05/22/2010 12:15 PM
- From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)
CHICAGO -- As he sat in the penalty box for the third time, Dave Bolland quietly vowed to make up for it during Friday night's Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
"I was a little anxious," said Bolland, who wound up scoring a goal and assisting on Dustin Byfuglien's game-winner in overtime. "I was like, ‘I've got to do something. I have to come out here with a burst of speed.'"
Thirty seconds after he did, he couldn't believe his luck. A blocked shot by Jonathan Toews slid right to him for a breakaway chance and the guy who's become known as a defensive stopper took it from there -- skating in against Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov and deking him to the ice.
Bolland placed his shot perfectly in a small gap between Nabokov's pad and the post to put the Hawks up 2-1 with 6:55 left to play -- then skated to the corner of the rink where actors Vince Vaughn and Kevin James were sitting.
"I had to go give them a wink," Bolland said. "I saw them sitting there, but I had to make sure the puck was in the net."
Did they wink back?
"Oh yeah," Bolland said, smiling. "I hope so."
Just like that, the Madhouse on Madison was rocking. Patrick Marleau's second goal put a damper on the party and sent the game to OT, but Bolland again broke out the offense when he fed Byfuglien for the game-winner with a perfectly placed pass from behind the net.
"He's shown his good hands for a few years now," Hawks winger Kris Versteeg said of Bolland. "We know what he can do. He's a pretty offensive guy and can play at both ends very well."
Not a bad finish to a night that could have turned out much worse for Bolland and the Hawks, who gave up the game's first goal on a 5-on-3 in which Bolland was in the box with two seconds left in his penalty. In all, Bolland went to the box three times -- but Hawks fans aren't going to remember that now.
They will remember his goal for quite a while. Where does it rank in all that he's scored?
"Pretty high," Bolland said, smiling. "It's fun scoring goals. It's also a lot easier. For me, playing against those top players in the NHL -- it's pretty ecstatic to have that accomplishment."