Chicago Blackhawks Observations From Behind Enemy Lines In Tampa

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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But the Blackhawks couldn’t hold their lead

But then came the comeback, and Lightning fans came out of the woodwork.  Or at least they woke up.  As you all know by now, Tampa Bay made it 4-2, then 4-3, then 4-4.  This is when the fans got behind their team.  After all, the Bolts are still fighting for a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.  Unlike the Blackhawks, they really needed this win.  They weren’t about to go down without a fight.

It was mentioned by many on Twitter that you couldn’t tell on TV whether the crowd was chanting, “Let’s Go Bolts!” or “Let’s Go Hawks!”  This is because both were true.  The two fan bases were bantering back and forth with their respective chants.  At the same time.  That place can get really loud.

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I might be accused of going soft here, but I have to say it was pretty cool to watch and feel the excitement for the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans when they won in overtime.  The place erupted!  After all, when Yanni Gourde scored to win it, there were only 35 seconds to go in overtime.  Of five shootouts played this season, the Chicago Blackhawks have only lost in one.  They have lots of weapons in the shootout.  So winning that one in OT was huge for the Bolts.  The players all jumped over the boards and ran for a big team group hug like it was a playoff win.  They were exuberant!

Ok, I’ll stop now.  Here’s some funny observations I made about some of the Lightning fans.  The lady in front of me kept on turning away and hiding her face every time the Hawks had a scoring chance.  It was like she was watching a horror movie instead of a hockey game.  One of the girls in the skybox behind me kept on screaming, “Don’t let Kane get open!  Don’t let Kane get open!”  My husband kept on yelling, “Schmaltz!” and “Des-jar-dan!” and “Hossa!” in enemy territory.  The die-hards in front of us were not amused.

Speaking of Marian Hossa, it’s an absolute TREAT to watch him up close and personal!  He’s such an imposing presence out there.  You don’t have to look for the number on his back to know it’s him.  After watching this game, I have to say he’s being completely under-utilized on the third line.  There were a number of times he put the puck on a silver platter for Marcus Kruger to score, and poor Krugs couldn’t finish the job.   I think it might be about time to put Hossa back on the top line for the playoffs.  Or at least give him some linemates that can do something with his passes.  Like Ryan Hartman.

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