USATSI_7910472_160885884_lowres

First The Lights, Then The Collar Goes Up, And The Wind Begins To Blow: Wild 1 – Hawks 2 (Hawks lead 3-2)

Box Score

Event Summary

Extra Skater

The Wild were never going to let it be pretty. While they’ve varied their approach in the first four games, from period to period even, a pivotal Game 5 on the road saw them fall back into the trap that gave the Hawks headaches in Game 3. But after a jittery opening 5-10 minutes, the Hawks started to come to grips with what they saw. And despite conceding the opener as a direct result of a pick play that Stockton and Malone would have been proud of that opened up space for Terror From Hell Erik Haula, the Hawks began to get a tighter and tighter grip on this one.

It was far from perfect. While the Hawks support was better, they were more willing to try the middle of the ice to get out of the zone, to chip and chase, the execution was off. Every time Oduya tried to field a pass or puck along the boards, my eyeballs rolled back in my head. Keith was trying far too much dip-trip-rip-fantasia behind his goal line and at Minny’s blue line. Nick Leddy looks terrified to make a mistake (wonder why that may be). Because what the Hawks have to do when a team pinches down on them along the boards in their zone has to be so precise, when it doesn’t work it can get urpy.

But they slowly got better, got their goal to tie it, worked to get their second and then squeezed the rest out. They had to get through some chances but it didn’t feel like Crawford had to drink the blood of virgins to get through the final 10 minutes.

All that adds up to a series lead.

Let’s do it.

DarylZero

The Two Obs

-It’s not like we don’t have years of evidence of this (pardon the double negative), but the Hawks are simply a different team when they roll four lines. Only Nordstrom didn’t crack 10 minutes tonight. And while it doesn’t seem like a bonus three to four minutes of ice time for the fourth line should make that much difference, it clearly does. Because eventually the Hawks are going to expose something on the bottom of the other roster. Regin causing a penalty that the Hawks cashed in on would seem to be evidence of that.

-The obvious story from our end is Peter Regin slotting in and borderline transforming the bottom six. What’s going to annoy the piss out of me as how this will be characterized as yet another ingenious Q adjustment in the playoffs, when the Hawks should have had this 10 games ago.

Regin is no miracle worker. He’s probably just above “a guy.” But what he does have is wheels and a brain, and if given the right shifts and opposition, he can at least do enough to make things happen here and there. This was no mystery to anyone who watched the last two-three weeks of the season. Shame Q wasn’t watching.

-It’s strange. As yippy as Oduya and Hjalmarsson seemed at times they’re still your possession leaders tonight, and that was mostly against Granlund and Parise. Taking those two out of it really blunts the Minnesota attack. The difference between that matchup here and in Minnesota is that Ebenholts ein Elfenben were joined by Toews, Hossa, and Sharp for most shifts instead of either the third or fourth line.

-I have made my complaints about Michal Handzus loud and clear, but his getting inside position on Koivu in the last minute scramble is why he’s in the lineup. Zus will always defer to the defensive position, and he generally knows where to be even if he can’t always get there. I may not like it, but it’s not like I don’t get it.

-I am officially tired of Erik Haula. So it’s fucking wonderful that he’ll only be terrorizing us for at least the next five years. The Hawks still can’t seem to find an answer for the Wild’s third line, especially its mobility, which is exactly what the Hawks used to do to other teams back when they tried to play a 3rd and 4th line.

-In that theme, Brookbank replaced Rozsival tonight because Rozie had been so inhaled by that line in Game 4. He dealt with it slightly better I guess, but as long as Leddy has the yips it’s going to be an adventure. But then, Leddy had the yips for the first part of the St. Louis series and recovered. I’m hoping for the same now.

-Regin’s greatest miracle was turning Versteeg into a competent player. I don’t think we can stress how amazing that is.

-The winning goal stemmed from a pretty nifty move from Hossa in the corner to get loose, get the puck to Sharp who got the puck to the net which allowed Toews to turn Granlund into regurgitated potatoes in a battle in front. Of all the things Hossa can do you sometimes forget he can squirt away from people in tight.

-It’s always the default position to take when a prominent player isn’t producing that he’s hurt. So it’s been with Sharp. I hadn’t really bought it until tonight. He doesn’t seem to have a burst. Hossa and him had a rush and normally Sharp would explode around the d-man for a clear shot. He didn’t have it. He appears reluctant to sprint. Some have speculated it’s a wrist problem because he hasn’t snapped off a real shot, but he just hasn’t given himself a lane to do so. We’ll watch more. Could be out of gas after a long season and Olympics.

-I should know this script by now. The longer a series goes the more of a feel the Hawks get for what is required and the more they slowly just shore up the cracks. They’re like a jet meant to break the sound barrier. At lower speeds it leaks and creaks. Once it hits the barrier everything seals up and they hum.

I was wrong to despair. The Hawks hold the axe now. They’re 11-2 in the Q Era when they do. The Wild aren’t going to be an easy kill. But the Hawks have taken down bigger.

To the cliffs.

  • birdhead
    • lizmcneill

      I love Frogger so much.

      • Hawkeytalk

        Did you see him get into a scrap in the waning seconds of the last night? So much win.

  • Why laaarmer?

    Let’s wait until an away game before we decide that Regin solved everything

    • DJ

      Being able to roll four lines is what I’d say is the solution. If Regin is the reason we can roll four, great. If someone else could do it, that’s fine with me. As long as we roll four.

      • 60MinutesBaby60

        Rolling 4 is an absolute MUST. Other 3 lines gotta get their time off ice.

        • DJ

          Reminiscent of 2010. If memory serves me, our rolling four lines helped us wear down Philadelphia over six games. Especially with a guy like John Madden, who could play that fourth line, win face offs, and was a beast on the PK

      • lizmcneill

        Yup. Regin is nothing special, but with his addition, Q was able to roll for for the first time since Ben went to center the second (when was that? game 2 or 3 of the Blues series?)

    • Yachtsman

      Also agree with DJ. It doesn’t matter if it’s Regin, it matters if he 3rd and 4th lines can hold their own so that the top 6, whoever they may be, don’t have to be spread out to give the bottom 6 more ability. This gives Q a better ability to fine tune the match ups. It also wears down Minne so that they can’t just load up against the top 2 lines. Getting a guy like Regin in the mix just allowed the Hawks to go from having lines 2, 2a, 2b & 4 to 1, 1a, 3 & 4 once again.

  • GypsyDanger86

    Solid game Hawks. Not dominant or spectacular, but they ground it out and came out with the win. Can’t be too upset with that.

    - Jonathan Toews is a special player.

    - Not hearing too many complaints about that Bickell contract these days. Funny that.

    -Regin was great. In a just world, he would be a lock in the lineup for the rest of this run, but I think we all know he’s out as soon as Bollig comes back *cries*.

    - Sharp could be injured or out of gas, or he could just be slumping. He’s always been streaky, the Hawks have just been somewhat fortunate up to this point that he turned on during the post-season. If somebody can point to a hit that caused an injury during the last 5 games of the season, I’d love to see it, but right now it just looks like he’s fighting it and making bad decisions to me.

    -Nordstrom has no place in the Hawks lineup right now. He’s not NHL ready, he’s easily muscled off the puck. I’d rather have Morin and his speed and edge at this point, even if it comes with defensive deficiencies.

    We knew parity was coming and the other teams in the Central were on the ascent. Minnesota, Cooke aside, look to be playing the game the right way and are building a team with a fair bit of depth, good pieces arranged in the right places, and a coach that seems to have figured out the right buttons to push.

    I think the Hawks end this next game, but I’ll come away from the series with a new respect for Minne, and won’t be surprised to see them leapfrog Colorado or even St Louis within the next two years.

    • TheRealBBOX

      Just watched Pacific Rim for the first time today, it won’t be the last, so cap-tip to you.

      Everything you say is spot on, particularly about Morin, who was nails with Regin and I want to say either Bollig or Smith late in the season on the fourth line, my memory fails me as to who was the other wing though. I’m truly mystified as to what Nordstrom has done to gain Q’s trust that Morin hasn’t, but I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the Q because there’s no real alternative.

      I very much hope the Blackhawks finish this Tuesday, I don’t know if I can stomach a Game 7 with the Wild.

      • GypsyDanger86

        Not sure about a 4th line combo, but late in the season 11-12-29 was a pretty awesome third line that had a ton of chemistry.

        And yeah, Pacific Rim is awesome. :D

        • TheRealBBOX

          Ah dammit, Bickell was my next guess, my memory is bad and the regular season seems like it was a long time ago, plus I’m still a bit gassed from a long work week and a busy weekend. I just remembered Regin and Morin doing nice work together.

          Movie is terrific, it was kind of amusing to see Charlie Hunnam not on a motorcycle but still being Jax Teller.

          • Bob Lanz

            Ya

    • lizmcneill

      If Colorado sit pat with their defense, I can see them leapfrogging them easy, because I’m not convinced Voldemort has turned into Tuukka Rask or vintage Roy just by Roy’s proximity.

      If River Scum sort out their goaltender mess and don’t make any kneejerk moves, I don’t see them falling out of “playoff lock” any time soon. Nashville continues to have no offense and the Peg continue to have no goaltending, but DAL/MIN/COL are a scary bunch of bubble teams.

  • 60MinutesBaby60

    Man I wanna cheer on Smith but he needs to get his butt in front of the net for
    screens & rebounds. To the upside his hustle is noted & appreciated.

    Also the patched together 4th line DID contribute & Thank Frickin Gawd for that.

    • lizmcneill

      With Shaw out he needs to make friends with Shaw’s girl, Annette Frontpresence. Bicks, being a bro of Shaw’s, is already acquainted with her.

      • Roberto

        Annette Frontpresence… good stuff.

  • 1benmenno

    Great wrap. Hossa’s a squirter. Cracks are getting sealed. Is it hot in here?

  • Preacher

    Was it just stuttered changes on occasion or were there times in the third when the Blackhawks purposefully switched up their top 4 D pairings? I thought I saw Hammer and Keith together more than once.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Prolly just trouble in the changes. Got no prob w/ any D pairings tho.
      It’s getting adequate – if not primo – TOI outta 4th line (And getting Q to roll it to begin with.)

  • Preacher

    Zus is like my golf game. I suck at golf, but I get a birdie or a couple pars somewhere in the last 5 holes that make me think I should come back and do this again next week. Zus does just enough to be valuable at times, so keep putting him out there. It was pointed out that he outskated one of the faster Wild players to the puck. And he got off a dangerous backhand. Just enough to be valuable.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Scope the final pile-up at the Hawk net – Zus was right there up to his ears in it. Yeah he’s no quarter horse colt no more but an old war horse just might save your bacon one more time.

      • putmeinthemadhouse

        that’ll do, zeus.

    • Joe Banks

      You’re my boy, Blue!

  • Bob Lanz

    Burn St. Paul to the ground Tuesday night and let’s get ready for the WCF!

    #Nomorebolligever

    • Joe Banks

      Bollig is a great player. He’s just misunderstood.

      • Iaaarmer

        Thanks, Stan.

      • ChicagoNativeSon

        He’s a mumbler?

        • VerStig

          I thought that was Leddy

  • Iaaarmer

    “Nick Leddy looks terrified to make a mistake (wonder why that may be).”

    Well, he made mistakes before he was benched. Maybe it’s good that he is terrified to make a mistake that leads to a goal against.

    • Bob Lanz

      Well you are never wrong

      • Iaaarmer

        Whatever.

        • Bob Lanz

          I was paying you a compliment jackass. Learn to say thank you have nice day

          • Iaaarmer

            I’m wrong plenty, trust me.

          • Bob Lanz

            Oh I see your confusion, that never was supposed to be a ‘not’. One of these days I may actually read a post prior to hitting enter, until then fucking autocorrect can kiss my significant white ass

          • Iaaarmer

            *insignificant

          • Bob Lanz

            Whatever…my turn jackass

          • Iaaarmer

            Friends ?

          • Bob Lanz

            Never

            9 to go

          • Iaaarmer

            Q is the worst.

          • Bob Lanz

            BFF! Frents 4 life I love you Cip :)

          • Iaaarmer

            * ‘Cip

          • Bob Lanz

            And I agree you are wrong very often :)

            #Qsucks

  • putmeinthemadhouse

    For all the grief we like to give Q, that line about how the hawks learn and adapt over time to counter teams as the series goes on is certainly something that Quenneville excels at.

    • Iaaarmer

      Q is my favourite.

  • Bob Lanz

    Goodnight TCI and remember I’m always looking for trolls

  • Why?

    There was some Hossa puck movement below the O red line that was simply sublime. He was in very tight and then almost magically 5 feet away from the closest checker. More of this, please.

    • Iaaarmer

      Best player in this series.

      • Why?

        Coaches could literally compile his defensive play as a complete guide for forwards video. He is to defensive play what Kaner is to open ice in the o-zone.

        • 334Rules

          They’re both lazy. Trade ‘em!

      • XMF

        He’s not doing enough.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Hoss is so xxxking pro he makes it look almost easy. He got that BIG
      go ahead 1st netter in that Blues game WAS Huge and man it will be SWEET if/when he can light the lamp in MN Tues. Go Hoss & Go Hawks!

      • Country_Bumpkin

        Watching Marian Hossa is a treat and the Hawks are lucky to have him. He is an absolute professional and we are lucky to see him play. He is deserving of every accolade thrown his way. It’s a shame he never won a Selke.

  • Iaaarmer

    How many GWG does Toews have in this playoff run ?

    • Stockroom Snail

      He had 3 against St. Louis so at least 4…..

      • Iaaarmer

        Is that good ?

        • Why?

          Just 57% of the GWG for the Blackhawks. He’s scored 36% of the GWG in all the games he’s played.

        • putmeinthemadhouse

          no he needs to be better or they arent going to re sign him

        • Stockroom Snail

          Well, if you like winning in the playoffs.

    • cza

      He has four this run, because he’s the best captain.

      I updated my sheet of Hawks playoff stats since 2009, and added a few categories. Toews has scored nearly 20 percent of the team’s playoff game-winning goals, and 40 percent of his playoff goals are GWG.

      The PIM figures are interesting too.

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Ws_SHIMVRJvbRftd8CI8YQfKj8M1YGN–ZoT36r-Wdk/edit?usp=sharing

      • http://www.our-founding.com/ Why? laaarmer (TMFF)

        1/3 of Dave Bolland’s GWG won the Stanley Cup!

  • Iaaarmer

    http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/story/?id=451924
    Some good things about the Hawks in this article.

  • Iaaarmer
  • Yachtsman

    Also gotta give Crawford some love. He made some big time saves to thwart some serious scoring opportunities. A good bounce back from game 4 for sure.

    • 334Rules

      He did make some saves, but he also looked utterly lost on several shots – and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP TRYING TO HANDLE THE PUCK OUTSIDE OF YOUR CREASE!

  • Iaaarmer

    From the Wild’s point of view
    http://wild.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=718825

    • wihawkfan

      that’s a pretty nice write-up and i would have to say “spot on”. thanks for the link. i’d actually read this guy again because he doesn’t come across like some blow hard homer.

  • lizmcneill

    Tyler Dellow was looking at the Hawks bottom 6 versus the Oilers’, and his conclusion was “It’s so, so easy to play Krugers and Shaws and Ben Smiths on your 4th line instead of the assistant coach’s kid and a facepuncher, much easier than upgrading the top of the lineup, and it yields dividends of depth scoring and an actual checking line, so why don’t the Oilers do that?”

    Stan’s shown himself to be pretty good at picking up bottom-6 guys who have that skill slightly above average on the cheap, so Q’s insistence on limiting himself to someone who is slightly BELOW “a guy” and a green rookie, with Regin in the press box, is fucking maddening. Especially seeing that Regin fits the profile of the guy Q falls in love with and plays too much (defensively responsible depth center).

    DDN and someone, idk, doesn’t matter
    Wily Vets
    29/20-12-23
    28-16-42

    or

    Red Wedding
    29-26-88
    20-16-42
    28-12-23

    Hold the phone, guys, we have 4 lines that look viable, (if you double-shift Kaner to get him away from Zus for a bit). WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED.

    Bollig should not see the ice again. And if Shaw makes it back he should replace Nordy, not Regin.

    • YoAdrienne

      If Shaw doesn’t make it back, I would love to see Morin get another shot with Regin and Versteeg. As someone pointed out yesterday, 11 and 12 seem to have some chemistry, and it’s apparent that 12 and 23 may have it, as well. But, I’m just happy as shit that Regin finally got his chance, and that he took it and ran…errr…skated with it.

      • lizmcneill

        I don’t mind Nordy in so much if Regin’s in. I have no idea why he’s been in over Regin, but if Q gets the wibbles putting both Regin and Mo in, I’d rather have Regin.

    • Commit88

      Nooooo! Q’s beautiful Nordie will not be benched! Except for Bollig.

  • laaarmer

    It’s not so much Regin playing as its Bollig is not.
    I happen to like Bollig. He does his best. He does not appear after all this time to fit the style the Hawks want to play. Why Stan signed him, unless its as trade material, is beyond me. He is a cup winner, so maybe EDM or NYI would want him.

    Nordstrom – jeebus.

    Keith is not playing like they need him to be playing

  • JB

    I only said “Goddammit Versteeg!!” twice last night. So that’s an improvement.

  • CozBullsFan

    The biggest reason for Versteeg actually looking good last night was more time and space. Regin drew a lot of attention last night. Usually Versteeg has someone on him so quickly that he over-thinks it and loses the puck. Having someone on his line to drive the play gives Versteeg more freedom.

    • lizmcneill

      That’s a good point. With the lines Versteeg has been on, even with his bum knee he’s the fastest skater and the most obvious offensive threat. Regin’s fast and he drives the net, so there’s 2 skaters you have to watch.

  • wihawkfan

    maybe its the absence of shaw, or maybe its just how the hawks prefer to do things but it seems like too many of the shots are clean looks for bryzgarofalo from just inside the blue line.

    shaw was underrated (not here, but it seems everywhere else) for his net front presence and hands/scrappyness. i think he is missed more than is being acknowledged.

    the GWG is exactly the kind of goal mouth pressure that was lacking in the losses. i was pretty fired up to see it. if the hawks can collapse on the net more in game six, and screen bryz more (some?) i think they have a good chance to break the wild’s home dominance.

    • lizmcneill

      Shaw is close buddies with Annette Frontpresence. Wasn’t it Lehtonen who chirped him about being able to see round him, and then let in a screen-by-Shaw shot on his next shift?

  • 334Rules

    I was certainly glad to see them breaking into the offensive group en masse. However, the Wild was still doing a pretty good job of forcing almost everything to the outside. The next step is to make sure you have someone cutting to the center area as Wild players collapse on the puck carrier towards the wall. There were a lot of missed opportunities in that vein last night. We know that Bryz is most vulnerable (like most goalies) when you force him to move laterally.

    • ballyb11

      My eye test is that the Wild come in the offensive zone with all 3 forwards most of the time. And one drives to the net creating traffic. This scares me. Hawks on the other hand, come in one, two, rarely three. And not much quick traffic. I like the Wilds’ approach. Might be a reason for it that I don’t understand.

      • VerStig

        Maybe one of the systems guys here can chime in here? I’m curious.

        • ballyb11

          I’ll repost on another thread.

  • cliffkoroll

    So, get Winston Smith on a global ‘find and replace’ of ‘Morin’ with ‘Regin’ over the past two months and The Narrative will be seamless.

    #qsucks

    • Bullitt315

      I was going to say the same thing. 98% of the commentators (commenters should really be a word) here were pining for Morin over Bollig, not Regin over Bollig.

      • ballyb11

        That’s very true. Maybe me, too. Just like Pirri. But when he got up here the last time and was so poor defensively, it was “Where the hell are we going to bury Pirri?”

      • VerStig

        So I’ve been part of the 2% huh. #OccupyQ

    • VerStig

      Except I’ve been beating the Regin drum (admittedly, not very visibly) since the beginning. #KeepReginFree

      • lizmcneill

        Me too, since a few games after the “Regin the 2C” experiment ended. He reminds me a little of Frogger and Frogger is great, so…

  • BigCSouthside

    The WIld just feel kind of like Nashville 2.0

    Boring as fuck defensive strategy and solid goaltending, with a dash of offensive prowess.

    Seems like Hawks adjusted to what needs to be done to play against that last night.

    • lizmcneill

      Except Bryz is a long, long way off Pekka Rinne. The issue is getting shots past their d, not so much the goaltending. Crow hasn’t been great this series, but he hasn’t posted a .833 either.

      • ballyb11

        But almighty couldn’t have saved the first goal……. And the second only on a good day.

      • BigCSouthside

        Bryz has been more or less solid enough. I think Minny has better scoring, worse Goaltending than the Trotz Nashville teams, but they play that similar style.

    • Roberto

      Close, but Minny seems to have better scoring and worse goaltending than Nashville.

  • Roberto

    No mention of the large smattering of boo’s after the pathetic first period? I can not remember the last time I heard the Hawks booed at home. Not that they didn’t deserve it.

  • whenhabsscoreDougMohns

    Discus takes me to the back end of the horse where the action is.
    Agree mostly with Liz:

    Continued YOUTH minutes please:
    17 Brookbank Fuck Yes 33 is the new 17
    28 Smith Yes. 2 very good games in a row.
    42 Nordstrom Yes. Less giveaways please.
    12 Regin Yes. Looking good.

    And Andrew, when back, to share duty in opposing goal crease with Bickell.
    Laminate that Game 5 roster!! Put the blender in the attic &
    Bollig & Rozi in the press box looking dapper.
    They can broadcast from between the benches: feeling lucky, Pierre?
    Leddy Yips are like hiccups, they can be acclimatized & when they
    return everyone has a suggested cure; the most obvious,to be
    less reckless with the puck.

    • GypsyDanger86

      Agreed with everything except Nordstrom.

      • whenhabsscoreDougMohns

        Yeah, between the flourishes, he has lost a few pucks, but
        he sure looks impressive. I guess that is why Q protects a lot of guys, to avoid a Buckner moment. Toewser can show him
        the tripod!

        • GypsyDanger86

          I think Nordstrom will be a great player, but I don’t think his body is NHL ready for the kind of game he want’s to play. If he was a speedy playmaker, that would be one thing, but the guy is a defensively responsible player that tries to win pucks on the boards, and he’s just muscled off the puck way too often, regardless of the line matchup.

          Give him a summer training with the dude who trains Stamkos, and I’ll be he’ll be ready to play on the 4th line for 10+ minutes a night, and maybe even PK.

          • whenhabsscoreDougMohns

            I looked at your other posts, yes, Bickell on
            everything! All purpose complement. On Nordstrom
            I didn’t know his background, his style actually did
            look to be playmaker to me. I saw the “young”
            players as a group & was most impressed by J.N.
            & Regin.