Apr 3, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates his goal in front of Boston Bruins defenseman John-Michael Liles (26) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Pack It Up, Pack It In: Blackhawks 6, Bruins 4

Box Score

War on Ice

Natural Stat Trick

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

If you peel away the layers in a game that featured one team scored six unanswered goals followed by another team scoring four unanswered, there were a couple truths that we probably already knew but were incredibly apparent.

  1. In their first meeting this, Patrice Bergeron drank Artemi Panarin’s milkshake dry. The neutral zone dangles didn’t fool Bergeron as he is, by far, the best open ice defender the NHL has seen in quite some time. The result was the Hawks’ best offensive line could do little to generate much of anything. In a home game that gave the Hawks the final change, Panarin, Kane and Anisimov were able to escape Patrice Bergeron and explode for five of the six Blackhawk goals.
  2. On the flip side, Boston’s top line of Bergeron, Marchand and Eriksson may be the most complete line in the league. Minus the Hawks best defenseman, it was always going to be a challenge to hold them down. Adding into that equation was Joel Quenneville perhaps being a little too charitable at the end of the second period by letting Desjardins and Mashinter take a center ice shift against that line. Then, of course, you had Brandon Mashinter trying to dangle his way through the neutral zone and it shouldn’t be a shocking revelation that Bergeron’s line was able to break through for three goals of Boston’s four goals.

–On Boston’s fourth goal, Mashinter’s turnover turned Joel Quenneville’s face a shade of red that may have matched the Hawks sweaters. With the Hawks trying to get a whole sale change and Mashinter only needing to chip the puck off to the side boards to successfully accomplish this, he instead tried to skate his way past the Bruins defenseman.

If someone like Kane or Panarin or even Teuvo makes that mistake, you can sort of live with that as a coach. When it’s a tomato can like Brandon Mashinter, that’s the thing of which spurs heart diseases. And which gets one banished to the bowels of the United Center for the remainder of the playoffs.

–Seabrook and TVR ending up a combined -24 Corsi is probably better than the -50 we could have expected. To be fair, Seabrook did help set up the Hawks final goal with a nice break up of a Bruins 2-on-1 which sparked the Hawks 2-on-1 going the other way.

–In the tale of who can get out of the regular season alive, Marian Hossa was the latest casualty when he took a nasty hit on an incidental open-ice hit in the third period. Hossa left and did not return. End the regular season already.

–I’m curious since this has happened to the Hawks so many times throughout the last 8 years. Would rather them be on the side of team that jumps out to a huge early lead and then hangs on for dear life or the team that falls behind only to stage a dramatic comeback that ultimately ends up short?

They’ve been on the Bruins side of it enough this year that two points are better than none. And style points are effectively meaningless this time of year.

–The Hawks moved within two points of St. Louis with the Blues in action tonight against Colorado who needs at least a point to keep their playoff hopes alive. At this point, I prefer the Hawks just make it into the postseason in one piece rather than worry about getting home ice in the first round or not. Especially when you take into consideration that it’ll be a match of wits between Joel Quenneville and Ken Hitchcock.

But hey, if the home ice is there for the taking, it wouldn’t be awful either.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

 

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