By winning in game 7 the Chicago Blackhawks have advanced to the NHL west championship round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. This series was once a 3-1 advantage for the Detroit Redwings, but the Chicago Blackhawks stormed back by winning back to back games to force this pivotal game 7 in Chicago.
Entering this series the Chicago Blackhawks had looked borderline unbeatable this year. Throughout the regular season, the Blackhawks only lost seven games, an incredible feat despite the season being shortened by lockout. Their dominance saw them set the league record for consecutive points with a streak of 17 straight games to open the year. This streak reached 27 games when looking back into last season.
Chicago opened the scoring tonight with a goal by Patrick Sharp early in the second period. The goal was his seventh of the postseason, and was assisted by Marian Hossa and Michal Handuz.
Detroit was able to answer with a goal in the start of the third period by Henrik Zetterberg. The goal was his fourth of the post season and was assisted by Gustav Nyquist and Daniel Cleary. This recaptured momentum for the Redwings and appeared to tip the scales in their favor.
However with 1:47 to go it appeared that Chicago had recaptured the lead and momentum with a goal, however a stoppage for a scuffle near the Detroit bench had waived off play shortly before the puck crossed the net. Had the goal counted the game would have ended in regulation with the Chicago Blackhawks emerging victorious and moving on to face the Los Angelas Kings. Niklas Hjalmarsson appeared to call winning goal, and the crowd in Chicago erupted as they failed to realize that the goal had been waived off prior to the shot.
Stellar goalie play dominated the night for both clubs, with each goalie coming up huge multiple times with crucial saves. This game was dominated by defense throughout, as quality looks were hard to come by, and even those were almost always stuffed by the goalies.
A breakaway by the Blackhawks in overtime proved to be too much for the Detroit Redwins to stomach. Seabrook launched a shot from the middle of the ice that was able to reach the net and end the game, advancing the Chicago Blackhawks to the NHL West Championship.
Neither team proved able to take advantage of their power play opportunities during regulation, something that could easily have caused this game during regulation. The Chicago Blackhawks were 0-4 in power plays while the Redwings were 0-2. This was a stark change from the prowess both teams had been able to show thus far this year.
This series had been the only one in the semi-final round that hadn’t experienced overtime at some point in the series. The controversial call to negate the goal is certain to draw controversy in the coming days as people discuss whether or not the call should have been made. Critics of the call cited that the play happened away from the action and didn’t directly impact the play that was made, and that no blows to the head were thrown.
Detroit won three straight games in the series to take their 3-1 lead, the first time all season that Chicago had lost three consecutive games. Detroit was not supposed to contend in this series, they were just the 7th seed in the West and carried just a 24-16 record in the regular season. The Blackhawks came in with a far more impressive resume of a number one seed and a mark of 36-7.
The Chicago Blackhawks will go into their next series with a three game win streak and momentum on their side. They likely will be the favorites to advance to the championship, and stand a great shot at taking home the title in the coming weeks.
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The Guardian Express