Tag: Patrick Sharp


Chicago’s Sharp on Game 7 confidence (and Mario Kart)


Relatively speaking, big elimination games probably feel like something close to “old hat” for the Chicago Blackhawks. Perhaps that’s why Patrick Sharp seems pretty confident heading into Game 7 against the (once?) “Nervous Nelly” Anaheim Ducks.

Of course, it helps when you’re on a team that seems comfortable in just about every situation you can see in the postseason.

“I think we’re good. We’re healthy,” Sharp said. “We have a defense core that wants to be on the ice, that they’re fighting to jump over the boards, want to play the heavy minutes. ”

“Up front I think we’re feeling pretty good. Whether it’s a physical game or a wide-open game, we like that style of play. We’ll be ready for whatever they throw at us.”

It’s funny that Sharp uses the phrasing “whatever they throw at us,” as he also revealed the key to Blackhawks tranquility: Mario Kart. That quote almost seems to imply that the Blachawks are ready for the blue shell.

(You know, the blue shell is almost like a metaphor for the wild bounces in the playoffs, isn’t it? No? OK, fair enough …)

Sharp also might have ruffled a feather or two by revealing the team-wide Mario Kart standings:

“I got the standings in my back pocket,” Sharp said to laughter from the media. “[Niklas Hjalmarsson] is number one, [Andrew Shaw] is two, and this is going to cause some problems, but I’m number three.”

That’s video game bulletin board material, right?

Anyway, it’s no surprise that the Blackhawks seem confident about Saturday’s contest, and not just because they have an extra day off to heal up Nintendo thumb.

Video: Saad comes up short in first frame, opens floodgates in second

Saad goal

With their season on the line, the Chicago Blackhawks had some great opportunities to strike first in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, but they couldn’t quite capitalize in the opening frame.

Perhaps Chicago’s best chance of the first period occurred near the halfway mark when a turnover by Ryan Getzlaf led to a great opportunity in front by Brandon Saad. Goaltender Frederik Andersen was able to stretch out to make the save.

Chicago also nearly opened up this game late in the frame when Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen wasn’t able to control the puck in the neutral zone, which led to Patrick Sharp flinging a shot at Andersen. The Ducks goalie made the initial save, but surrendered a juicy rebound for Teuvo Teravainen. Unfortunately for Chicago, he ended up missing the net.

You can watch those plays below:

Saad got another chance to bury the puck in the second period though and this time he would not be denied:

That opened up the floodgates as Marian Hossa and then Patrick Kane both found the back of the net within four minutes of Saad’s marker.

Toews: We’re ready for this challenge

Jonathan Toews

Monday’s 5-4 overtime defeat has to be a tough one for Chicago to swallow. Nevermind that losing Game 5 pushed the Blackhawks’ to the brink of elimination; this is loss would have been frustrating at any point of the season. The Blackhawks start has be seen by them as simply unacceptable and their incredible late-game rally was spoiled by an early overtime error.

None of that seems to have soured Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews’ outlook though.

“We feel that we’re a tough team to get rid of,” Toews said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “And now obviously the next game’s a must-win for us. A lot of guys, most guys, if not everybody in this room, definitely believe that that’s when we play our best, when our backs are against the wall. So we’re ready for that challenge.”

Chicago certainly has the experience to fall back on. The Blackhawks know what it takes to win, especially in high pressure situations.

“We’ve been through that before,” Patrick Sharp said. “We won the Stanley Cup with two goals in 17 seconds. They don’t get much higher than that. It’s a good series. Good team over there, good team in here.”

Winning two in a row against Anaheim will not be a small task. The Ducks haven’t suffered back-to-back losses yet in the playoffs and haven’t even been beaten in regulation yet. Chicago certainly has the talent to beat any team under the right circumstances and even tonight Toews showed why they can never be counted out.

This has been nothing if not an eventful Western Conference Final. With these two teams, it wouldn’t be surprising if Game 6 is more of the same.

Video: Chicago’s close calls in OT include a cross bar and breakaway save

The Chicago Blackhawks were outshot 17-5 in the first overtime in Game 4, but had two golden chances to win it and even the Western Conference Final with the Anaheim Ducks at two games apiece.

The first came on a scramble in the Anaheim crease, as Andrew Shaw hit the cross bar on a rebound opportunity to the right of Frederik Andersen. Credit Hampus Lindholm for immediately clearing the puck out of harm’s way, with Jonathan Toews looking at an open net.

And then there was Patrick Sharp, on a breakaway late in the extra period. Sent in all alone, he was unable to beat Andersen on the glove side.

Vermette, Teravainen return for Blackhawks in Game 4

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two

After voicing his displeasure with being a healthy scratch in Game 3, Antoine Vermette will draw back into the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final.

Vermette along with Teuvo Teravainen, who also draws in tonight, watched as Chicago fell 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.

Vermette has a goal and an assist to go along with a plus-4 rating while averaging 13:33 of ice time in 10 playoff games. Teravainen has scored a goal and three points in eight postseason games while averaging 13:46 in ice time.

During the team’s morning skate on Saturday Patrick Sharp skated on a line with Vermette with Teravainen – the trio played together in Chicago’s 3-2 triple overtime victory in Game 2.

Joakim Nordstrom and Kris Versteeg, who were inserted into Game 3 as “fresh legs” appear to be the odd men out tonight.

“There are some good stretches there in Game 2. I think that line can be a factor offensively. I think defensively they’ve been reliable in stretches, as well,” said Blackhwks coach Joel Quenneville of his third line. “Just some pace and energy across the board.

“That four-line rotation that we felt was best in Game 2 is what we’re looking for.”

Andrew Shaw meanwhile skated on the Blackhawks’ fourth line alongside Andrew Desjardins and Marcus Kruger at the United Center this morning.

“(Shaw) had some good games on the wall,” Quenneville said. “We talked about this maybe in the prior series, that some guys like them better on the wing, or you like him better at center. I think it’s 50/50. I think we like him equally as well. He’s comfortable in both areas.

“I think in the playoffs he raises his level of play. That persistence that you saw out of Shawsy just seems to rise.”

Kruger, who didn’t take a single faceoff in Game 3, said he was not battling an injury and expects to be back in the faceoff circle tonight.

“Your instincts, they find a way to get to the puck quicker, they got a good stick, they anticipate real well,” said Quenneville of Kruger. “I think offensively he has the same traits. But I think he’s so adept at the defensive side of things, we give him a little bit more of a job description on that side of it.

“Certainly very valuable and useful in a lot of ways.”

Puck drop tonight is at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.