All right, who showed the Chicago Blackhawks the last chapter of these game notes? I swear, they either read them or somehow read my mind and actually followed my recommendations. Okay, I won’t take credit for their win, but it’s good to see that they also knew what was lacking in their game and fixed their problems.
First things first: hallelujah, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been reunited. When they’re on the same line, it’s magical. In the second period, Toews scored with a deflection and broke his scoring drought, and Kane followed up with a filthy backhand shot. They’re like peanut butter and jelly, bologna and cheese, milk and cookies: each is good on their own, but they’re so much better together. Their kind of synergy is a beautiful thing.
Secondly, the Blackhawks were beastly with their faceoffs. Remember that in Monday’s game, they were getting spanked at the dot by the Boston Bruins. This time, they took the reins and roared back, evening the faceoff percentages. Faceoffs mean puck possession, and the Blackhawks had that.
Lastly, special teams were good but wobbly at times, allowing Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron to each score a power play goal. But wonder of wonders, the Blackhawks’ power play did not suck this time. There were shots on goal, and Patrick Sharp scored the rare-as-unicorn-poo power play goal in the third period. Not only that, but Michal Handzus scored a rarer-than-an-ugly-kitten shorthanded goal.
When I said this game needed more attention to rebounds, the Blackhawks listened. Marcus Kruger’s goal was off his own rebound, Kane’s goal was off a Bryan Bickell rebound, and Sharp almost scored off a rebound. It’s good to see that they woke up a bit and had some net presence for a change.
The big, ugly thing in the room is Corey Crawford’s five goals allowed, all on his glove side. I’m not blaming Corey for those, but I’m going to say that it would be nice if there was some effective screening on that side so that the Bruins have less of a chance to shoot there. We’ve all seen Corey make some delicious glove saves, but screening would be just peachy as well. Crawford can’t do everything.
Whoever wins this game will turn Game 6 into and elimination game. The Blackhawks have faced elimination before, so they’re not afraid. Let’s hope they keep Game 4’s positives in mind and come within a win of a fifth Stanley Cup.