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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Greatest Regular Season Game I've Ever Seen...?(Perhaps)

We all knew that this game between the +Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Redwings was going to be a hard fought game...we just didn't know to what extent. The Redwings fans entered Joe Lewis Arena with every intent of bringing down the Blackhawks and their gaudy record of 18-0-3. Let me first start off by saying,....IF you had to miss a period in this hockey game, the first period would have been the only period you could have afforded to miss. Don't get me wrong, the play was pretty fast paced in the first, and the Hawks only gave up 3 shots on goal.




By the second period there was so much crashing the net, perfect tape to tape passing, finishing checks, diving to keep players from shooting. The intensity was extremely fast and...amazing. I sat in my seat with my heart in my throat the ENTIRE period.

Usually when a team gives up only one goal you assume the goalie and defense were playing well. YOU,...(those that didn't see this game), have NO idea.  You've heard the expression,...."standing on your head",... well, that is how Jimmy Howard and Corey Crawford were both playing. The acrobatic saves Corey Crawford made in the 2nd and 3rd period on players like Datsyuk,  Zetterberg, Franzen and Emmerton were all highlight-reel saves.

What amazed me most were the types of blocks and back checking and forechecking the teams were performing. B.Smith of Detroit blocked a shot by diving face first........who does that?

Johnny Oduya dove from behind Pavel Datsyuk to knock away a puck before Datsyuk had a chance to shoot it. Really? The intensity felt like a playoff game.

I remember counting at least 4 Redwings within 3 feet of the mouth of their own goal on numerous occasions, just to keep the puck out of the net. Oh yeah,...they came to WIN this game.

But, the counterpunch was just as powerful. The Hawks were doing the same thing. I found myself saying on numerous occasions:
'This is the best I've seen Stalberg'

'This is the best I've ever seen Hjalmarsson play"

'Look how ridiculously good Shaw looks right now'

'I am not sure Keith has played a better game........look at him go!'

and on,... and on,... and on.

In fact, I remember saying to myself, this game is so good that if it doesn't come down to a shootout, it will be a shame. I actually thought the Hawks were not going to get that 22nd straight game. That is how well the Redwings were playing. In the 3rd minute of the 3rd period(2:43), T.Tatar received a feed from P. Eaves and Tatar buried it. Nick Leddy,...interestingly enough beat the forward back to get the puck,...then coughed it up. He had one other moment like that which resulted in another great scoring chance. Leddy still played well, but I do remember those two plays sticking in my head as "uh-oh" plays.

But, the hockey gods were looking down on the streak and they must have wanted the Hawks to have a shot at this,.....or they simply realized that NO ONE should have lost this game,.......and they flew Jonathon Ericsson's pass over the boards for a 2 minute delay of game penalty. At this point I was sure the Hawks were going to pull their goalie for a 6 on 4(thank goodness I'm not coaching, yeah?). But, they didn't. Stalberg picked up a Patrick Sharp rebound and swept it over to a waiting and eager Patrick Kane who went top shelf on Jimmy Howard @ 17:58. .........Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss..... The air went out of the balloon,...and you could sense that sigh of relief from the bench...This is when my heart finally went...."Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu"... I was able to breathe again. I was able to go from sitting at the edge of my seat, a few more inches back.

When N. Kronwell received the same penalty(delay of game) at the 18:37 mark. I was almost certain the Hawks would get at least a point. This,...was a certainty and now I was able to touch my back to the back of the sofa.....Countdown began....5,....4,...3,...2,...1........Thank God. There is point streak #22 (28 total including the last 6 of last year).

Overtime was exciting and to be honest,...The Hawks got a break when one shot off the post. This allowed  the Hawks to go into yet another shootout.

The Shootout featured Datsyuk, Brenner and Zetterberg vs. Toews, Kane and (most likely) Hossa.

Crawford shut out Datsyuk and Brenner...........This is when we got to witness another Patrick Kane shootout slo-mo (like he did last year in Minnesota) shot.  He dip see-doed  and foot faked until he went forehand wrister glove side. 'That was absolutely a SICK move'.  One more guy to stop. Holding my breath since Crawford was 0-3 in shootouts this year. I stared at Zetterberg racing down right side until that puck shot off his wrister....................Corey gloved it and whistled out of the crease with a leg lift and an arm raised to the god,s for he just won the most exciting game I have seen (outside of the cup winning game). OMG!...tweets are flying around faster than  a turbo jet. HAWKS WIN! HAWKS WIN!.

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