EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

June 20, 2013

Blackhawks are here to stay

BOSTON — We found out something for most of the three-plus hours last night.

The Chicago Blackhawks are not the Pittsburgh Penguins, a few of whom got raises and contract extensions after an embarrassing week against the Bruins in the conference finals.

These guys from Chicago fight.

Better yet, these guys, fight back.

In fact, if your Boston Bruins looked in the mirror they’d probably see the Blackhawks, a franchise that doesn’t settle for second place for a lot of the same reasons the Bruins don’t.

Their fan base is as crazy, rabid and demanding as most of you are.

While last night’s Game 4 tilt, a 6-5 overtime win for the Blackhawks, had enough mental errors and lazy mistakes to fill Claude Julien’s briefcase, let’s be honest — it was one whale of a playoff hockey game.

While there is something to be said for the “tight-checking, 2-1 game,” and we’ve seen more than our fair share under Julien the last half-dozen years, last night was a Beanpot championship special. A lot of skating, a lot of back-and-forth action, a lot of shots and double-digit goals.

Tip your cap to the Blackhawks.

To have a chance to win the Stanley Cup after a dominating performance in Game 3 by the Bruins, the Blackhawks had to not only win this game, but they had to crack the Tuukka Rask Code. And they did both.

Unlike the Penguins — did I say they were embarrassing and a few of them were rewarded a few days after the season? — they did something about it.

When bodies are strewn up and down on the ice, including Rask’s, he is not half the goalie we’ve been used to seeing the last six weeks. Rask is on his game when his body is fluid, loose and “quiet.”

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