Overtime hockey: apparently the Blackhawks can’t get enough of it.
It didn’t seem like the Blackhawks were headed for it early in the third period but there we were again nonetheless, watching the game and another evening grow longer.
It’s great, isn’t it? Oh, come one, be it a Blackhawks or an Anaheim Ducks fan, you have to love this great, riveting, dramatic hockey, even if it does throw you off your schedule. But since tomorrow is still part of a holiday weekend, we trust you’ll get through it.
So before you sleep in, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 5-4 double-overtime victory over the Ducks.
1. Back in with a bang. Antoine Vermette, back in Game 4 after being a healthy scratch in Game 3, couldn’t have written a better ending for himself in this one with his game-winning goal. Vermette wasn’t making it about him, deflecting the scratch talk and putting the team first. But others were happy to speak up on his behalf. Said Brad Richards, “it shows his professionalism. No one is happy being out of the lineup. He went out and scored maybe the biggest goal of his career. Hats off to him.”
2. Forgetting about that three-goal outburst. When the Ducks scored three goals in 37 seconds of the third period, the air went out of the United Center. While coach Joel Quenneville was thinking the timeout he called prior to Corey Perry’s go-ahead goal was “the worst time out I ever called,” the Blackhawks weren’t panicking. It’s part of their playoff DNA to keep their heads and find a way to regroup, and they did.
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3. Corey Crawford key in OT. Any goaltender would be lamenting three goals in a short time span, whether they were his fault or not. But Crawford saved his best work for the first overtime, when he stopped 17 Ducks shots. He’d face four more in the second overtime before Vermette’s winner.
4. Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad score. The top line had been too quiet in the first three games of this series but Toews and Saad got things going in Game 4. Saad, with a little help from referee Chris Rooney (he got tangled up with Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin), scored a short-handed breakaway goal early. Toews scored early in the thirdperiod. It was the first goal for each since the Minnesota series. As Toews said of his goal, “finally got a bounce. That’s what I was waiting for.”
5. Don’t count out the Ducks. Ever. Ah, the old two-goal lead: it’s never safe, is it? That’s what the Blackhawks were up before the Ducks went on their barrage. The Ducks are good; they are very good. They have the firepower, they had the big bodies and they are still blocking a lot of shots (34 in Game 4). This series is going to remain riveting.