Upon Further Review
8:00 PM EDT, April 27, 2011
Did you see game 7 in Vancouver Monday night?
If not, you missed out.
I know it was late. And I know it went to overtime. That’s all part of the charm.
The final outcome aside, this was the best hockey game I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe ever. Game 7s always make that a possibility. The ever-present threat of having your season end at a moment’s notice heightens the experience tenfold for the fans. But the `Hawks and Canucks delivered.
Make no mistake. Corey Crawford kept the Blackhawks in this game.
Crawford made some saves that they’ll be showing on NHL highlight videos for years to come. He turned away a barrage of shots in the 2nd period. Then there was the penalty shot he stopped early in the 3rd. And how about the trio of saves with 5 minutes left, including robbing Ryan Kesler, while sprawled out on his stomach, with a glove save from point blank range! (This game was not fingernail friendly)
As the 3rd period clock ticked down - 5:00…4:00…3:00 – that forlorn it’s-all-over feeling starts to set in.
But with the season on the verge of ending, and the Blackhawks down a man on the penalty kill, Jonathan Toews delivered what, up to that point, was the clutch goal of the playoffs, slipping the rebound past Roberto Luongo while falling to the ice, to tie the game at 1-1 with 1:56 to play.
One minute, fifty-six seconds. They were that close to being done.
Game 7 brought out the kid in me. When Toews scored, I jumped up off my couch, and the only thing I could do to keep quiet was to jump some more. Add a fist-pump, and I could be hanging with the Jersey Shore crew.
Keep in mind, it’s around 12:30 a.m. while this is happening.
In overtime, an early power play for Chicago could’ve (maybe should’ve?) led to victory. A great pass from Toews to Patrick Sharp left Sharp with a wide open net momentarily. Roberto Luongo stole that moment and stopped the puck.
This one ended, like so many in overtime seem to. Alexandre Burrows steals a lazy clearing attempt near the blue line, and two seconds later: Series over.
One minute, I’m engrossed in the best game I remember watching. And now it’s over.
It’s a shame the `Hawks couldn’t pull it out. Overcoming a 3-0 deficit as an 8-seed would’ve been something else.
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