Chicago Blackhawks: Playoffs

Back-to-back openers favor home team

May, 30, 2013
5/30/13
1:54
PM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com
If recent history is any indication, the Chicago Blackhawks may have an advantage with the first two games of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings being played back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday at the United Center.

Since 1990, there have been 12 occasions where a playoff series has started with games on back-to-back days, and seven times the home team has started 2-0, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Three times the teams split the first two games and twice the visiting team swept the first two.

Overall, the home team has a 17-7 record (.708 win percentage) in back-to-back games, compared to a .591 win percentage when the first two games did not fall on consecutive days.

Before 1990, having games on back-to-back days in the playoffs was common.

Most Favorable First Round Matchup

April, 17, 2013
4/17/13
9:04
AM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com

Barry Melrose looks at the candidates for the most favorable first round matchup for the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Video: Toews On Playoff Seedings

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
3:46
PM CT
By Staff
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews talks about what he expects from Anaheim Friday night, the importance of playoff seedings and how aware they are of what Eastern Conference teams are doing.

Hawks never solved their problems

April, 24, 2012
4/24/12
12:57
AM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The 300-level rowdies were howling in the third period when the Chicago Blackhawks' Jimmy Hayes was sent off the ice for a brutal boarding call on Michal Rozsival, who lay prone on the ice.

“That’s not a penalty!” one yelled.

This was halfway through the period and en route to a season-ending 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. You wondered about the irony there, or maybe the hypocrisy, but really, you almost felt sorry for the bloodthirsty lot.

After all, they’re hockey fans, not irony fans. To the provincial, the Hayes’ hit wasn’t brutal, it was just a “hockey play.” Brutal was going 0-3 at home and missing all 39 shots in Game 6.

Read the entire column.

2nd-period wrap: Coyotes 1, Hawks 0

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
9:48
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks trailed the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0 after two periods in Game 6 at the United Center on Monday night.

Phoenix scored on the power play in the second after a questionable interference call on Jonathan Toews. Toews tried to enter the offensive zone, but ran into Gilbert Brule at the blue line instead.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored from the point on the ensuing man-advantage with Corey Crawford being screened.

The Hawks have dominated the action all night long, outshooting Phoenix 28-8 through 40 minutes. The home team ended the second period on the power play but failed to manage much of an attack. They’ll have 36 seconds of power-play time to start the third period.

Michael Jordan on hand to support Hawks

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
9:20
PM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
[+] EnlargeMichael Jordan
Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty ImagesMichael Jordan sits with Blackhawks legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita during Game 6.
CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan showed up at the United Center for Game 6 of the Chicago Blackhawks' playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.

Jordan, who was wearing a black army cap and a Jonathan Toews jersey, was shown on the scoreboard in the first period in a suite with Blackhawks legends Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. All three have statues outside of the arena.

Jordan loves a winner, which is probably why he skipped his team's game. In Washington D.C. the Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA team that Jordan owns, lost to the equally lowly Washington Wizards, 101-73. The Bobcats dropped to 7-57.

Flurry of shots does job for Hawks

April, 22, 2012
4/22/12
2:26
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
A travel day for both teams on Sunday gives us a chance to look at the good, the bad and one surprise of the Chicago Blackhawks' thrilling 2-1 overtime win over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 5 on Saturday. The Hawks now trail the Western Conference quarterfinal series 3-2.

The good



The reason Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was so happy with his team in Game 5 was they followed his game plan: shoot the puck. The Hawks had 38 shots on net. They had 29 more blocked and 17 missed the net altogether. That’s 84 attempts all told. Phoenix had 32. No one likes to get their shot blocked -- Duncan Keith had eight attempts alone -- but it’s all part of a grander scheme. Along with those that missed the net, it simply creates action in the offensive zone. Yes, getting blocked up near the point can create a breakaway or odd-man rush, but the amount of time and chasing the Coyotes did in their own end took away from any offensive attack. It was puck-possession hockey at its finest and you’re supposed to be rewarded for it eventually, even if not every shot or attempt is a great one. Those blocks can hurt defenders and those shots wear down a defense and goaltender. More of the same is needed in Game 6.

(Read full post)

Corey Crawford will start Game 5

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
3:37
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has elected to start goalie Corey Crawford in Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

With the Hawks trailing their Western Conference quarterfinal 3-1, Quenneville indicated Friday the team was discussing internally what to do with the goalie situation after Crawford gave up soft goals in overtime in Games 3 and 4.

Read the entire story.

NHL should suspend Torres for playoffs

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
1:35
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- This should be a no-brainer right? The NHL is getting a second chance at Raffi Torres exactly a year to the day he sent Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook to the showers with a high hit when Torres was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. This time it was Marian Hossa who got nailed and sent to the hospital. He might end up being OK, but Torres should be done for the series -- and maybe more.

“First off, I hope he’s all right,” Torres said after the Phoenix Coyotes’ 3-2 overtime win on Tuesday. “But as far as the hit goes, I felt like it was a hockey play. I was just trying to finish my hit out there, and as I said, I hope he’s all right.”

That might be Torres’ argument, but after Andrew Shaw got busted for three games, Torres is bound to get a whole lot more. Shaw’s victim, goalie Mike Smith, finished the game. And played the next one. Hossa did not. And may not.

“Who knows what will happen to Raffi Torres, I don’t know what to expect anymore. I don’t think anyone does, so we’ll see,” Jonathan Toews said. “It will probably be a surprise.”

Just as it seemed like the league had set a very low bar with how they dealt with Nashville’s Shea Weber and his head slam of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, they raised it higher than anyone expected when Shaw was banned for three games.

Bottom line: A charging and interference infraction combined with a head shot and a bad history should end Torres for the rest of the playoffs. If Shaw’s suspension was a message to the rest of the playoff teams then Torres didn’t understand it. Now simply comes the punishment. The time for messages is over.

Crawford on Coyotes' winner: 'Terrible goal'

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
1:26
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Sometimes overtime hockey simply comes down to who will make the big mistake first. Fatigue sets in, the mind wanders and poor technique follows. Maybe that’s why Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford let in a bad-angle goal by Mikkel Boedker on Tuesday, ending his team’s chances of taking their first lead in their playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Hawks lost, 3-2, and Crawford knows he let in a bad one.

“Terrible goal,” he said after the game. “We dominated overtime. I thought my night, I was feeling good all game long. I just feel bad giving that one [up] after our guys battled in overtime. That one was definitely on me.”

Crawford has made his share of good saves in the series, but sometimes it’s the ones that aren’t made that are remembered. This was one of them.

“It’s tough,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said about the winning goal. “Never a good ending when you lose in overtime. Just have to regroup. But that one hurt.”

(Read full post)

The ugly truth about hockey

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
1:14
AM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa left the United Center in an ambulance.

That was after he was carted off the ice, his neck stabilized, his body supine.

That was after he lay on the ice for long, scary minutes as the United Center piped in “Blue Moon,” to chill out the crowd (it didn’t work) and cut replays from the scoreboard.

That was after Hossa’s head bounced off the ice.

That was after Phoenix Coyotes aggressor Raffi Torres left his feet and rammed his left shoulder into Hossa’s right jaw.

That was after Torres, skating from behind, sized up Hossa like he was Brandon Meriweather on skates.

Read the entire column.

Rapid Reaction: Coyotes 3, Hawks 2

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
11:35
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Phoenix’s Mikkel Boedker scored 13:15 into overtime, the third straight extra period in the series, to give the Coyotes a 2-1 series lead. A late first-period goal by Andrew Brunette on a tip of a Patrick Kane shot held up until early in the third period when Rostislav Klesla tied it from the point. That opened the floodgates for two more goals over the next minute of play. The Hawks retook the lead on Michael Frolik's first tally since Dec. 14 as he banged home a rebound of a Brent Seabrook shot. But not long after that Ray Whitney put in a rebound of his own to tie the game at 2-2.

What it means: The Hawks trail 2-1 in the series despite scoring the first goal in all three contests. They led twice on Tuesday but couldn’t hold onto their second lead for more than 30 seconds. Neither team has led by more than a goal at any time in the series, but the Hawks have come up short twice in overtime out of three tries.

Hossa injury: Hossa was blown up near center ice and taken off on a stretcher, but the Blackhawks said he left an area hospital under his own power. It’s unknown if he’s available for Game 4.

What’s next: Game 4 is Thursday at the United Center after a practice day on Wednesday for both teams.

1st-period wrap: Hawks 1, Coyotes 0

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
9:01
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks led the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0 after the first period of Game 3 at the United Center on Tuesday.

Patrick Kane scored with under 30 seconds to play in the period after a faceoff win by Marcus Kruger led to Kane’s shot near the point. Andrew Brunette provided the screen for him.

The Coyotes had 16 shots on net and the better scoring chances, while also earning two power plays, but the story of the first period was a scary hit by Raffi Torres on Marian Hossa. Torres hit Hossa in the head midway through the period after Hossa passed the puck. Hossa went down to the ice and was eventually carted off on a stretcher.

There was no further update on Hossa and no penalty was called on the play, although Brandon Bollig quickly jumped Torres and was given a roughing penalty.

The Hawks had 10 shots on net, but not many scoring chances other than on Kane’s goal.

Marian Hossa leaves on stretcher

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
8:55
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa left the ice on a stretcher Tuesday night after sustaining an apparent head injury midway through the first period of Game 4 of Chicago's first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Hossa was leveled by Coyotes forward Raffi Torres after a pass in the neutral zone. Torres struck Hossa's head during the hit and Hossa immediately fell to the ice. There was no penalty called on the play.

Read the entire story.

Hawks ready to resume series at home

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
9:35
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- Amid a goalie-getting-run controversy and two overtime thrillers, the scene for the Chicago Blackhawks-Phoenix Coyotes quarterfinal playoff series, tied at 1-1, shifts to the United Center for Games 3 and 4 starting on Tuesday.

For the Hawks, it’s their first home playoff contest since Game 6 last season against the Vancouver Canucks. That one ended in overtime as did the next three Hawks’ playoff games. Seeing a trend here?

“They’ll probably be the loudest of the year,” goalie Corey Crawford predicted of the crowd on Tuesday night. “We love playing in front of our fans.”

Who on the Hawks wouldn’t? They were 27-8-6 at home this season and sold out every game while Phoenix was a respectable 20-14-7 on the road.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Oduya
Bill Smith/Getty ImagesJohnny Oduya and the Blackhawks are ready to be back in front of the home crowd on Tuesday.
“Playoff hockey is a little different beast,” winger Andrew Brunette said. “After the first five, 10 minutes it feels like you’re in an old barn [arena]. You don’t really feel the home-ice advantage or home-ice disadvantage being on the road. Each team in the playoffs… there is a reason they’re in the playoffs. They’ve played well on the road.”

Brunette will take center stage once again as he did for a lot of Game 2, and plenty of games during the regular season. He’s back in the top 6 of forwards, playing with Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane again.

“It takes a few shifts to get back into the mojo,” Brunette said of being put back on their line mid-game. “I haven’t played with them in a little bit… trying to get them the puck. [They are] two of the premier players in the league and they both want the puck. You have to find a way for them to get the puck and let them do what they do best.”

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26