Thankful for ToewsFace

Not sure I want to get used to having to come back against the Flames but it certainly is better to be on this side of the equation having been on the other far more recently when it comes to Chicago sports. A late third period goal to tie it and this time overtime wasn’t even necessary. Calgary was content finishing their meltdown in regulation. I’ll go ahead and join the chorus in saying that today, I am thankful for the Patricks.

What was looking like an odd bounce game where the Blackhawks completely controlled possession but failed to dent the twine eventually played to the expected result when you control play at a 2 to 1 (66% to 34%) ratio. For large portions of each of the three periods the Chicago forwards were in the Flames end having long shifts and creating several chances. The Flames made their push at the end of the 2nd period but appeared to be completely gassed in the third. Once again it was rookie Reto Berra that kept them in the game. With family obligations on the horizon, I’ll go ahead and get on with the observation point of this recap.

  • Go ahead and play around with the Extra Skater numbers from the game. No matter the scenario, 5 on 5, tied, close or special teams, the Blackhawks controlled the play. The Blackhawks only had two minus players, Kruger and Smith (butbutbutbutbutbutbutbut), otherwise everyone was pushing the play into the Flames’ end. Now, in that group’s defense, they started roughly 85% of their shifts in the defensive zone. They certainly weren’t finishing in the offensive end though.
  • Newly formed third line members Brandon Pirri, Andrew Shaw and Kris Versteeg were a collective +47. I do not hate this line.
  • Despite the stats, I still don’t think Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad’s job is to make Michal Handzus look good.
  • Both the goals Raanta allowed he really didn’t have a chance on. I thought the young Finn looked pretty good in net. I would have no problem with him starting against Phoenix later in the trip. In fact, I encourage it for Crow’s sake.
  • Bollig hasn’t fought in a long time. It showed. Though his Dave Bolland-Ray Emery maniacal smile while getting him skull caved in by repeated blows was eerily enjoyable. But seriously, I hope he didn’t take any serious brain trauma. He got his ass kicked.
  • Dennis Wideman will make $5.25M this year and the next three. He skated 2nd pairing minutes tonight. Poorly.
  • Hjalmarsson led all Hawks skaters with 22:48 tonight. Not bad at all. About as balanced of a line and pairing roll as you’ll see. Now contrast his contract with Wideman’s.
  • Reto Berra isn’t the first goalie to get abused by Kane from a bad angle.
  • He’s also not the first to give up a highlight goal to him neither.
  • Marian Hossa’s assist, not to mention his gaining of the zone and depantsing of three Flames skaters, is like the gravy I plan on covering my plate in later today. Big Hoss was a force in this contest

That’s it for this one. A guaranteed winning Circus Trip is now in the bag. Enjoy your holiday.