Hawks Find New Life at the Madhouse
After the Hawks lost their second straight playoff game in overtime to the Blues on Saturday night, Chicago fans and hockey experts were proclaiming how difficult, some saying impossible, a comeback would be. In what has been a vicious series thus far, the rivalry between the two was amplified when star defenseman Brent Seabrook leveled a huge hit on Blues center David Backes. The hit sparked much controversy, and turned social media into a fiery debate over whether the hit was worthy of a suspension. NHL disciplinarian Stephane Quintal seemed to think so, slapping Seabrook with a 3 game suspension. Backes missed last night’s game in what appeared to be a concussion, as he could barely stand after the hit and his helmet was cracked.
Social media and hockey experts were questioning if the series was becoming too violent, losing sight of the game of hockey. Chicago fans feared the retaliation that would occur on Monday night, thinking that stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews would be at the top of the “hit” list.
However, retaliation talks were put to bed last night in what was as clean a hockey game as Blues and Hawks fans have seen in recent times.
The Hawks found their momentum, fueled by the passion in the United Center and Captain Jonathan Toews’ first period goal. Corey Crawford found his stride, making 34 saves and earning his 3rd career playoff shutout. Announcer Pat Foley stated many times “I have no idea how Crow saw that shot”, and it was evident Crawford was much more focused and disciplined in his play.
Sheldon Brookbank rose to the occasion, proving to be a very capable backup for Seabrook and dispelling any talks of an “empty defense” in Seabrook’s absence. 37 year old center Michal Handzus played incredibly, receiving praise from media, fans, and teammates alike. He recorded 3 timely blocked shots, drawing “Zeus” chants from the Madhouse.
The Hawks got back to their signature style of speed and discipline in their victory. Despite having only one goal against Miller, they had been great chances and shots and looked poised doing so. The victory erased the 2-0 deficit and are now in position to even the series at 2, before heading back to St. Louis for game 5.
If last night is any indication, the Hawks have proven they are far from done in this Cup run and will play whatever style it takes to beat the Blues.
Note: Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday, April 23rd, 8:30 pm CT at the United Center.