Better Late Than Never For The Hawks

Hawks come from behind late to win 2-1

Before taking the ice for game four of their second round series against the Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks knew how important it would be for them to come out strong early, and get on the scoreboard before Vancouver.  After falling behind by at least two goals in the first three games of the series, it was becoming too much to expect to make a comeback in every game.

On Thursday night the Hawks fell behind the Canucks once again, but this time they learned that it's a lot easier to come back when you're only down one.

For the first 57 minutes of game four, the 22,682 fans in attendance watched a team that appeared to be sleepwalking.  Considering that they had their backs pressed firmly against the wall, most thought the team would come out with more urgency, but instead they just floated listlessly up and down the ice.

Bad turnover here, lack of a shot there, it looked as though they were trying to be so patient that they forgot they actually had to take a chance once in a while. 

Then they finally got that chance with 2:44 left to go in regulation.  Andrew Ladd won a battle for the puck against two Canucks along the boards and found Marty Havlat coasting to the front of the net.  Havlat then placed a wrist shot just over Roberto Luongo's glove to tie the game at 1-1.

"I had 1-on-1 against the goalie and Ladd gave me a great pass. I had a lot of time and I haven't had that in this series," said the Hawk with the best sense of drama in these playoffs. "We kept fighting until the last second and it paid off. We were patient."

They weren't as patient in the overtime that would follow.  There were scary moments for the Hawks early when Vancouver got two point-blank opportunities on Nikolai Khabibulin, but he stonewalled both of them.  Then only 2:52 into the overtime, Dave Bolland fired a loose puck at the Vancouver net where Andrew Ladd was parked, and redirected the puck between Luongo's legs for the game-winner.

The victory was a huge one for the Hawks, as their series is now even at two games apiece, and will now head back to Vancouver for what is essentially a best of three.  Still, even though they won this important game, they're going to have to play a lot better on the road if they want to come back home with a chance to move on to the Western Conference Finals.

The late game heroics are quite lovely, but I'm sure Hawks fans wouldn't mind seeing their team pile up a whole bunch of goals in a blowout either.

Along with writing for, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls.

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