What a game last night... this baby had it all... an injured star couldn't play, another one gets knocked out (literally), Chicago jumps out to a 3-0 lead, Detroit gets three quick ones to tie it up, the Hawks goalie leaves with a mystery injury and the home team pulls it out in an OT thriller...
Patrick Sharp was the hero for Chicago, opening the scoring in the 1st period and then finishing it off in OT... good time to pick it up as Sharpie had gone six games without a goal and this gets Chicago back into the series.
Detroit stormed back late in the second period with three goals in the span of about five minutes to tie the game up... all three tallies were by dmen as Lidstrom, Rafalski and Ericsson all found the back of the net. For Nicklas Lidstrom, that was his 13th point of the playoffs to lead all dmen and that was only Jonathan Ericsson's second goal of the playoffs but he is a plus seven and has been getting valuable experience in these playoffs (played 23:35 last night)... he's one to watch over the next few years.
Those three goals by Detroit led to Nikolai Khabibulin's removal from the nets... officially the Hawks said it was a LBI injury but it could have been a neck from watching three go by him so quickly. That brought good ole Cristobal Huet into the nets and despite not playing since April 11th and coming into such a pressure packed game, the $5.6 million dollar man managed to shut Detroit down the rest of the way stopping all six shots he faced. Who's in net next game???... Murray Bannerman is probably as good a guess as any.
With Datsyuk out, it meant more responsibilities for Valtteri Filppula and the Finn responded with another assist... that's helpers in four straight games and he's quietly having a decent playoffs with no goals and 10 assists in 14 games after being a bit of a disappointment to us during the regular season as we thought he was a threat to have a breakout year this year... maybe next year.
Jonas Gustavsson has shortened his list of teams he's considering down to four... Toronto (where he might be able to step right in as a #1), San Jose (where he can learn from Nabokov), Dallas (where he can learn from Turco) and Colorado (where he can learn from Andrew Raycroft???)... good luck with that choice.
Mike Keenan got the axe yesterday in Calgary... not surprising at all as the team was pretty atrocious defensively and we didn't think Darryl Sutter would enjoy that too much. Whether its Sutter who comes down from upstairs to coach next year or they bring in someone else (Jacques Lemaire's name has been floated) look for them to attempt to turn themselves back into a lock-down defensive team again... which should be good news for Kiprusoff owners but maybe not great for the rest of the team.
Marty Havlat got hammered into next week by Niklas Kronwall last night, he left the game and did not return. He obviously suffered a concussion and he's had a few of those before so this may keep him out for a while... stay tuned and keep your head up.
No further word from the Hawks on Nikolai Khabibulin's LBI, so his status is up in the air for game #4 Sunday.
Pavel Datsyuk couldn't go last night with that bruised foot that some people are saying is actually broken.