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Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: Hanging Around

By Colin Likas
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The 2013 Chicago Blackhawks had a problem on May 27 of that year. They were 20 minutes from seeing their Stanley Cup run conclude well short of its goal. Twenty minutes from seeing a President’s Trophy-winning season erased, from seeing their record-setting regular-season start mean next to nothing (unless you ask Sports Illustrated).

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Thank goodness, for the Blackhawks and their fans, that the word ‘quit’ isn’t attached to this organization.

A must-win game against the rival Detroit Red Wings is next on our list of most memorable Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville.

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

No. 24: 2013 Western Conference semifinals, Game 6

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Detroit Red Wings 3

You all remember this series. The Blackhawks had previously blown through the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference first round and netted a quick Game 1 win against the Red Wings. And then, the losing started. Chicago found itself in a 3-1 hole and managed to stave off elimination in Game 5. Time to do it again in Game 6.

The Blackhawks came out pushing hard offensively, spurred by a nice stretch pass from Corey Crawford. It didn’t lead to a goal, but it got Jimmy Howard working less than two minutes into the game. The play-by-play guy in the highlight package also gave us our first “Jarmelson” sighting, referring of course to Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

It wouldn’t take much longer for the Blackhawks to get on the board, though. With Jakub Kindl in the box for interference, Jonathan Toews won an offensive-zone draw, and Chicago got to work on the man-advantage. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook held the puck in and got it moving down low, with Toews eventually bringing it right at Howard. Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa were both down low as well, and Hossa wound up tapping the puck into a basically empty net right before it came off its moorings. With that, Chicago was ahead 1-0 less than four minutes in.

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  • Detroit also had a powerplay in the first period after Toews committed a goaltender interference penalty. Pavel Datsyuk wound up with the puck behind Crawford at one point and tried to fire it off the back of his legs. It seemed to stun Crow as it came flying through the crease, but it ended up a harmless play.

    Datsyuk had the next good Wings scoring chance later in the period when he did his classic dangle through three Blackhawks and fired a shot just over Crawford’s head.

    An equally simple play led to Detroit’s first goal just before the opening 20 minutes had expired. Dave Bolland attempted to clear the puck up the boards from behind the net, but it was knocked down by Brendan Smith. He wound up tipping the puck to Drew Miller, who wired a shot on net from the circle to Crawford’s left. Crow made the initial save, but Patrick Eaves was unguarded at the doorstep and chipped the rebound past Crow to tie the contest at one.

    A pair of Detroit penalties early in the second gave the Blackhawks the chances they needed to pull away. Hossa had a good bid on each powerplay, and Toews had a semi-breakaway on the second penalty, but Howard turned it all aside. In turn, Crawford stoned Henrik Zetterberg on multiple chances after both of those powerplays concluded.

    But sometimes the simplest things turn into gold, and the Red Wings figured that out midway through the second. Joakim Andersson carried the puck into Detroit’s offensive zone and sent a wrister in low on Crawford. It looked as though Crow just whiffed on it with his glove hand, and you could sense his frustration after he realized the puck had hit the twine. Regardless, the Wings were ahead 2-1, and they’d carry that lead into the third period.

    The 10 game minutes between Detroit’s second goal and the end of the middle period were filled with fast back-and-forth play and some chippiness you might not expect from these two teams. The best chance for either side was with about two minutes left, when Niklas Kronwall fired a shot from the point that deflected wildly in on Crawford. The goaltender, with some help from Keith, turned it away.

    So, with potentially 20 minutes left in their season, the Blackhawks got to work, and got to work quickly. Hjalmarsson won a board battle against two Wings and chipped the puck to Michal Handzus below the circle to Howard’s left. Handzus had all day to take a shot, and he wristed one high over Howard to tie the game less than a minute into the third.

    What all day looks like. (Screenshot from YouTube)

    Then, we were reminded what a useful Bryan Bickell looks like. Hossa and Toews were in the corner behind Crawford battling for the puck. Hossa tied up two Wings while Toews took it out and threw it in front of Howard. Bickell was there, along with Smith. The sizeable Bickell won that battle and wrapped the puck around Howard to push Chicago in front. It had taken less than six minutes for the Blackhawks to go from almost-done to almost forcing Game 7.

    But they weren’t done yet. Michael Frolik managed to get in the way of a shot attempt by Carlo Colaiacovo at the point and sprinted away with the puck. Colaiacovo was in tow and slashed Frolik from behind, not allowing him to attempt a shot. As such, a penalty shot was called with about 10 minutes left in the last period.

    Frolik proved his surprising prowess at penalty shots once again when he roofed a backhander over Howard’s left shoulder, leaving the goaltender furious and pushing Chicago’s lead to two.

    Justin Abdelkader and Datsyuk had a nice shot-rebound chance shortly after Frolik’s conversion, but it’d be a while before the Red Wings could get anything good going again. They would tally a goal with just under a minute to go, as Damien Brunner took a pass just above the circle to Crawford’s right and hammered a shot through the sprawling goaltender to cut Chicago’s lead to one.

    That was as close as the Wings would get, however, as the Blackhawks secured the win despite being outshot 38-28. This victory would lead to one of the more exciting games in recent Blackhawks postseason history, one we’ll talk about later in this series.

    Previous entries

    No. 25 | No. 26 | No. 27 | No. 28 | No. 29 | No. 30 | No. 31 | No. 32 | No. 33 | No. 34 | No. 35 | No. 36 | No. 37 | No. 38 | 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

    Next: Chicago Blackhawks Over/Under: Niklas Hjalmarsson

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