Game 5: Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at Chicago
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Today, he looks back at a 2-1 loss in Game 5 of the Second Round against the Chicago Blackhawks:
For the fifth-straight time in the Second Round series between the Wild and Blackhawks, the home team won. It was announced today that Game 6 puck drop back at Xcel Energy Center, where the Wild is undefeated in the postseason, is set for 8 p.m. Tuesday. If the Wild wants to extend its playoff life, the club will have to continue the trend of home ice advantage and make a little bit of history in the process. The Blackhawks have not lost a playoff game after a series has been tied 2-2 in the Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane era, moving to 13-0 in Games 5 and 6 in such series. Tonight, Toews was the hero, scoring on a bouncing puck to put the Wild on the brink of elimination heading into Tuesday’s contest.
Tonight’s game was a bend-but-don’t-break game, with both teams trying to weather the opponent’s oncoming storms. Unfortunately for the Wild, the Hawks had a bigger umbrella and survived 14 third-period shots in the win. Chicago was much better on home ice and put up a series high 28 shots on goal, 15 in the second period.
We’re in for one heck of a battle come Tuesday night.
How good has Erik Haula been in the postseason? (That’s a rhetorical question of course because he’s been totally rad). The speedy Finn scored his third of the playoffs and fourth point of the series. His first-period goal was a Haulava individual effort, taking it from behind his own goal line, weaving through traffic in the neutral zone, putting a shot on goal, and then following up his rebound.
Haula’s goal was a prime example of why good things happen when players go to the net. The rebound was just out of Crawford’s reach and Haula got just enough on the puck to pop it up and over his pad. The disc flew up in the air, seemingly defying gravity like a flying saucer, before finally touching down beyond the goal line.
Patrick Kane doesn’t get caught with his head down very often, but he has gotten caught in the trolley tracks (or ‘L’ Train tracks since we’re in Chicago) in the last two games. Wild forwards have lined up the crafty Hawk and knocked him down like a bowling pin. In Game 4 in Minnesota, Kane was skating out of his zone with the puck and tried to make a head fake around Zach Parise, who was waiting at the line. That was a mistake. Parise put his shoulder square into Kane’s chest and put him down like an icy beverage at last call.
During Game 4, I tweeted the replay with the message to file this under “things you don’t see everyday.” Well, history repeated itself tonight. Kane was skating across the offensive zone blue line and Matt Cooke caught him with his head down, leveling the forward with a shoulder check. Kane is quick enough to avoid contact and typically always carries the puck with his head up. However, it’s hockey and even the best players get hammered occasionally.
Maybe the physical play on Kane led to more tension between the two teams…
Through the first four games of the series, things weren’t very chippy between the Wild and Hawks. That seems to have changed in Game 5 as there was a little more of the general nastiness we’ve come to expect in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Maybe the two teams had to rebuild a little hate before things got scrappy, but the clubs showed a healthy amount of disdain for one another today.
Ryan Suter was getting into it after the whistle with both Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg. Earlier in the game, Kane ran into Mikko Koivu, who was not impressed and whacked him with his stick, like using a flyswatter on a pest. Several times players scrummed around the net giving face washes and stick jabs, something that rarely happened in the first four games. If this is any indication, Game 6 back in the State of Hockey will have a healthy dose of nasty.
It wasn’t the happiest Mother’s Day for maternal fans of the Wild. However, moms around the State of Hockey and beyond definitely deserve a shout out today. Behind every good hockey player, you’ll often find a great hockey mom — driving him to practice, washing his laundry and cooking pregame meals.
I was fortunate to have a terrific mother who often put my hockey needs before hers. When I was a kid in elementary and junior high school, she used to drop me off at the outdoor skating rink outside of Ben Boeke at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, pack me a lunch and come check on me around 2. If my hands and feet weren’t frozen solid and there was still enough skaters for a game, she’d come back at 6 to pick me for dinner. She used to drive me across town, more than a half hour, to get my skates sharpened because that’s where the guy who put the best edge on the blades in Anchorage lived. Those are just a couple of stories that I can remember offhand, but there are countless others. I was also lucky enough to have three great housing mothers over the years — Michelle, Nancy and Jeanie — who opened up their homes, took a stray in and treated him like their own son. So stick tap to all the mums out there, but especially mine, who probably is the best because she had to deal with me, and I turned out all right.