We’ve reached the No. 72 slot in our countdown of the most memorable Chicago Blackhawks playoff victories under the mustachioed mad genius, Joel Quenneville. We’re still early in the countdown, looking at games that ultimately benefited the Blackhawks and were enjoyable at the time, but that also didn’t have much staying power in our collective long-term memory. Only one game came before today’s outing, and you can view that post below.
But for now, let’s look at the 72nd-most-memorable playoff win in the Blackhawks’ Coach Q Era:
No. 72: 2013 Western Conference first round, Game 4
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Minnesota Wild 0
I promise the beginning of this list isn’t entirely made up of victories against the Wild. For whatever reason, most of Chicago’s recent playoff victories against Minnesota haven’t stuck with me long term. But let’s go through this one.
This game avoids the most memorable playoff game cellar because goaltender Corey Crawford shut out the Wild with a 25-save performance. But this game wasn’t necessarily memorable for one specific reason, as it was somewhat sloppy on both ends and Minnesota had a goaltender problem after just one period.
Da Windy City
That’s a familiar story you’ll hear during this memorable playoff wins series: The Wild had a goaltender problem. This time, Josh Harding and Jonathan Toews collided late in the first period, forcing Darcy Kuemper to perform for the final two frames. At the time, Kuemper had very little major-league experience under his belt, and it showed, making the game that much less memorable.
But it was all good news for the Blackhawks, who started the scoring at the 8:48 mark of the first period when Marian Hossa recovered his own turnover in the offensive zone and fed Eternal Q Favorite Michal Handzus. Handzus snapped a shot into traffic, which included Patrick Sharp alongside Harding. Sharp got a piece of the shot, ultimately giving the Blackhawks the only goal they’d need. Also, this is a reminder that Handzus once centered Hossa and Sharp. Sorry for bringing it up.
Minnesota’s highlight of the game probably came in the first period as well, when Cal Clutterbuck leveled Brent Seabrook with a solid hit into the boards behind Crawford. But as the St. Louis Blues pretend to learn year after year, hits don’t win championships.
After Harding departed for Kuemper, Sharp quickly took advantage by firing a pretty stoppable shot under Kuemper’s armpit and into the net just 1:02 into the second period, lifting the Blackhawks to a 2-0 edge. Bryan Bickell also scored an ugly goal, firing the puck from an area parallel to the net but beating Kuemper up high to ice the game 12:46 into the third frame.
The only other thing worth noting in this outing was the Blackhawks committing six penalties to the Wild’s two. The fact Chicago prevailed despite this was a testament to the 2013 team’s dominance and collective ability. This victory put the Blackhawks up 3-1 in the first-round series, pushing them closer to a collision with Detroit in the conference semifinals.
Oh, Daniel Carcillo played eight shifts at a total of 3 minutes, 55 seconds of ice time. I guess that makes this game a little more memorable. Probably not.
Previous memorable playoff wins under Coach Q
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