Like some new blood in the Stanley Cup hunt, NBC ratings be damned. Like a crazed hockey town finally, finally seeing its team get one over on its de facto arch rivals. Like the continuing adventures of the best line of the playoffs with Forsberg, Arvidsson and Johansen. Like the fact that our sweet hockey prince P.K. Subban could potentially play on longer than Shea Weber.
And there are some horrible things to come out of the Blackhawks’ first-round loss. Most of them involving idiots asking for Joel Quenneville’s head because the Cubs finally won and they’re bored.
Why did this happen to the Chicago Blackhawks?
Here are 10 reasons.
Many wondered if a 34-year-old goalie whose last two postseasons saw him finish with a save percentage under .910 had a dominant playoff performance in him. Or, more to the point, wondering when Juuse Saros would make his playoff debut in the series.
And then he wins four straight with two shutouts, a .976 save percentage and a 0.70 goals-against average against the Blackhawks. Wonder no more.
9 – The Game 3 Rally
This was the series, in hindsight.
The Blackhawks build a 2-0 lead by the 11:15 mark of the second period. They only lost five games in the 35 times they held a lead entering the third period during the regular season.
Then Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third, and Kevin Fiala ended it in overtime. That dug the impossible-to-leave 3-0 hole, and basically ended the battle before the final shots were fired.
“Whether it’s confidence or you’re in a bad spot, giving up the 2-0 lead in Game 3 was a tough one to swallow. That was the one where we could have put ourselves back in the series, and we let it go,” said Quenneville.
8 – The Regular Season Told The Story
In the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks were a top-heavy offensive team — with three of the Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time! — that wasn’t nearly as possession dominant as it was in previous years (53.22 from 2013-16 vs. 50.41 this regular season) and had problems on the blue line.
In the playoffs, the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were the only players with more than one point – they had two each. The supporting cast offered nothing in the way of offense, as a team that scored 2.93 goals per game averaged 0.75 in these four games.
The team lost the possession battle with the Predators: According to Corsica, the Hawks were at 47.44 percent when adjusted for score and venue. And that blue line was exposed all series.
They are who we thought they were, or at least many of us should have known they were.
7 – Pekka Rinne
Rinne faced 126 shots and made 123 saves.
I mean, seriously.
6 – The Youth Gone Mild
Throughout their modern-day dynasty, it’s been clear that the Blackhawks are only going to be as good as the reinforcements that replaced their salary cap casualties.
It’s easy to forget there were two…