Two for Flinching

This is the type of game you want to see the Blackhawks play against a team that can match them in the speed department. Getting in shooting lanes, not committing penalties, controlling possessions and forcing the other team to either get a goalie win or score more while being outshot by nearly double. There was never a point during this contest where you ever thought Chicago wouldn’t win.

A great start for the Hawks tonight as the 2nd line was the first strike. It was nice to see Jimmy Hayes get his first tally of the campaign but 80% of that goal was Patrick Kane. He corralled a loose puck, put it right on Hayes’ tape and Jimmy finished the other 20% of the goal by switching to his backhand a potting one. Shortly after that the third line that I’ve grown so fond of was able to make a great play at their own blue line and got a 2-on-1 out of it. Viktor Stalberg made a great decision holding on to the puck and making the defender commit to him. He dished a nice feed to Andrew Shaw in the slot and Shaw was able to finish nicely on a top shelf wrister. The Hawks were set to go into the dressing room with a two goal lead when Brent Seabrook made the mistake of thinking he could keep up with Gabriel Landeskog while skating backwards. The Avs youngster was able to blow by Seabrook as if he were a pylon and beat Ray Emery glove side for a shorthanded goal.

Simply put, that’s an unacceptable error from a veteran defenceman with less than a minute left in the period. Quenneville made sure he knew about it because we wouldn’t see Seabrook for a spell at the start of the second.

Chicago started the 2nd period without Marian Hossa and Joel Quenneville was forced to go to his line blender for the rest of the way. Kane was skating with Saad and Toews which felt like a bit of an overload. Especially when we saw Kane double shift with his normal 2nd line at times. Regardless, Kane pushed the Blackhawk lead back to two on an odd angled shot off a rebound after a Toews won an offensive zone draw. Brent Seabrook would later redeem his boner (sounds like some sort of prize at a fucked up Chuck-E-Cheese) with a blast from the top of the left circle extending the Blackhawks lead to three. Just prior to the end of the period Milan Hejduk was able to justify the NHL paycheck I didn’t know he was still collecting and beat Ray Emery on the glove side. It was a poor line for Oduya to take from the blue line in but it’s also a save that could have been made.

The third period was largely uneventful despite the Blackhawks controlling possession, pace and shots. The Captain put a a bow on this one with a surgeon shot from the right circle to restore the Blackhawks 3 goal lead with about 4 minutes and change left and that was that. 5-2 and if you want to call it revenge then so be it. More than anything, it gave the Hawks the piece of mind that even after they leave the Pond on Wednesday that they’d be tops in the Western Conference. On to what we saw.

  • Ray Emery’s lateral movement: Liability. You knew that but tonight, especially on shots that went wide of the net and came out from behind to the other side of the net, you could see Razor’s inability to cover post-to-post. Suitable back-up, but it’s a good thing Crawford is this team’s #1.
  • I understand having to shorten your bench when a player leaves in the middle of the game but Patrick Kane double shifting on both the first and second lines after Marian Hossa’s departure was a little much. 22:30 of ice time was what 88 finished with.
  • Light a candle on your way home tomorrow for Marian Hossa.
  • If you were wondering about possession, well, the Hawks were nine-tenths of the law tonight. Oduya was the only player registering a minus in the CORSI department while Saad, Kane and Toews were all in the double digits on the positive side. The Swedes are simply a putting up the force field as well, each blocking seven shots tonight. It should be noted that Colorado’s first shot in the third period was registered with just 5:35 left in the final frame.
  • Brent Seabrook’s 13 minutes in the doghouse: Discuss.
  • Gabriel Landeskog is pretty good. Here’s hoping the Avalanche botch his contract like they did O’Reilly’s. It’s not often, though it’s becoming a bit more frequent than we’d like, that Brent Seabrook is made to look like a pylon.
  • Ryan O’Byrne seems like the type of guy that doesn’t change the TP roll when it’s gone and uses your hand and face towel instead.
  • Every center on the Hawks failed to win at least half their draws. It’s a little baffling how this team continues to be a puck possession monster while not controlling it front the start of play most times. Even the Captain was just 8 for 18 tonight.

The Ducks are on Wednesday and thanks to Bob Murray, the Blackhawks are going to have quite the conundrum in the summer of 2015.