Blackhawks fans

A night to remember in Chicago

31 Comments

Perhaps it was the hockey gods’ way of rewarding us for coming back after another lockout.

Remember the lockout? Seems like a long time ago now.

Actually, when you think about it, maybe all that extra time off made Wednesday’s marathon thriller in Chicago possible. Both the Blackhawks and Bruins came into the 2013 Stanley Cup Final remarkably healthy after a 48-game regular season and three playoff rounds, save for one Gregory Campbell.

Certainly, neither team lacked energy in Game 1.

Well, not for the first few periods.

But let’s not start thinking that the NHL’s most recent work stoppage was even kind of a good thing; it wasn’t.

Tonight’s game was, though. This was why the fans came back. For a game like that.

And you thought it was exciting outside the United Center…

source: Getty Images
Getty

It was a double deflection in triple overtime that ended it, giving the Blackhawks the 4-3 victory. The hero was Andrew Shaw, a 21-year-old that was drafted 139th overall a couple of years ago.

The hero might’ve been a 25-year-old Latvian playing in just his third game this postseason, except Kaspars Daugavins couldn’t bury it minutes earlier for the Bruins.

Frankly, the hero might’ve been almost anyone, given the number of chances in sudden death.

In all, there were 117 shots registered in the 112:08 of hockey — 63 on Boston’s Tuukka Rask and 54 on his counterpart, Corey Crawford, who had his name chanted by the capacity crowd of 22,110, minus the handful who showed up in Bruins sweaters.

“Crowe was great,” said ‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “He kept us in there. He made several all-alone plays and saves. Had some odd-man breaks, some dangerous looks. He was great.”

Meanwhile, Bruins bench boss Claude Julien admitted the loss hurt, but he also pointed to what his team did just two years ago.

“Last time we won the Cup, we lost the first two games to Vancouver,” said Julien. “It never stopped us from coming back. This certainly won’t.

“When you look at the game, it could have gone either way. I thought we had some real great looks in overtime. With a little bit of luck, we could have ended it before they did.”

Game 2 goes Saturday.

It has some rather large shoes to fill.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

2816marty4
New Jersey Devils
Leave a comment

The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

18 Comments

The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Three
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils
Getty Images
2 Comments

The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.