline goes right out the window. The Blackhawks took 12 penalty minutes in this game, including a penalty by Crawford, comapred to the six penalty minutes for the Canucks.
Corey Comes Through
When Ray Emery became injured in the first period against the Oilers, Corey Crawford took his place with six minutes left. He picked up where Emery left off, even making a gorgeous glove save on Jordan Eberle.
Second Star of the Night
Patrick Kane further added to the argument for his Hart Trophy nomination with his goal and two assists on the night. The goal came on a breakaway, and Kane sent the puck five hole past Devan Dubnyk.
With their win over the Oilers, the Blackhawks captured the President’s Trophy with 77 points for the season. It’s their first trophy in 21 seasons and their fourth overall.
Kane’s Opening Goal
It was Patrick Kane who put the Blackhawks on the board first with his 23rd goal of the season. Patrick Sharp fed Kane the pass after his own attempt failed, and Kane rifled it short side past Joey MacDonald at close range.
Not to be outdone by Kane, Jonathan Toews scored his 23rd goal of the season as well, sliding behind MacDonald to catch the puck as it sat in the crease after Brandon Saad’s shot.
The Little Swede Who Could
Poor Marcus Kruger hadn’t scored a goal in 32 games. When he finally fired a shot from the right circle in the third period, it went high stick side past MacDonald for his first goal since February 15.
An Amazing Home Record
The Blackhawks gave the home crowd a show on Fan Appreciation Night, and they ended their record in United Center at 18-3-3 for the season.
Hutton Makes his Debut
After being Corey Crawford’s backup on Friday, Carter Hutton made his NHL debut in net with Crawford as his understudy. Despite the three goals by the Blues, Hutton had a good first game with 25 saves.
It was a night of first times for a few of the young Rockford IceHogs players who were on the ice in the Indian Head jersey. Besides Hutton, Shawn Lalonde and Ryan Stanton were also playing in their first NHL game.
Smith Ensures No Shutout
Ben Smith, the same Ben Smith who won Game 6 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, scored the only Blackhawks goal of the night. That kept the Blackhawks from being shut out for the game, and the Blackhawks went without being shut out for the entire season.
The End Result
Even though the last game was a loss, the Blackhawks shouldn’t be ashamed of what they’ve accomplished. They made history with their 24-game point streak, Ray Emery made history with his string of starts, and they finished with the most points ever in a 48-game season. They also have two players in Hart Trophy contention, their head coach is in contention for the Jack Adams Trophy, and their top rookie tied for third overall in rookie scoring.