Top Shelf : Islanders Daily 6/23/2013


Jun 22, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie

Corey Crawford

(50) makes a save during the third period in game five of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Middletown, N. J – After a two day break the Stanley Cup playoffs resumed in earnest last night as the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins resumed their classic series. When the final horn sounded Chicago had captured a well played 3-1 victory and grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series, moving to within one win of their second Stanley Cup championship in 4 years. But some notable points came out of game five indeed.

  • Both goaltenders seemed extremely focused on proving that game four, won by Chicago 6-5 was a fluke and both succeeded. Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford were the best players on the ice for their respective teams.
  • Officiating played a key role yet again. Boston did not have a power play in the game and there is just no way, in the finals, that a team can possibly play a clean 60 minutes. The most egregious was a high stick on Milan Lucic that drew blood and was missed and a no call on Michael Frolik for tripping which preceded David Bolland scoring the empty net goal to seal the victory. Would those calls and others have turned the tide for Boston? Not sure, but as I have mentioned before, the old hockey adage of ‘putting away the whistle’ has to come to an end. A penalty in the first is a penalty in the third. It does not have to be more complicated than that. The Blackhawks clearly deserved their victory, playing a gritty game before their home fans, so I am in no way sugggesting that the missed calls determined the outcome.
  • Important injuries will affect each team heading into game six on Monday night in Boston. Patrice Bergeron left the game and the arena, heading for a local Chicago hospital in an ambulance, when he pulled up lame on the end boards in the offensive zone. Looked almost surely to be a back injury of some sort (being widely speculated its a spleen injury) and whenever a hospital trip is necessary, you have to wonder about the severity. For the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews was targeted repeatedly by the bruising Boston defense and after a couple of questionably high hits, got absolutely walloped in the crease by Johnny Boychuk. To me, with Toews heading towards the goal in possession of the puck and angling low, it did not look as questionable as some originally thought. But it took its toll. Returning to the bench in the 3rd period, the Blackhawks captain did not play a shift leading many to think it could be a potential head injury.

So many story lines, so much great play on both sides of the puck and these two great hockey teams and cities have given us plenty to be proud of as we move towards a conclusion to the 2013 NHL season. Will it all be settled tomorrow night or could there be more magic in the black and gold to force a decisive game seven and climatic ending on Wednesday? We will not have to wait long for our answer.


Around The Twitter-Sphere

  • Outstanding tweet from one of the best Blackhawk fans on Twitter. No chirping, just good back and forth hockey banter. The Canadian media is probably already prepping their questions for Torts and he is preparing by yelling at his dog. How long before Torts insults the entire country of Canada? ?
  • Jeff points out what some are saying in respect to the Isles supposed chase of the Kings backup goaltender. You have to be real careful in these situations to not overpay for ‘potential’ and I am sure Garth Snow has that very much in mind.
  • Ok – there is fandom then there is fandom. This is absolutely spectacular and inspires me to run to the local hardware store right now and pick up what I need to make this happen. 
  • Everyone on the East coast still remembers the destruction that super storm Sandy reigned down on us last year and can relate to what the people of Calgary are going through. The pictures from inside the Saddledome are worse than expected. Please consider donating to the Canadian Red Cross as every little bit helps.

Around The NHL

  • Game five – game, set and match to Chicago 3-1 and a 3-2 series lead. Game six will be played tomorrow night at TD Bank Garden at 8pm EST. The status of Bergeron and Toews will most likely not be known until tomorrow at the earliest but keep an eye to Twitter and we will try and update you with whatever we find out today.
  • Corey Crawford absolutely spectacular in a bounce back performance and Patrick Kane with two more goals continues to add to his Stanley Cup finals status as ‘Mr. Clutch’. He has awoken in a big way over the course of the past two rounds and right now has to be in serious consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
  • Tuukka Rask equally good for Boston, making a number of great saves, specifically the first period stop on Patrick Sharp sliding across the crease. Nathan Horton had an effective game but Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin were very absent. For the Bruins to have a chance potentially without Bergeron, these two specifically have to step up and soon.