After having avoided a sweep with a win in Game 4, Chicago is back to try and push back against Vegas with the momentum from the dramatic win two days ago.
Will tonight be the Vegas Golden Knights last game against the Chicago Blackhawks, or will Captain Jonathan Toews lead his team to a Game 6?
For most of Game 4, Vegas was the better team, but goalie Corey Crawford stepped up in a big way. Will he be up to the task again in the face of a team that is going to try and close out the series, and avoid a game 6?
Additionally, Alex Nylander was scratched and replaced with John Quenneville. Nylander’s ice time had been diminishing somewhat over the last few games, and Quenneville brings some size to Chicago’s lineup.
Period 1 (B+ Rating)
Predictably, Vegas came out strong, but Chicago was up to the task, and the game started with a great back and forth pace.
After about five minutes Vegas started to control more time in Chicago’s end, despite not getting too many shots to the net. When Vegas did get a look, Crawford was ready.
The game might have been a bit more even, but Chicago had trouble sustaining pressure in Vegas’ end.
Regardless, the time Chicago did pay off.
Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago after cleaning up a rebound from a shot by Dominik Kubalik. Once again, Chicago took a lead against Vegas, and the Golden Knights were now chasing the game.
That goal gave Chicago a bit of jump, and they kept up the pressure, getting a few more shots on Lehner before Vegas finally cleared the puck and returned the favor to Chicago.
A few rough moments for Chicago, they’d turn it around, and pull off a beautiful sequence that turned into a goal, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead.
It wouldn’t last long though as Vegas would get one back.
A long shot from the point deflected off Toews and fell right to Pacioretty who had an open net. Sadly, he didn’t miss it.
The period ended with Chicago up 2-1, and Vegas ahead 14-10 in SOG.
Period 2 (C+ Rating)
It didn’t take long for things to get started again, and Chicago gave up a goal only a minute into the period.
The game began to settle more of a back to back sequence, with both teams trading chances.
During this sequence, Brandon Saad was injured and immediately left the ice, heading straight to the Chicago locker room.
With Chicago down a forward, Colliton was forced to re-work his lines on the fly. This led to double-shifting Patrick Kane who found himself all alone in front of the Vegas net and made no mistake.
Kane went five-hole and put Chicago up 3-2.
The game would be all tied up again at 3-3 after Vegas scored on the powerplay. Adam Boqvist had been called for Holding the Stick, and Chicago would pay the price for the rookie’s infraction.
Even though Vegas had managed to dominate Chicago for long periods, the game opened up a bit after the penalty both teams able to transition from one side of the ice to another fairly comfortably.
Vegas looked to be a bit more in control after a while, and when it suddenly looked as if Chicago might break through Vegas’ defense, there was a penalty.
Matthew Highmore ran over Robin Lehner chasing down a puck, but Chicago would head to the powerplay because Shea Theodore would be called for slashing.
It looked like it was going to be interference on Lehner, but the official saw it differently.
No score on the powerplay and the game would stay tied.
Despite a back and forth affair, the game stayed tied at three goals apiece, and Vegas managed to 28 SOG to Chicago’s 19.
After forty minutes, the game was a lot of fun. Vegas was a clear favorite coming into this series, but Chicago has at no point quit.
Period 3 (D Rating)
This is it. Chicago needed to come out strong and take the game to Vegas. It’s a win or go home.
Fortunately, this tweet popped up:
Chicago would have 20 more minutes to prove this stat correct.
However, Vegas would come out and take a lead when Alex Tuch put in a goal on a breakaway. For the first time during the game, Vegas would take the lead.
Tuch got inside position against Boqvist and was able to put away his rebound.
This is not the position Chicago would want to find themselves in, now needing to score two to get to Game 6.
The game slowed down quite a bit shortly after Vegas began focusing on wasting time and breaking up Chicago’s offense.
It looked like Vegas had scored a second goal, but Vegas’ fifth goal was challenged for goaltender interference.
The challenge went in Chicago’s favor, and the goal was waved off. The score would stay 4-3.
With four minutes left, Chicago pressed hard for a goal, spending a long stretch in Vegas’ end.
With just over a minute left, Chicago called their time out after getting the puck deep and forcing Lehner to freeze the puck.
Chicago came up with nothing, and unfortunately, even though they avoided a sweep, they were knocked out by the Golden Knights in five games.
It wasn’t the best season Chicago has had in recent memory, but they ended up in the postseason and made the most of it while they could.
Thanks for reading along with us here at Blackhawk Up!