Coming into Saturday’s game, fans of the Chicago Blackhawks were trying to be optimistic. They kept invoking memories of the team’s seven-game quarterfinals series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. The team fought back after being down 3-0 in the series only to lose in overtime in Game Seven. This time, the Blackhawks would fight back, and they’d beat the Detroit Red Wings. Still, that hope was tempered with anxiety.
The Blackhawks had played poorly in the last three games, and many wondered if this was the way the season would end after beginning so incredibly. As the puck dropped on Saturday night, everyone held their breath. It didn’t take long for them to not only exhale but blow the roof off the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 4-1, forcing a sixth game and staving off elimination.
The biggest moments of the game came from rare and anticipated events. Two of the Blackhawks’ four goals came on power plays. You read that correctly, two goals were scored on what had been a power play that made even the most diehard fan cry out in pain. One came on a tip-in from Andrew Shaw, who would go on to score an even-strength goal as well. The other was the long-awaited first goal of the playoffs from Jonathan Toews.
Before Saturday, Toews endured nine games without a goal, including a game that had him so angry and frustrated that his teammate had to calm him down in the penalty box. He finally broke through and scored with a shot from the right circle that pinged off of Jimmy Howard’s mask before settling in the net. You could see the weight of that scoring drought lift off his shoulders as his teammates celebrated with him.
Now, it’s back to Detroit in another game to beat back the Red Wings. The Blackhawks look to carry the momentum they gained from this game into the next one. If how they played is any indication, the Blackhawks have a lot of fight left in them.