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Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: Carcillo’s Big Hit

By Colin Likas
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In our countdown of the most memorable Chicago Blackhawks playoff victories under coach Joel Quenneville, there are bound to be points where we jump from one level of memorability to another. We may have reached our first jumping point with the 53rd entry on the 73-game list.

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You might remember some details from the next several games on the list a little more vividly than the details of this list’s earlier entries. Maybe there’s a key moment in each game that you can easily visualize. We’re not quite to the point of recalling games that featured tons of easily memorable moments, but we’re getting closer with each post.

The memorable moment from today’s game was teased with this post’s title. It’s not straightforward as it seems, however. Daniel Carcillo has generated a wide range of emotions among Blackhawks fans in his three seasons in Chicago. But before he got here, Blackhawks fans had plenty of reason to loathe him during a hugely important series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.

No. 53: 2010 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2

Chicago Blackhawks 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1

Following this series’ first game, which saw the Blackhawks emerge with a 6-5 victory, it wouldn’t have been crazy to believe the Blackhawks would need to overwhelm the Flyers with offense to win three more games.

The two teams flipped the script from Game 1 to Game 2, though, as neither team would tally a goal until the 17:09 mark of the second period. Some of the lack of scoring may have had to do with the physical style of play both teams were employing. That physicality would lead to the defining moment of this game early on.

After Kris Versteeg carried the puck into the offensive zone about 6:30 into the first period, he flung the puck to Tomas Kopecky, who flicked a shot on Flyers goaltender (and current Rockford IceHog) Michael Leighton. The puck rebounded off Leighton’s pads to Dave Bolland, who put another shot on net while Kopecky parked in front of Leighton to finish a scoring play. The puck was eventually cleared, and that’s where Carcillo came in.

Niklas Hjalmarsson corralled the puck on the wrong side of center ice and sent it in the area of Versteeg and Kopecky. The latter worked the puck on to his stick with Carter coming from his right and Carcillo flying in from his left. Kopecky backhanded the puck into the offensive zone and shifted just slightly, opening Carter up to massive hit from Carcillo.

The calm before the storm. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Carbomb go boom. (Screenshot from YouTube)

The hit’s shockwave stopped Kris Versteeg in his tracks. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Kopecky immediately got in Carcillo’s face, no doubt to talk a little smack. A referee separated them as Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire reacted with shock on the broadcast. Kopecky and Carcillo would receive offsetting penalties later in the period for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, respectively.

That hit set the tone for what would be a physical affair, with the majority of the game’s 10 penalties coming on extracurricular-style plays (including misconduct penalties on Ben Eager and Chris Pronger after the final horn).

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  • But back to the main mission of a hockey game. Philadelphia notched its first good scoring chance on a delayed penalty against Versteeg about 12 minutes in. On the delayed call, Kimmo Timonen found Ian Laperriere along the boards, and Laperriere slipped the puck to Ville Leino in front of Antti Niemi. Leino’s shot blasted off the pipe, and the Blackhawks secured possession to end the play.

    The Blackhawks had a fantastic chance of their own with about three minutes to go in the opening frame. Patrick Kane threw a long pass/shot toward Leighton, and the puck rattled around in the crease while Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien whacked away. After the whistle was blown, Pronger jabbed at Toews repeatedly with his stick while Toews was trying to converse with a nearby referee. It prompted chants of “Pronger sucks” to rain down from the rafters.

    The nets remained empty for a while longer after that chance, with the teams trading bids in the second period. Mike Richards’ breakaway chance midway through the period was turned aside by Niemi, and Duncan Keith’s slapper off a 3-on-2 bid was padded away by Leighton a short time later.

    Chance after chance continued to come, with plenty of pushing and shoving in front of Niemi and Leighton after the whistle had blown. But with a little less than three minutes left in the second, the Blackhawks finally got the job done with some nice passing and puck possession. Brent Seabrook sent the puck to Keith along the blue line. Keith chipped the puck to Patrick Sharp in the middle of the offensive zone, and he put a shot on net. Troy Brouwer and Marian Hossa whacked away at the puck, with Hossa showing great hand-eye coordination while smacking the puck out of the air and past Leighton for a 1-0 Blackhawks edge.

    He’s yelling because NBC hasn’t updated the score yet. (Screenshot from YouTube)

    The Blackhawks wouldn’t wait long to add what would become the game-winning goal. Public address announcer Gene Honda hadn’t finished announcing Hossa’s strike when Byfuglien created a turnover in the neutral zone. The puck slipped to Eager, who skated into the offensive zone and surprised Leighton with a wrister over the goalie’s left shoulder. Eager seemed genuinely surprised the puck went in, as he was charging toward the net for a rebound but then half jumped in the air and embraced Toews behind the net.

    And then the third period. Philadelphia wound up with a 33-26 shots advantage, and you’d have to think a lot of that difference came in the third period. The only time the Flyers would score, however, was about five minutes into the frame, with Philadelphia on the powerplay. Carter worked the puck behind Niemi and to Richards along the boards. Richards chipped the puck to Simon Gagne, who fired the puck from above the circles and through traffic. The shot beat Niemi and cut the Blackhawks’ advantage to one.

    Gagne would have the next great Philadelphia chance, with Timonen flicking the puck on net and having it trickle toward Niemi’s unguarded left. Niemi sprawled over while Keith and Gagne whacked at the puck (with opposite intentions, of course), and Niemi would eventually earn a whistle.

    Leino put together a nice individual effort for another good bid with about 2:15 to go, but Niemi shut that down too. Things then got really wild in the final minute, with Leighton on the bench and six attackers on the ice for the Flyers. Philadelphia launched shots from everywhere on the ice but couldn’t solve Niemi. At one point, Sharp cleared the zone and had a wide-open shot at an empty net … which he used to hit the post, in true Sharp fashion.

    It wouldn’t matter though, as Niemi and the Blackhawks held on to go up 2-0 in the championship series. It would be the last game in which either team scored only one goal, as the wild offense that dominated Game 1 would return for the remaining four games.

    Previous entries

    No. 54 | No. 55 | No. 56 | No. 57 | No. 58 | No. 59 | No. 60 | No. 61 | No. 62 | No. 63 | No. 64 | No. 65 | No. 66 | No. 67 | No. 68 | No. 69 | No. 70 | No. 71 | No. 72 | No. 73

    Next: Top 10 Western Conference Defensemen

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