So what is it like when your team is sprinting in the playoff race during the final days of the regular season?
If you watched the Blackhawks flying at the Red Wings Monday night on the Versus telecast, you got a vivid reminder.
What an amazing battle this was. The Blackhawks finally prevailed 3-2 in overtime, earning two massive points in the process.
Marian Hossa scored the game-winner, continuing his clutch play down the stretch. He is earning the big bucks now. Coach Joel Quenneville gave him 33 shifts and nearly 24 minutes of playing time against the Red Wings.
Rookie Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford also starred, holding the explosive Red Wings at bay.
“If you look back over the course of the season, that was the most important win we've had at any point," Quenneville told reporters afterward. “Crawford was big in net and everybody played big. I liked how the guys approached the game, and the energy we had right from the outset was exactly what we're looking for. It was a playoff game for us. It was a great hockey game.”
The big story from the Detroit side was the stellar play of well-traveled goaltender Joey MacDonald, who is in his second stint in the Detroit organization.
This guy has played for the Toledo Storm of the ECHL (two stints) along with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (two stints), Grand Rapids Griffins (three stints), Boston Bruins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, New York Islanders, Toronto Marlies and Toronto Maple Leafs
He played 49 games for the horrible Islanders back in 2008-09, but has otherwise filled in just here and there in the NHL. The Red Wings called on him to fill in for back-up Chris Osgood, who is still recovering from surgical repairs.
How can you not pull for guys like MacDonald?
AROUND THE RINKS: The Blues tried to help Peoria’s playoff quest, sending down scorer T.J. Hensick, winger Adam Cracknell and defenseman Ian Cole for its game against Hamilton. But the Rivermen lost anyway, 3-1. “It's frustrating, you get sent down to be a difference-maker and we get beat anyway,” Hensick told the Peoria Journal Star. “It's difficult stepping into a situation where you are playing more minutes than you have been (as an NHL reserve) and have to get back in the groove quickly. I thought our power play was good tonight. We just didn't get one in, and then we got away from our game there for six minutes and we lost our heartbeat.” . . . Cam Janssen offered positive feelings about the state of the Blues during his interview with SportsRadio 1380, but he also noted the team was miffed at T.J. Oshie for his unexcused absence . . . Yahoo! Sports stirred up speculation that Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov would entertain offers from the KHL after a difficult, injury-marred season in Washington . . . Apparently Red Wings ruffian Todd Bertuzzi is unaware of the NHL's crackdown on head shots. This could cost him big . . . Will the Big Ten’s decision to get into the hockey business be good for the sport? Opinions vary on this. When Hockey Guy talked to Red Berenson about this recently, he didn’t have much to say about it. This decision came well above the coaching level . . . Rams owner Stan Kroenke has a lot of work to do with this his hockey team . . . Veteran goaltender Ray Emery is 5-0 with a 1.88 goals against average since joining the Ducks on the fly this season. He has made a stirring comeback from hip surgery . . . If this is Teemu Selanne's swan song, it sure is pretty. He just beat hapless Colorado with a five-point game.