Blackhawks win Game 3; lead Sharks 3-0

May 22, 2010 3:30:58 PM PDT
The Blackhawks took a commanding series lead Friday night against the San Jose Sharks with a 3-2 overtime win.

With Friday's win, the Blackhawks moved ahead three games to none against the San Jose Sharks in the best-of-seven NHL Western Conference Finals - the last step before the Stanley Cup Finals.

Success on the road in the first two games translated into success at home Friday night.

Dustin Byfuglien came to the rescue deep in overtime to break a 2-2 tie.

Patrick Sharp scored the Hawks' first goal, and Dave Bolland scored the second shortly after leaving the penalty box. Bolland spent a total of six minutes in the box during the game for three penalties.

Bolland's goal came 13 minutes into the third period, giving fans hope that the Hawks could seal Game 3 during regulation.

San Jose's Patrick Marleau scored less than three minutes later, however, forcing the game into overtime.

Almost 12-and-a-half minutes into overtime, Byfuglien got the puck past Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for the win.

Hawks franchise history was also made Friday night, as Jonathan Toews' assist on the Patrick Sharp goal gave him a point in 12 straight playoff games. That broke the club record Toews had shared with Stan Mikita.

Mikita's 11-game point streak came in 1962. He was in attendance Friday night and was grinning widely after watching Toews break his record.

Some fans are hoping for a four-game sweep of the Sharks, but others are merely optimistic that the Hawks will win the series with perhaps a win or two for the Sharks along the way.

"The Sharks defense has really fallen off - the offense is not really there," said fan Jeremy Skipper. "I believe the Sharks have a great chance to maybe come back for maybe a game or two, but for sure they're going to lose maybe in six, and I believe the Hawks will take the Philadelphia flyers in five in the finals."

This spring, the big victories of the Hawks are bringing the whole city together behind a sports team that has come a long way in three-and-a-half seasons.

"I feel real good about the Blackhawks this year," said fan Terry Taylor.

Hawks fans can now be found all over Chicago, a metropolis that loves it sports.

"It is important, too, because basically they are our role models," said fan Ashley Britt. "They do everything great. Chicago's where it's at."

Where buzz equals money, the people who profit are doing so handsomely.

StubHub says there's more interest in a potential Blackhawks-Flyers final than a potential Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals.

"The Lakers and the Celtics each won the title in the last two years, so the Blackhawks haven't had one in so long, I think there's much more of a kind of starvation factor," said Brad Zibung of online ticket broker StubHub.

Demand for the current series has only been outpaced in the sports world by the demand for Canadiens-Flyers tickets.

With the city ablaze in red and images of Chief Blackhawk, those who use Chicago's skyscrapers as their canvas prepare to capture the moment of the city's collective experience.

Dan Perez of CNA insurance said he loves the opportunity to use the sides of Chicago landmark buildings to join in the city's celebration of its winning sports teams.

Perez said great care is being taken to create a high-quality image of the Blackhawks' logo on the side of the building.

"Two tones - windows open and windows closed - is typically what we're accustomed to seeing, where the object is lit up," said Perez. "We're actually using parts of windows that are actually closed."

The Blackhawks logo is one of the more difficult things to present on a building. The eye of the Blackhawk will appear on the 36th floor of the CNA building, five windows in from the south side of the building.

Various other Chicago high-rises, as well as Buckingham Fountain, were all bathed in red in a nod to the Hawks.


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