The NHL Playoff Recap gives you our take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.
We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round and kept track of each day in our Playoff Game Day Preview. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.
Of course there’s the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn’t get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.
THN’s Take: In a win-or-make-tee-times game for the defending Stanley Cup champs, Chicago came out hitting and gunning, sending a message that this series is far from over. The Hawks scored first and dominated the play pretty much all night by asserting themselves physically. They took a 5-1 lead into the third period before skating away with a 7-2 victory in a chippy contest to send the series back to Vancouver Thursday.
1. Dave Bolland – A triumphant return from post-concussion syndrome that cost him 17 games included a goal, four points and a flashback to the past two playoffs when he was a major thorn in the sides of the Sedins. The twins were a combined minus-5 on the night.
2. Brian Campbell – Stood up when the injured Brent Seabrook couldn’t. Campbell was aggressive all night, making things happen offensively. He scored the second goal, made a number of skilled saucer passes and was plus-3 as well.
3. Michael Frolik – A plus-4, he buzzed while Bolland bodied helping coach Joel Quenneville find an effective third line for the first time in the series.
The Black Hole
Kevin Bieksa – The Canucks blueliner looked awkward to begin the night giving the puck away and getting beaten clean on Bryan Bickell’s opening goal at 1:43 of the first period. The frustrated Bieksa then went after a decidedly overmatched Viktor Stalberg with less than four minutes remaining in the game, bloodying the speedy Swede.
THN’s Take: It seemed like it was over. The Sharks had a bad enough effort in Game 2, but falling behind 4-0 on 10 shots shortly after the start of the second period in Game 3? Everything was falling apart around them. At one point, the train horn-like sound of the Staples Center goal siren felt like it was signaling an overpowering Kings engine running the Sharks off the rails. But in a frantic, disorganized second period that saw the Sharks hold an 18-8 shot advantage and come out of in a 5-5 tie, it quickly became apparent defensive responsibility is what was derailed. The second was an exciting period to watch to be sure, but more because of its constant imperfections and pond hockey feel than anything done by the book. The two teams shut it down in a much safer third, but it took less than four minutes into overtime for a final defensive brain fart to surface, which Devin Setoguchi took advantage of.
1. Dan Boyle – Started slow like the rest of his team, but Boyle had two first assists that required patience and a superior skill level. He also logged an astounding 28:00 in ice time.
2. Patrick Marleau – He also struggled at times, but Marleau scored San Jose’s first goal and passed to an open Setoguchi for the game-winner in OT. Marleau also logged more than 20:00 and recorded five shots.
3. Brad Richardson – Had a goal and an assist before Los Angeles’ meltdown and also recorded five shots and three hits in a little more than 16 minutes in ice time.
The Black Hole
Antti Niemi – In a game when so much broke down, it’s tough to pick one guy, but Niemi was clearly the worst of the worst. He allowed four goals on 10 shots and was pulled less than a minute into the second period, which woke the Sharks up. An honorable mention goes to defense in general – somewhere Jacques Lemaire and Ken Hitchcock are shaking their heads.
POLL: Who was your first star of the game?
The NHL Game Night Recap will get you caught up with all the playoff action. THN will name our Three Stars for each game and tabulate the results after each series. First Star = three points, Second Star = two points, Third Star = one point.