Hawks heroes: Playoffs have produced an unlikely batch of Chicago saviors

April 15, 2012|RedEye

Brandon Bollig. Brent Seabrook. Bryan Bickell. Corey Crawford.

Not exactly the house-hold Blackhawks names Chicagoan are used to hearing.

But they are the four players that have stepped into the spotlight so far in the Blackhaws' Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup with Phoenix. The two teams bring their intense battle to the United Center on Tuesday, where one team will skate away with a 2-1 series lead after the two split the opening two games in Glendale, Ariz.

And the players mentioned above are a big reason the Blackhawks aren't down 0-2 to Phoenix. Here's why.

Brandon Bollig

The rookie has been known for his penchant for fighting anyone and anytime on the ice. On Saturday night, however, he tied the game in the second period at 2, keeping the Blackhawks within striking distance, which would be huge in the game's final seconds. Oh, yeah, the goal was Bollig's first ever.

Brent Seabrook

Yes, the defenseman was on the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team, but he's not exactly known as an offensive powerhouse. He's looked like it in this series, though. In Thursday night's Blackhawks loss, Seabrook forced overtime when he netted a goal with 14.6 seconds left. On Saturday night, he blasted the puck toward the goal in the waning seconds, and Patrick Sharp tipped it in for the game-tying goal with 5.5 seconds left.

Bryan Bickell

Bickell came up huge in Saturday's win, scoring the first goal of the game to put the Blackhawks on top. Then, in overtime, Bickell took a pass from Viktor Stalberg in the slot and wristed the puck past Mike Smith for the win.

Corey Crawford

The on-again, off-again Blackhawks starter in net is the undisputed No. 1 goalie for the team in the playoffs. And he's made some absolutely insane saves, including one in Saturday's OT that kept the Hawks alive. That was one of his 30 saves. In the opener, he had 31.

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