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Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: The Very First

By Colin Likas

This ongoing list of most memorable Chicago Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville had to start somewhere. There are 73 entries on the countdown because there are 73 wins to track, and today we’re going to look at the very first one.

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The Blackhawks qualified for the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, making their first postseason trip since 2002, as the No. 4 seed. But it was believe by many outside Chicago that the trip would be a quick one, and that even the fifth-seeded Calgary Flames might dispose of the young Blackhawks. While it may have looked like that would happen a few times in the series opener, the Blackhawks found their way to an important victory.

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

No. 7: 2009 Western Conference first round

Chicago Blackhawks 3, Calgary Flames 2 (OT)

The Blackhawks may have had some early-game nerves to deal with, as the Flames had the better scoring chances early on. The best of these to not go into the net came on a David Moss shot from the blue line, which got a piece of Daymond Langkow’s stick on the way to Nikolai Khabibulin. The puck then popped up into the air the came down behind Khabibulin, but Jonathan Toews showed his postseason chops in his first-ever playoff game with this move:

He was Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson before any of those guys were themselves. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Toews skated into the action, reached into the blue paint and saved a puck from trickling into the net. It kept the Flames off the board for a short time, but it wouldn’t last.

Curtis Glencross later carried the puck into Calgary’s offensive zone and dished it to Craig Conroy, who flicked a shot on net. Khabibulin turned it aside to the corner at his right, where Glencross followed and tracked the puck. He then threw it back to the net, where Moss had crashed. Moss collected the loose puck in fired it past Khabibulin to push Calgary ahead about 8:30 in.

No other great scoring chances materialized in the first, and Khabibulin had to stop a point-blank bid from Glencross early in the second. So the Blackhawks weren’t looking too great in their first foray into the postseason. They had been outshot 18-8 about 7:30 into the second when Rene Bourque blasted Patrick Kane to the ice, taking things from bad to ugly.

Luckily, there was still plenty of time for the Blackhawks to shake off any nervousness and turn the game around. Toews found Patrick Sharp streaking up the middle of the ice about halfway through the period, and Sharp’s huge one-timer didn’t go for a goal only because of a solid save by Miikka Kiprusoff.

Toews would create the next Chicago scoring chance, too, but this one would be a success. The captain won a board battle behind the net to Kiprusoff’s left and threw the puck out to Cam Barker just below the blue line. The defenseman’s slapper was knocked down in front by Eric Nystrom, but Barker followed the rebound and threw his next shot past Kiprusoff for Chicago’s first playoff goal in about seven years. It also tied the game at one with less than seven minutes to go in the second.

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  • Youth displayed itself early in the third for Chicago when several Blackhawks got caught trying to box in Todd Bertuzzi near the Calgary blue line. Bertuzzi instead slipped the puck past all of them to give the Flames a 2-on-1 featuring Langkow and Mike Cammalleri. I think the defenseman back is either Duncan Keith or Niklas Hjalmarsson, but we never get a great look at his number. Nevertheless, the defenseman took to the ice to prevent a Langkow shot, so Langkow threw the puck cross-ice for Cammalleri, who didn’t miss against a flailing Khabibulin.

    That goal was scored less than four minutes into the period, so the Blackhawks had plenty of time to create another tie. They’d need it, as great chances by Toews, Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg were all snuffed out by Kiprusoff as the clock worked its way closer to zero.

    It didn’t get to zero, however, before the Blackhawks struck again. A furious forecheck by Bolland, Martin Havlat and a pinching Barker saw the puck wind up on Havlat’s stick. After his first shot was stopped, Havlat wrapped another try around the outstretched Kiprusoff to knot the score with less than six minutes to go in regulation.

    After Kane had a last-minute backhand try stopped, Blackhawks fans were set for their first overtime playoff experience of the Quenneville era. We were strapped in and ready for a long night, if necessary. Turned out, if you were late coming back from the bathroom, you missed the end of the game.

    Jordan Leopold made an awful pass from his blue line, and it went right to Bolland at center ice. Bolland pushed back into the Chicago zone with Havlat trailing, then left the puck nicely for the last goal scorer. With Andrew Ladd rushing the net, Havlat deposited the puck behind Kiprusoff from above the circles to end the game 12 seconds into overtime and give Chicago another taste of postseason success. Though Ladd did bump Kiprusoff before the shot was taken, it appeared he was pushed into the crease, and so the goal stood.

    With the win … this list was allowed to be born. Thanks, 2009 Chicago Blackhawks.

    Previous entries

    No. 8 | No. 9 | No. 10 | No. 11 | No. 12 | No. 13 | No. 14 | No. 15 | No. 16 | No. 17 | No. 18 | No. 19 | No. 20 | No. 21 | No. 22 | No. 23 | No. 24 | 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

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