Blackhawks

Not so fast, Hawks survive off Bolland's boost

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Not so fast, Hawks survive off Bolland's boost

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 9:45 p.m. Updated: 11:17 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Dave Bolland went through weeks of dreadful times as he worked through a concussion. On Tuesday he was back doling out that misery to the Vancouver Canucks.

Bolland had a goal and three assists and Patrick Sharp had two goals as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Canucks 7-2 in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series. The Blackhawks, boosted by Bollands return and fueled by Brent Seabrooks absence, were flying from the start and kept the pressure on Vancouver throughout the night.

WATCH: How did everything click in Game 4?

(It was a) huge boost, coach Joel Quenneville said. Not just his return to the lineup but that he had some enthusiasm with the quality and quantity of ice time. He had a special night.

The Blackhawks needed motivation to stave off elimination on Tuesday and they got it from several sources. They were frustrated that Seabrook was out after taking a shoulder-to-head hit from Vancouver forward Raffi Torres in Game 3. They were down 3-0. And Bolland, a constant thorn in the Canucks side was back. It all led to the Blackhawks most complete and dominating game of the series.

We played for each other tonight. If we do that, weve got the confidence now that things can go our way, Jonathan Toews said. There was a lot of motivation for our team. We want to play for each other, for guys like Seabs. That was our way of showing a little payback, especially in our own building.

For Bolland, there was no doubt he was coming back for this one. He had taken tests more than a week ago and failed, but he said doctors told him hed be ready around this time. He took and passed the necessary protocol this morning while his teammates participated in skate. Any doubt he was ready was erased pretty quickly as he and linemates Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik were stellar.

Hes a great player and he showed it tonight, said Frolik, who had a goal and an assist. We had a little chemistry tonight. Hopefully itll keep working.

As for fatigue, Bolland was feeling none of it.

There was no rust to dust off, Bolland said. The first game back is always the one you worry about. I remember coming off back surgery, I was gasping for air on the first one. The speed is tough. But I was training and kept conditioning up (this time).

Bickell had a goal and Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell scored 17 seconds apart in the second period.

The Blackhawks played as a team on Tuesday night. They played for injured teammates as much as those in the lineup with them. And several players and Quenneville said they felt no pressure coming into Game 4. They also dont expect any for Game 5.

We feel if we keep getting better and that puts us in the right spot, Quenneville said. Weve improved every single game. There were some good things that happened tonight but we still havent played our best. Weve got confidence in our team game. Thats a proud bunch.

For Bolland, his personal concussion hell is over. On Tuesday he was just back to giving others headaches.
Chris Campoli and Ryan Johnson get into a scrum late in the third period of Game 4. Things got chippy near the end, but no Vancouver player would drop the gloves with Blackhawks enforcer John Scott. (US PRESSWIRE)
I was just hoping for the win, Bolland said. I didnt think Id get four points. But I got both so it was a fun night.
Have a nice day

John Scott and Raffi Torres left late in the third period after they both received 10-minute misconducts. The duo never scrapped, but apparently yapped at each other instead.

Scott said it was just a little friendly banter.

I just asked him how his familys doing, Scott said. It was a good conversation. We got 10 minutes for having a nice conversation.

Torres said Scott asked him for a scrape.

I think he just said he wanted to beat me up so I was like, OK, great, good for you, Torres told reporters.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Jonathan Toews ready to be Captain Clutch for Blackhawks' postseason run

Jonathan Toews ready to be Captain Clutch for Blackhawks' postseason run

The big things, the little things... Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was doing them all in the Hawks' 3-1 series upset of the Western Conference's No. 5 seeded Oilers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Toews, 32, finished the best-of-five qualifying round series with seven points (four goals, three assists) a plus/minus rating of plus-2, a faceoff percentage of 55.34 and was on the ice for five goals for and two against in 5-on-5 play vs. Edmonton.

His game-winning goal with 1:16 remaining in Game 3 to make it 4-3, which deflected off his shin pad from a Connor Murphy shot, tied Toews with Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Patrick Kane for most postseason game winners (11) in Hawks' history.

"Technically we just made the playoffs now, so the real fun begins," Toews said after Friday's Game 4. "We worked pretty hard in this series to beat a good team and we're gonna have to dig deep to keep getting better and better (against) the next one. It's fun, like I said, even though there's no fans in the building. Guys want to win. Nice to get that series win. I think everyone's feeling good."

After Friday's Game 4 win, the Blackhawks improved to 17-5 in elimination games since 2010. In those games, Toews has 29 points with 11 goals and 18 assists. Patrick Kane also has 29 points in those elimination contests with 14 goals and 15 assists. 

The stats speak volumes of the captain's start to the postseason, but the way he played to record them say a lot more regarding the level Toews is performing at.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion center parking in front of the Oilers' net was a familiar sight during the series. After more than a decade of taking abuse in front of the crease, Toews is still willing to pay the price for his team. 

Related: More hard-earned goals and a killer PK advance Blackhawks to Round One

It wasn't just his two two-goal games, dominating on the dot and a strong defensive game throughout the series that was impressive, it was the determination that led to it.

There was a retro postseason intensity to his game, on display for the Hawks' younger players to observe the kind of edge successful playoff hockey often requires.

There was pulling up the bootstraps, packing the lunch pail and going to work on the boards, battling to get the puck to create chances, like when he won a battle down low to get rookie Dominik Kubalik the puck for the series-clinching goal at 8:30 of the third period in Game 4.

"Jonny’s been around a long time and he’s got a pretty immaculate track record in the playoffs," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said after Game 4. "To me, his biggest attribute that he has is his compete level. He wins a 50/50 battle on the winning goal, just finds a way to come up with the puck, and that’s the winner. He came up big for us throughout the series in those types of situations. Great player."

Related: How the Blackhawks upset the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers

It's no wonder the Blackhawks' younger players were so effective in the series. When they see veteran Hawks like their captain, several years their senior, doing the right things with purpose, they have no excuse not to.

"Thought he was great," Hawks goalie Corey Crawford said after Friday's game. "He was obviously one of our best players, not just offensively but he had a big block in the third there when they were pressuring. I mean when a leader's doing that I think that just follows throughout the lineup. Obviously he's won some Cups and knows how to play in these games, not much of a difference now. He was great."

Led by their captain, the Blackhawks did a lot right in the play-in series. They'll have momentum heading into Round One, albeit against a better team in the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights, but Toews' team has bought in.

If he continues to play at the level he opened the postseason at, anything is possible for him and his Hawks. Stranger things have happened in 2020.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

How the Blackhawks upset the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers

How the Blackhawks upset the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers

There was a lot the Western Conference's No. 12 seeded Blackhawks did right to upset the West's No. 5 seeded home ice Oilers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Here's some observations:

Greasy goals

There was a common theme for a lot of the goals the Hawks scored against the Oilers, they were hard-earned and a lot of them were deflected into the Oilers' net. Five of the Blackhawks' 16 goals in the series came off deflections.

Matthew Highmore had a tip-in late in Game 3 to set the table for the 4-3 comeback victory, then scored the same way to put the Hawks ahead 2-1 in the first period of Game 4. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had a Connor Murphy shot deflect off his shin pad for the game-winning goal in Game 3 with 1:16 remaining in regulation.

Throughout the series, the forwards got the puck to the D-men in the offensive zone and got to the front of the net to create a screen or try for a tip-in. The formula constantly worked for the Hawks and they need to keep at it for as long as they're in the postseason.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

Keeping McDavid and Draisaitl in check

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid had the first and second most points in the NHL before the pause, respectively.

Against the Blackhawks in the qualifying round, they had a combined 15 points (five goals, four assists for McDavid; and three goals, three assists for Draisaitl), which may not read like an accomplishment, but considering the uncanny offensive talent the two possess, the Hawks definitely succeeded in limiting their chances and keeping them from reaching their full level of production or potential in the series.

Related: More hard-earned goals and a killer PK advance Blackhawks to Round One

Coach Jeremy Colliton and his Hawks definitely got the best of McDavid and Draisaitl when they were the home team and had last change in Games 3 and 4. Colliton often put Toews' line against McDavid's — as well as the Blackhawks' fourth line with center David Kamp occasionally. 

Toews and his line were able to play solid defense against McDavid and the other Edmonton combos they faced. The Blackhawks captain was also able to help the Hawks hang onto the puck, winning 55.34% of the faceoffs he took in the series. McDavid won 43.1% of his draws in the qualifying round.

The PK

The Hawks went 12-for-17 on the penalty kill, including 5-for-5 in Game 4, in the play-in series against the Oilers. Chicago only allowing Edmonton five power-play goals in the entire series is pretty impressive as the Oilers touted the best power-play in the league during the regular season.

Maintaining a strong PK would benefit the Hawks in Round One, but so would staying out of the box to avoid an unfavorable momentum swing.

Captain seriously good

Toews had a monster series, resembling his former 2010 Conn Smythe-winning self in how he was able to take over some of the games in the qualifying round against top players like McDavid and Draisaitl.

In addition to being able to limit McDavid and win a majority of his draws, Toews had seven points (four goals, three assists) in the series. 

The three-time Stanley Cup champ had two two-goal games (Game 1 and Game 3) in the series and won a battle behind the net to get rookie Dominik Kubalik the puck in front for the series-clinching goal in Game 4.

The Crow

After missing the first 12 days of the Hawks' Phase 3 training camp after recovering from COVID-19, Crawford progressed into looking like the two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie he is and appears to have plenty of quality hockey left in the tank.

After allowing 13 total goals in the first three games of the series, Crawford played his best contest on Friday, saving 43 of 45 Oilers shots for the win. It definitely looks like he's now in postseason form.

Young guns

The Blackhawks younger players really stepped up in the qualifying round series. After Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach was arguably the most consistently good Hawk.

Dach, 19, was only held off the scoresheet in Game 4 after logging a three-game point streak with four assists to start the series. He became the first Blackhawks rookie to score a point in his first three playoff games since Eddie Olczyk in 1985.

Kubalik, 24, set a new Blackhawks record for rookie points in a playoff game with his five-point performance in Game 1, scoring two power-play goals and picking up three assists. Steve Larmer held the previous record. Larmer had four points (one goal, three assists) in Game 2 of the 1983 Division Finals. Larmer went on to win the Calder Trophy in 1983.

Kubalik also became the first player to record five points in his postseason debut in NHL history. 

Highmore, 24, put the Hawks ahead 2-1 at 7:56 of the first period of Game 4 after tipping in a Duncan Keith shot from in front of the net. It was the second straight game Highmore scored off a deflection. In Game 3, he tied the game 3-3 at 14:13 of the third period, deflecting a shot from defenseman Slater Koekkoek past Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen and setting the table for Toews to complete the 4-3 comeback victory.