Been waiting for those Hawks

The power play showed up.

Captain Jonathan Toews showed up.

The Blackhawks we’ve known showed up.

As a result of their 4-1 win in Game 5, the Hawks extended their Western Conference semifinal playoffs series against Detroit.

The Hawks weren’t as bad as their three-games-to-one deficit made them out to be heading into Saturday night’s game at the United Center. They had chances. They managed good shots. They forechecked hard.

But they had lost three straight.

And then the best team in the regular season started converting like it.

It required more line switching by coach Joel Quenneville, who deftly worked the last change that goes to the home team. Quenneville, who spent much of this season rolling four lines, made it a priority to keep Toews away from series-long annoyance Henrik Zetterberg. Suddenly, Toews and linemates Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane had some ice and pressured the Wings.

Almost all the Hawks forwards did. The attack was fearsome with defenseman jumping into the play from the start. The Wings managed no flow. The Hawks forced turnovers and got to loose pucks. They showed speed and jump. The Hawks skated, checked and moved the puck with the kind of advantage their roster suggested entering the series.

They had done that in the last two losses. The difference in Game 5 was the Hawks finished plays.

Quenneville also changed his defense pairings, most notably reuniting Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and the old defense partners did what they do, leading all skaters in ice time.

Seabrook delivered resounding hits and took big slap shots. Keith skated, moved the puck and took some slap shots himself. One of them was heading wide of the Wings net, but Andrew Shaw fought to get a stick on it and deflected the puck behind Jimmy Howard for the go-ahead goal in the second period.

What’s more, it came on a power play, the Hawks’ first in their last 13 chances in the series.

And suddenly, it was a power-play onslaught, as Toews, goal-less in the postseason, fired one off Howard’s mask from a steep angle to put the Hawks up 3-1 after two periods.

A sign of the Hawks’ commitment was their third period. Instead of falling back to try to protect a two-goal lead, they continued to buzz the Wings with a 17-4 shot advantage.

Shaw would score again in the third, and it became a night of redemption for two Hawks centers who had lost their composure in the two games in Detroit.

It was a night of redemption for the Hawks, period. This was the kind of game we’ve been waiting for since the opener. This was the Hawks dominating and making it count. This was the Hawks team that must show up in Detroit on Monday night.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Yep, I took my dad to Lollapalooza

    I suppose I should be old enough to know by now that something doesn't become un-cool just because your parent is there.

  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...