Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: Errors Were Made

By Colin Likas

Well, this is awkward.

As our countdown of most memorable Chicago Blackhawks playoff wins gets closer and closer to the No. 1 spot — also meaning we’re getting closer and closer to Opening Night — I’ve noticed an error on my list. I somehow managed to skip over three games on my own list, but since no one except me knows what the list was intended to look like, we’ll just round back to the trio of contests I missed and roll on.

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We recently touched on a pretty wild game between the Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Turns out there was some precedence for it — and it was created one game earlier.

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

No. 38: 2010 Western Conference semifinals, Game 3

Chicago Blackhawks 5, Vancouver Canucks 2

If I hadn’t had to explain my error in this series at the top of this post, the discussion about this game would have began with either Dustin Byfuglien or the penalty ledger. Both were pretty ridiculous in this game, and we’ll get to them when the time comes.

But we start out this entry on the countdown with Brent Sopel. Yes, the guy now has a ridiculous mustache that he occasionally displays on national television. Before that time, he was blocking shots for the Blackhawks on the blueline. But he chipped in offensively here and there.

Such a moment would lead off the scoring in this game a little more than five minutes in. Sopel wristed a shot at Roberto Luongo from between the circles. Luongo failed to track the puck, and Kevin Bieksa struggled to control it in the crease. It bounced around so much that Sopel didn’t even wind up with a point on the play. Andrew Ladd and Marian Hossa got a piece first before Kris Versteeg slammed it home while standing in the crease, getting the Blackhawks off and running.

Jannik Hansen had a breakaway opportunity a short time later, but it was shut down by Antti Niemi. The goaltender then needed to stone Daniel Sedin twice on the doorstep at the conclusion of a Canucks powerplay. He then had to make ANOTHER big save, this one after Christian Ehrhoff launched a shot from the point and Steve Bernier sent the rebound between Niemi’s legs. While that would normally be a negative, the scene looked like this:

This is how he relaxes. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Instead of a five-hole goal, it was another stellar save. And this time the Blackhawks would make the Canucks pay for not converting.

With Ryan Kesler in the box (excellent), Jonathan Toews won an offensive-zone draw to start a Chicago powerplay. Keith took the puck and fired it on net, and though it went right into Luongo’s stomach, the goaltender let the puck trickle away from him while woefully out of position. Byfuglien shoved his way through the Canucks defense and slapped home the rebound to put Chicago ahead 2-0 late in the first.

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The scoring ended there for the opening period, but the scoresheet still had some entries to be filled in. Four more minor penalties were called in the last three-plus minutes, leaving the first-period penalty ledger at eight penalties for 16 minutes.

The Canucks would finally break through midway through the second when Alexander Edler ripped a shot from the point. Hansen was standing right by Niemi and wound up deflecting the puck into the twine to cut Chicago’s lead to one.

But the Blackhawks decided they had so much fun on their earlier powerplay that they wanted to repeat the process. After scoring in 6 seconds on a first-period man-advantage, Chicago took 35 seconds to convert in the second period with Alexandre Burrows in the box (also excellent). And it was Byfuglien again, though this time there wasn’t much Luongo could do. Toews went screaming into the crease, attempting to shove the puck home. Luongo stopped the captain, but Byfuglien was on the doorstep again for the rebound, and despite Luongo’s pleas to the referee, Chicago was back up by 2. The goal also drew a couple white towels from the crowd as the Blackhawks celebrated. Oh, and this happened.

LET ME RIOT WITH YOU! (Screenshot from YouTube)

The Canucks grabbed some momentum before the period ended, however, when Burrows was given way too much time in the slot and wired a shot past Niemi, cutting the Blackhawks’ edge to one again, this time with less than a minute to play.

Brian Campbell had a nice chance early in the third when he and John Madden participated in a give-and-go, with Campbell getting right in front of Luongo and trying (but failing) to wait out the goaltender.

About five minutes later, Tomas Kopecky won a board battle and got the puck to Patrick Sharp, who spun around and fired a shot at Luongo. Another big rebound gave Marian Hossa a bid, which he converted around a sprawling Shane O’Brien and Luongo to put the Blackhawks ahead 4-2. Hossa let out a primal yell, then skated past a “Marry Me” sign in the crowd. It probably wasn’t for Byfuglien.

Speaking of which, we still have one more goal to cover. And guess who was involved? Patrick Kane actually started this sequence, securing a turnover in the offensive zone and heading toward Luongo with Byfuglien. Kane crashed the net, and Byfuglien wound up tapping home the rebound despite running into Luongo. The referee must have determined Edler, who was shoving Byfuglien, created the impediment for Luongo, and so the goal stood.

These teams were done scoring, but they weren’t done battling. Burrows, O’Brien and Dave Bolland simultaneously earned misconducts with less than five minutes to go, and Bieksa managed a roughing penalty after time expired. So much for playoff hockey.

The Blackhawks took a 2-1 series lead with the win and went on to score many, many more goals in this series. And earn many, many more penalties.

Previous entries

No. 39 | No. 40 | No. 41 | No. 42 | No. 43 | No. 44 | No. 45 | No. 46 | No. 47 | No. 48 | No. 49 | No. 50 | No. 51 | No. 52 | No. 53 | 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

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