Ranking The Chicago Blackhawks’ Conference Finals Appearances
Seeing the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference finals instead of the Chicago Blackhawks is kind of mind-numbing and confusing, at the least. It certainly has been an odd Stanley Cup Playoffs, as the most of the teams you would expect to still be playing have long since checked out, leaving a couple of previously-perennial chokers (Blues and San Jose Sharks), the league’s hottest team since January (Pittsburgh Penguins) and a broken heap in Tampa Bay that is still winning games despite its injuries.
It’s no fun for a Blackhawks blog to focus solely on other teams still competing in the postseason. So, with the conference finals starting last night in Pittsburgh, let’s take a look back at the Blackhawks’ conference finals appearances under coach Joel Quenneville. There are five of them — the perfect number for a ranking list.
No. 5: Chicago Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks, 2010
We start with the shortest of these five conference finals series. The Blackhawks were coming off another thrilling semifinal against the Vancouver Canucks, and the Sharks were the top-seeded team in the conference. This projected to be a high-scoring affair throughout, with the winner likely needing seven games to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.
And then the Blackhawks breezed through the Sharks, sweeping the series behind strong goaltending from an upstart Antti Niemi and using the budding offense of Jonathan Toews (six points) and Patrick Kane (five points).
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All four of these games were close, with the final margin of victory either two or one. Dustin Byfuglien netted the winner in a 2-1 Game 1 victory after the Blackhawks fell behind 1-0 early. Troy Brouwer was the hero in a 4-2 Game 2 triumph, while Byfuglien potted an overtime tally for a 3-2 win in Game 3.
Despite going down 2-0 in Game 4 at the United Center, the Blackhawks would need just one try to end San Jose’s season, scoring the next four goals en route to victory. Byfuglien again had the winner here, continuing a strong postseason.
This series might be most remembered for Patrick Marleau being a machine on the other side of the ice. He was essentially the only Shark who could score, netting five of his team’s seven goals in the four games.
Next: No. 4: Rivalry Revisited