BANNER NIGHT: Blackhawks 6, Capitals 4
Tonight was the night we waited 98 days for. The Chicago Blackhawks brought the Stanley Cup onto the United Center ice and they raised the Stanley Cup banner. The word "awesome" gets overused, but tonight's ceremony truly inspired awe.
This was the final part of the three month party that was the Stanley Sup celebration. But then it was time to get down to brass tacks. For the first time in years, the team that raised the banner took two points, as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Washington Capitals 6-4 in Fort Kickass.
Let's get to this:
Brandon Bollig topped his 2013 season total in goals in the first period. Slak be damned, but any time B-52 scores a goal this season, his sizable ass is going right here.
Brandon Saad. It's only one game, but with three points any "sophomore slump" talk won't get fired up just yet. While he won't get the spotlight of skating on Jonathan Toews' left wing any time soon, he can certainly make hay against the lower echelons of oppsing lineups each night.
Niklas Hjalmarsson. He was absolutely nails during the 5-on-3 penalty kill late in the third period. Forget about blocking shots, Hjammer could have blocked out the sun during that kill. Oh, and he got two points. We get six more years of this guy. It's enough to make a guy chimp himself red.
The Hawks looked rusty as hell tonight. A lot of sloppy play, bad penalties, but at the end of the night they still had too many weapons for the Caps.
The Penalty Kill could have been in "The Bad" up until the 5-on-3. Washington was 3 for 4 at that point on their power play. Then when it came down to crunch time, the Hawks nutted up. Washington's passes were crisp, but the Hawks got every shooting lane more clogged than Bruce Boudreau's arteries.
Corey Crawford didn't bring his A game until the very end, and he was a $6 million dollar man when the Hawks needed him to be.
Next up is another home game, Saturday against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning. In the meantime, here's a victory song: