Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From Game 5

By Gail Kauchak

May 25, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing

Teuvo Teravainen

(86) is congratulated by left wing

Patrick Sharp

(10) and center

Antoine Vermette

(80) as Anaheim Ducks left wing

Patrick Maroon

(19) looks on during the second period in game five of the Western Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks lost a heart breaker in overtime last night by a score of 5-4, and the Anaheim Ducks now lead the series 3-2.   Chicago is faced with a must win on Wednesday in order to stay in this thing.  As has been the case for the entire series, this game had some incredible up and downs for both sides.  Let’s take a closer look at how this all came to be.  Here are my 5 takeaways from last night’s game.

5.  Worst first period ever! Wow, did the Hawks look flat in the first period!  They couldn’t clear the puck out of their own zone, and consequently couldn’t get anything going.  They didn’t even get a shot on goal until late in the period.

In the meantime, The Ducks were skating circles around them.  They scored 2 early goals off their first 3 shots, and then took advantage of a clean faceoff win to put another one in the net.  Just like that it was 3-0 Anaheim.

ESPN’s Scott Powers wrapped it up perfectly on Twitter.  In the first period, the Hawks were outscored 3-0, out shot 24-19 (11-3 on net), lost 10-of-26 faceoffs, and had 6 giveaways.  Ugh!

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4.  Baby TT to the rescue. Just as we were all starting to despair, the first period was mercifully over and the Hawks came out much stronger in the second.  Oh, hey, that’s what this team is supposed to look like, I remember now!  Life came from none other than Teuvo Teravainen.  The situation was very reminiscent of when the Hawks were down 3-0 to Nashville, and TT’s great vision led to a goal by Niklas Hjalmarsson.

TT has been looking great all postseason, especially considering he is so young and inexperienced, and this is his first time on the big stage.  One thing he has been criticized for is not shooting enough.  Well, guess what?  He finally decided to shoot the puck.  And it went in!

It can be argued that this was a soft goal let in by Frederik Andersen; similar to the one Teuvo shot in against Devan Dubnyk in the Minnesota series.  But let’s face it; they’re all softies, because nobody expects him to shoot!  Keep shooting TT!

Teravainen wasn’t done yet.  Later in the period, he made a great pass (he was behind the net, so I will forgive him for not shooting), to Brent Seabrook, who sunk it in for the score.  3-2, and we have ourselves a game!

3.  Captain Comeback.  I remember former teammate Jamal Mayers saying that Jonathan Toews literally willed the team to win in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.  Well he is certainly working on doing that again. The third period and the comeback belonged to the Captain.

Patrick Maroon of the Ducks scored again to make it 4-2, and Blackhawks fans everywhere were ready to call it a night.  Not so fast!  With Corey Crawford out for an extra attacker, Toews capitalized on a great pass from Marian Hossa to make it 4-3.  Then he shot the puck in from an incredible angle to tie it up with only 37 seconds to go in the game!

This man never gives up, and that is why we love him on our team.

2.  Bryan Bickell. Well, Big Bicks hasn’t turned on his playoff self yet this year.  And now many people are blaming him for losing last night’s game in overtime.  He made a bad pass, and then instead of chasing after his mistake, he went for a change.  This eventually led to Matt Beleskey’s overtime winner.

I agree that Bickell isn’t playing very well in this series or these playoffs.  But benching him would mean bringing in Kris Versteeg, who has looked even worse.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be in Coach Quenneville’s shoes for that decision.

I’m betting he will instead do more of what he did in the second and third periods of this game.  He’ll play more of Kane/Toews/Saad and perhaps give Bickell less responsibility.  Bicks needs to keep it simple and concentrate on finishing his checks and screening in front of the net.

1.  It’s not over until it’s over! I say these words because I said them when the Chicago Blackhawks lost 4 games in a row to close out the regular season.  At that time, it was hard to believe this team could make a deep run in the playoffs.  But they bounced back, and they have made a great run of it so far.   This team showed some incredible heart last night, but it was time for the tide to roll against them.  They just couldn’t pull their magic in the end.

That being said, there’s another game on Wednesday, and it’s at the United Center.   The Chicago Blackhawks need to baton down the hatches and get ready to weather the storm.  They need to come out strong, and keep it simple.  Win each shift, and then the next shift.  How can you not believe in this Chicago Blackhawks team?  They’ve done it before and they can do it again!


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