For Hawks, historic cardiac comeback
Brent Seabrook has scored bigger goals before this — all of them in his driveway as a kid growing up in British Columbia.
It was Seabrook’s goal at 3:35 of overtime Wednesday that gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Red Wings in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Seabrook’s shot deflected off defenseman Niklas Kronwall’s skate and past goalie Jimmy Howard to send the Hawks into the West finals against Los Angeles in a series that starts Saturday at the UC.
“Shooting pucks around in the front yard, against the garage, breaking garage doors, it’s always something you think about, scoring an overtime winner in Game 7,” Seabrook said. “I love overtime. I think it’s exciting and lots of fun. The stakes are really high.”
Seriously, it was the biggest goal of Seabrook’s career.
“I don’t think I’ve scored a bigger goal than that,” he said. “With the Game 7 mentality, in overtime, against Detroit, it was pretty special.”
Dave Bolland started the play with a hard check on Gustav Nyquist along the boards, and the puck squirted free to Seabrook — who took a few strides inside the blue line and fired a wrist shot.”
“I just tried to get it on net and get it past Kronwall,” said Seabrook. “I didn’t want to get it blocked.
“I don’t even know if I saw it go in, to be honest. I just heard the horn going and the boys jumping out. It was a pretty exhausting game, but I think I was more tired during the celebration. You don’t get to do that too many times, and it’ll be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
The shot made a deserving winner out of goalie Corey Crawford, who was sensational with 26 saves. Crawford was beaten only by Henrik Zetterberg on a shot he had no chance to stop 26 seconds into the third period that made it 1-1.
“After that goal (by Seabrook) it’s a little of a relief, but it’s more a reward from our hard work and from us being relentless,” Crawford said. “It feels great. Obviously, it’s another step for us to move on to our ultimate goal.”
“The real dream is two more round from now,” Seabrook said.
The game wasn’t free of controversy.
It appeared that Niklas Hjalmarsson had scored with 1:47 left in regulation to snap the 1-1 tie, but referee Stephen Walkom waved if off because he had called a pair of penalties well behind the play.
Walkom sent off both Kyle Quincey and Brandon Saad for roughing, even though it was Saad who got mugged in front of the Detroit bench.
“I didn’t agree with it, but there’s not much you can do,” Saad said. “I was shocked when the linesman told me I was going to the box.”
None of the Hawks agreed with the call to wipe out the goal.
“That was a tough call,” Patrick Kane said. “It was a tough break for us, but we wanted to regroup and get back at it in overtime.”
The win completed the comeback from 3-1 down in the series for the Hawks.
“I think we might have needed a little adversity to get us going here in the playoffs the last three games,” Kane said. “It’s a fun time to be a Blackhawk. The city’s got to be buzzing right now. We have a great opportunity to do something special.”
The Red Wings dominated the third period after getting the tying goal from Zetterberg.
“They came flying out of the gate in the third period and made a nice play to get their goal,” Crawford said. “It was just a matter of cooling down, not losing our cool or lose our heads.”
The Hawks took a 1-0 lead into the third period thanks to a Patrick Sharp goal and Crawford’s amazing play.
It was scoreless until 1:08 of the second period when the Hawks caught the Red Wings in a bad line change and capitalized on a 3-on-1, with Sharp scoring his seventh goal of the playoffs on a nice passing play with Michal Handzus and Marian Hossa.
The Red Wings played most of the game without Valtteri Filppula, who hurt his ankle in a first-period collision with Andrew Shaw.
“Obviously, I was disappointed we lost Filppula early,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we could’ve been a lot more dynamic if we’d had Fil.
“Obviously, they’re a very talented group and I thought we pushed them real hard in the series and had a lot of fun doing it. Those dreams you have as a kid in Game 7, you always score. The other team doesn’t score.”
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1. Brent Seabrook, Hawks
The defenseman finished the series better than he started it, scoring the game-winning goal 3:35 into overtime and was plus-1 in 26 minutes with a team-high 6 hits.
2. Corey Crawford, Hawks
The goalie made 26 saves, many of them of the clutch variety.
3. Michael Frolik, Hawks
Led the penalty killers again on both kills. He almost single-handedly killed Andrew Shaws interference penalty in the second period.