Hawks refused to let up vs. Wings
DETROIT -- If there was any doubt the Chicago Blackhawks did indeed want to earn the No. 5 seed and a date with the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the playoffs, Joel Quenneville erased it by pulling Corey Crawford in the closing seconds of regulation in the Hawks eventual 3-2 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
The game was tied 2-2 at the time, after the Hawks blew a 2-0 third-period lead by allowing Pavel Datsyuk to score with 47 seconds remaining and tie the game.
“Like we said going into the game, there are no bargains out there,” Joel Quenneville said afterwards. “All four teams we were eligible to play we had losing records against them this year but at the same time wherever the chips fell, wherever we end up, is always a chance. We said going into the game if we have to pull the goalie, we’ll pull the goalie.”
It sounds like more than anything the Hawks wanted to respect the game -- and the hockey gods -- in figuring out their playoff fate.
“It shows you that we want to win the game,” Patrick Sharp said of pulling the goalie. “You get into trouble if you start picking who you want to play in the playoffs. I’ve said it all along, you look at the eight teams in the West, it’s not going to be an easy series for anyone.”
So whether it was Nashville or now Los Angeles, Phoenix or San Jose, the Hawks weren’t thinking about their future foe as much as they were thinking about themselves.
“I thought we had an excellent finish to our season and have some momentum going into the playoffs,” Quenneville said. “No matter who we play it’ll be a challenge.”
The Hawks might lament giving up the lead, but they took the season series over the Wings four games to two, earning points in all six contests. That’s impressive. And all six games were one-goal affairs.
“It’s nothing special,” Duncan Keith said. “They’re a good team but right now we’re focused on the playoffs.”
And who they might play. That comes later on Saturday. At least the Hawks can say they played the game the right way right to the end.
“Last game of the season there was a lot on the line for seeding but I thought for the most part we played a good game and we were able to come out with a win anyway,” Sharp said. “So that’s good.”
Kane’s shootout move
After Pavel Datsyuk failed to score with a between the legs move, Patrick Kane tried the same, but finished on it.
“I just thought of the move real quick, put it through my legs and bring it back,” Kane said. “Luckily it worked out ... I know they were fighting for home ice but it didn’t really mean anything to our team so I figured why not try to do something.”
Unlike Thursday in Minnesota Kane didn’t need to lift the puck. He went through the legs of goaltender Jimmy Howard and scored the lone goal in the shootout.
“I just thought of it real quick to get the fans out of their seats and score too,” Kane said. “Glad it worked.”
• Jimmy Hayes lost two teeth after getting high-sticked in the first period by Riley Sheahan.
“Then I got an elbow in the game later that split my lip open,” Hayes said.
• Marian Hossa won the team scoring title with 77 points, leading the Hawks with 48 assists. Patrick Sharp led the Hawks in goals with 33 and also had the best plus/minus on the team with a plus-28 rating.
• Sharp had two prime assists for the Hawks including a nifty pass out front to Andrew Shaw for the Hawks second goal.
• Viktor Stalberg added to his career high with his 22nd goal on a rebound of a Sharp shot. All 43 of his points this season came even strength, the most in the league.
• During the first period the Hawks announced goalie Ray Emery had signed a one year contract extension. He’ll make $1.15 million next year, according to a league source.
“I guess we were going on the road anyway so it probably doesn’t matter much to us,” -- Kane, on not winning the game in regulation and earning a higher seed.