2013 Game Recaps

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And So It Continues: Dramatic Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Avalanche (2)

"I AM GORILLA SALAD!!!!" (Credit: Chris Sweda,  Chicago Tribune)

“I AM GORILLA SALAD!!!!” (Credit: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

Marian Hossa is out. You’re in the midst of an extended stretch without Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw due to in-game injuries. Who are you going to turn to for some late-game heroics?

Of course you’re going to go with… Gorilla Salad?!

Yep, Dan Carcillo became the 13th different Blackhawk to score a game-winning goal when he slipped one into the net with 49.3 seconds remaining to give the ‘Hawks a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Colorado on Wednesday night that UC.

The Streak is now at 24 – Jesus H. Christ, they’re fucking 21-0-3 and haven’t been beaten in actual hockey halfway through the season – and the streak within The Streak is at 11 straight wins.

Shit, even LeBron James is taking notice:

LeBron-Tweet

Quickly before Boxing…

— While Q was optimistic regarding Hossa and Shaw following the game, it seems a near certainty that Sharp will be out at least a few games after taking a hard hit into the boards. The ‘Hawks already have dealt with Brent Seabrook and Dave Bolland missing time, and now Q will have to adjust his lines for at least the near future.

The Bryan Bickell-Andrew Shaw-Viktor Stalberg third line has been fantastic, but there’s a chance Stalberg will be bumped up to play with Bolland and Patrick Kane with Sharp being out. We’ll know more once the call-up is announced – Ben Smith? Jeremy Morin? Jimmy Hayes? – but then again it’s Q, so who really knows what to expect? Gorilla Salad may start in goal for all we know.

— Speaking of Carcillo, he mentioned after the game how he’d “like to be more than just an enforcer on this team.” Hey buddy, thanks for the late goal and the two points and all that jazz, but we’re still not overlooking the fact that you’re, well, not good at hockey. You are what you are, and that’s a below-average player who should spend most of his time in the press box making some expensive suit look as stylish as footy pajamas. Enjoy the moment while it lasts.

— Ray Emery did not have his best game tonight, but who the fuck really cares at the point. He allowed only two goals – again, for Christ’s sake – and set an NHL record by winning each of his first 10 starts to begin a season. His post-to-post movement is suspect, but that’s nothing new. He’s getting the job done when his number is called.

— Thanks, Jamie McGinn, for deciding to try and box out Bolland after you lost your stick rather than attempting to stop a determined Jonathan Toews on his way to a short-handed goal. Yeah, that wasn’t smart.

We get to see the Avs again at their place on Friday night, and Adam will be along with your wrap for that one. For now, here’s Boxing.

Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Streakin’ Gone Wild: Boxing with Blackhawks (5) and Wild (3)

Credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

Credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune

“I’m running out of words to say here. I don’t know how many ways I can describe this 10-game winning streak. It’s exciting. We’re having fun.” – Jonathan Toews

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The Streak hit 23 games – how awesome is it to see 20-0-3?! – and the streak within The Streak hit a franchise-record 10 straight victories with Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Minnesota. Are there enough positive adjectives to describe this run? I think everyone is running out of them.

And how fitting is it Marian Hossa scored on the night the ‘Hawks honored him for playing in his 1,000th career game Sunday?

(Quick note on that: Here’s where I have issues with the separation between the regular season and playoff statistics. Hossa also has played in 130 postseason games, which weren’t taken into account. If he played a game in the NHL, he played a game in the NHL. I think all of them should be recognized. Just my opinion.)

Some quick thoughts before Boxing…

— The third line guys – Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Viktor Stalberg – came through again. Bickell scored twice, though one came with Brandon Saad delivering the pass you see in the picture above. Bickell’s first goal had him being in the perfect place at the right time, with Shaw and Stalberg picking up assists.

— Brandon Saad. That is all.

— Patrick Kane came through with another clutch goal, scoring on one of the only four shots the Blackhawks had in the third period. And to that point…

— The whole let’s-sit-back-and-just-ride-this-thing-out mentality when the ‘Hawks get a lead of two goals or more nearly came back and bit them in the ass for the fifth time this season. If there’s one thing to change when it comes to this team, it’s that.

The Blackhawks are so successful because of their puck position and the aggressiveness that comes with it. That’s where their talent shines. However, when they decide to sit back and let the game come to them, things nearly unravel. Here’s a quick snippet of the other times that’s happened this season:

Opponents-Comebacks

Solution? Stay aggressive. Role the lines until the final horn sounds and keep attacking. The Blackhawks are being outscored 19-18 in the third period this season.

The rest is in Boxing. Right-click on the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings

Heart Attack Hockey : Blackhawks 2 – Red Wings 1

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings

Sorry for the delayed recap. Sometimes it’s just your mom’s birthday. Let’s get to it because it’s late and I’m pining to watch ‘The Walking Dead’ tonight. Somthing actually has to happen this evening after the snoozer last week, right? *Update: Solid episode.

What. A. Game. The Blackhawks were awarded two points for their efforts. The Red Wings got one. But the real winners today were anyone who watched this game and the game of hockey in general. Holy shit. While the game was largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things for the Blackhawks, every single point these days matters for Detroit. I’m glad the ‘Hawks were able to rob them of at least one. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t depressed we’re not going to be able to witness these games six times each season anymore. Re-alignment blows. To the fun stuff.

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hawks toews fans

Minimum Payment: Blackhawks 4 – Blue Jackets 3

Viktor Stalberg: Swedish Limbo Champion (photo credit to Jonathan Daniel, NHL.com)

I’ll be honest with you all in saying that I definitely missed the first goal of the game. While driving to the destination that I was watching last night’s game, we had a little user error and had to listen to the first five minutes on the radio. I did rewatch the game today so now that I’ve seen it twice I feel I can competently comment on what transpired.

That was about as bad as I’ve seen this team look this year and still get a win.

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Boxing-Blues

A Cool 20: Boxing with ‘Hawks (3) and Blues (0)

Credit: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY

Credit: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY

I saw a bunch of “experts” predict the Blackhawks’ record-breaking streak would end in St. Louis, because apparently they need to be tough with their Blues-are-my-favorites-to-win-the-Stanley-Cup-so-I-need-to-pick-them-in-every-game mentality.

Well, they can all eat shit.

Jonathan Toews delivered the Death Blow a mere 12 seconds in, and the ‘Hawks ran their record to a disgusting 17-0-3 by shutting out Chicago Jr. 3-0 on Thursday night.

Ray Emery completed the shutout after Corey Crawford suffered what is said to be an upper-body injury after appearing woozy heading to the locker room after the first period. The team is saying Crow is day to day at this point, so hopefully we’ll get an update soon.

And even if it is Barry Melrose, it’s still pretty awesome to listen to him on Sportscenter calling the Blackhawks the best team in all of sports.

I’m tired, so the rest is in Boxing. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Boxing-Oilers

Extra Special: Overtime Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Oilers (2)

CT Hawks05998.JPG

The one thing I don’t like about this streak is the waiting. We all know, at least those of us who are logical and realistic, that the Blackhawks eventually are going to lose in regulation. And the past two nights, there were points in time I felt it was going to happen, and it almost was a relief to know it would finally be over.

I hate writing that as much as you likely hate reading it, but discussing an ultimately arbitrary record is somewhat taking away from what we need to focus on moving forward this season and into the playoffs. I actually found myself thinking against Columbus, “Well, if the BJs score here at the end, at least we can get a point and keep the streak going.” Then versus the Oil I thought, “Cool, at least if they lose in OT the ‘Hawks get a point and the streak hits 19.”

I became sick to my stomach after each of those thoughts, because that’s simply not looking at the bigger picture. After this streak is over, I won’t be thinking like that anymore. I’ll go back to being pissed off about some little mistake that cost them points. And honestly, I prefer not to think of this team as being perfect – because it’s not.

But with all that said, I can’t help myself. The streak is fantastic, and it’s clear this team is on a fucking mission and the rest of the West is just tagging along. No matter the ‘Hawks seemed to be cruising and just waiting for the perfect moments to come to them, the excitement after Hossa potted the winner in a 3-2 OT win over Edmonton was through the roof. Simply awesome.

Some thoughts before Boxing…

— I saw a tweet after the game suggesting a possible goalie controversy. Jesus Christ, please stop trying to create drama. Just accept the fact both goaltenders are playing well, be happy with who played well that given night and move on. Let it play out. This should be the least of anyone’s concerns right now.

— Seeing Carcillo on the top line makes me want to inflict pain upon myself. In fact, I’d rather sit around all day and smell Oprah’s farts than watch that asshole skate with Toews and Hossa. I understand Saad didn’t play his best game and took a couple bad penalties, but it wasn’t all Saad’s fault the ‘Hawks were down a goal heading into the third. Please, Q, stop this. Stop it now.

— Sharp deserves as much credit for the winner as Hossa. Strong move to the net, stuck with the rebound and let Hoss clean it up. Boom.

— Did I mention watching Carcillo on the top line is vomit-inducing?

— While I mentioned a part of my just wants this streak to end so we can get back to normal, if that happens in St. Louis on Thursday I may have to punt my cat. And my fiance’s cat.

Boxing. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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That’s Just Enough: Boxing with Blackhawks (1) and Blue Jackets (0)

Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)

Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)

Firstly, I’d like to apologize for not having a recap up after the Blackhawks set the NHL record for best start to a season with Friday’s win over San Jose. I received a few emails wondering why the hell I didn’t put up a post, but the fact is I simply didn’t have the time this weekend. I should have mentioned something ahead of time, so it falls directly on me. To the loyal readers who thought enough to drop a line, I’m sorry and we’ll do our best from here on out to make sure we at least get something up for you.

Well, no one said they’d all be pretty.

Corey Crawford posted his second shutout of the season in his first game in nearly two weeks, Andrew Shaw scored the lone goal despite a nut shot from known fuckbag James Wisniewski and the Blackhawks extend their NHL-record start with a 1-0 win over lowly Columbus.

It’s a lazy Sunday night so tonight’s recap will all come in Boxing. Despite Crawford’s solid performance, I’d have to guess Ray Emery is back in net to face the Oil, with Crawford starting the front of another back-to-back at St. Louis on Thursday.

JesusMarianHossa will be along in the afternoon with your preview of the Edmonton game, but here’s Boxing for now. Right-click the image, then click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Crown Their Ass: Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Kings (2) – Plus Bonus PUCKCAST!

Seabrook feeling much better than he would later. (Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Seabrook feeling much better than he would later. (Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

It’s been a long day, so I’ll offer most of what I have in Boxing below. At this point, you’ve probably read everything else anyway.

— The next time you say or hear anyone else utter the words, “Man, I would give my left nut for (insert wish here),” you better think of Brent Seabrook. It’s not like they had hookers back in the locker room ready to massage the twig and berries that were in the exact air space of a Drew Doughty slap shot. He headed off the ice because the extreme pain felt something like getting an underground sex change operation from Edward Scissorhands.

And thanks to the refs, he got to lie there with his face on the ice for about 15 seconds while sharp blades passed right by his nose because they jammed their whistles up their asses. Act like you’ve never been hit in the nuts, assholes. Seabrook’s first star was well deserved, and not just because of his goal and assist.

Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik simply are playing fantastic hockey. I bitched at Kruger once from the 300 level to get it deep as he lost the puck trying to enter the zone through two Kings, but other than that they continued playing at a level I don’t think any of us expected.

— The Blackhawks have allowed three goals in regulation twice all season – at Phoenix and at San Jose. Their plus-22 goal differential is by far the best in the NHL, and their 28 non-shootout goals allowed are second to Nashville’s 25. Ray Emery wasn’t outstanding, and I’m hoping Corey Crawford is healthy enough to go Tuesday, but both of these guys simply are getting the job done to this point.

— You’ve heard by now: If they ‘Hawks win or get to overtime Tuesday versus Vancouver, they tie the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks for the NHL record of earning a point in the first 16 games of a season. I’m not one for celebrating shit like this knowing it means nothing come playoff time, but there’s no arguing that would be pretty damn sweet.

— Nakis and I appeared on the HOCKEENIGHT Puckcast following the game, discussing a plethora of topics ranging from meatheads to Tecmo Super Bowl. I had to take off about an hour in because of work-related shit, but Nakis stuck around for the full 90 minutes. It’s not like you do any work on a Monday anyway, so have yourself a listen and get paid to waste company time.

I’ll leave you with Boxing, which won’t appear again until Friday. Nakis will be by with your Vancouver preview, and JesusMarianHossa hopefully will be recapping another victory. Right-click the image and hit ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Too Fasth: Blackhawks Drop a Shootout to the Ducks

Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Is anyone else sick of the damn shootout?

Everyone would have liked to see the Hawks take two points in their first game back at the United Center and they were just a hair away from getting it done. The good news is, the Hawks are 13 games into the season and have gotten a point in each of the games. The bad news is, they should have had two tonight.

There were definitely good things to take away from this game. This was perhaps the most physical game the Blackhawks have played all season. Bryan Bickell throwing his weight into Ryan Getzlaf was beautiful. When you’re a big body guy with decent speed, you need to hit people. It was nice to finally see him doing that to one of the Ducks’ core guys. It seems the team has been playing with a bit of an edge ever since Jamal Mayers’ scrap with Raffi Torres.

The Blackhawks’ penalty kill continues to shine. They play with active sticks and are more aggressive on the penalty kill than I’ve seen in years, leading to an important 5 on 3 kill tonight. Credit to Niklas Hjalmarsson, Michael Frolik, and Marcus Kruger for their newfound PK skills. I know I wasn’t the only one cussing these guys out last year; their turnaround is nothing short of a Chicago miracle.

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Old Country Way: Shutout Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Predators (0)

Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators

The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) often explains humbling people “old country way,” so make sure you give that crazy asshole a follow.

Corey Crawford helped pitch the Blackhawks’ first regular-season shutout since people were still bitching about trading Dustin Byfuglien, making 17 saves to back goals from Marcus Kruger, Jonathan Towes and Patrick Kane in Sunday night’s victory down south.

First, an admission. I told the other CtA fellas I believed the point streak would end tonight. We agreed, for the most part, Nashville was going to present a difficult challenge despite an overtime loss at Minnesota the previous night. But Pekka Rinne had that night off and was going to be fresh for a ‘Hawks team that was concluding a six-game road trip.

Needless to say, I’m happy to be wrong. A couple things before Boxing…

— The Blackhawks won’t see Nashville again until April, when they face the Predators four times in 2 1/2 weeks with three matchups coming at home. The joys of the lockout-shortened schedule keeping division rivals away from each other for a month in a three-month season. Because that makes sense.

— The ‘Hawks last blanked a regular-season opponent March 23, 2011, when Crawford made 23 saves to beat Florida 4-0. However, their last shutout actually was a 5-0 win over Vancouver in Game 5 of the 2010-11 playoffs, as Crawford made 36 saves.

— Make it a five-game goal-scoring streak for Kaner, whose nine goals and 10 assists trail only Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek (11 goals, 12 assists) for the NHL’s points lead. And he’s doing it all without a chewed-to-shit mouth guard.

— My God with the turnovers, Johnny Oduya.

— So, a 4-0-2 road trip before playing seven straight at home? Yeah, that’s like, good and stuff. Next up is surprising Anaheim for a showdown featuring two of the West’s top teams.

But first, here’s Boxing. Right-click and hit ‘view’ to enlarge…

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GrumpToews-Saad

Road Kill: Boxing with Blackhawks (6) and Coyotes (2)

#GrumpyToews (Credit to Nakis for snapping the original photo off the TV)

#GrumpyToews (Credit to Nakis for snapping the original photo off the TV)

One can only wonder what the Captain was so pissed about considering the curb-stomping they gave the ‘Yotes.

Patrick Kane continued lighting up the scoreboard, Jonathan Toews completely undressed Oliver Ekman-Larsson and five players finished with multiple points as the Blackhawks improved to 9-0-2 by dismantling the future Quebec Nordiques 6-2 on Thursday.

It was another late finish, so I’ll get to some quick things before Boxing…

— I was really happy the inevitable fight for the douchebaggery of Raffi Torres came quickly, as Jamal Mayers stepped up to the plate as soon as Torres hit the ice for his first shift. We heard so much before the game about what could possibly happen that you’d think the hockey world was promoting UFC 156,972. Each got in a couple nice licks, the benches stood and knocked their sticks against the boards and all was settled for Torres being a giant piece of shit. Now, I’m sure he’ll continue to be a giant piece of shit, but at least we can get past the entire thing now.

— Also lost in all that shit and the, you know, scoring by the ‘Hawks is that Ray Emery got the nod in net ahead of Corey Crawford despite there being a day off between games. Emery had another solid performance, as the ‘Hawks goaltending once again allowed less than three goals. Their combined 2.09 GAA ranks fourth in the league right now.

— HOODA THUNK DAT PATRIK CAIN GUY WOOD BE PLAYIN SO GOOD CUZ HES ALWAYS DRINKIN DA SAUCE INSTEAD OF PLAYIN DA HOCKEY BUT GLAD WE DIDNT TRADE HIM TO ANUDDER TEAM YET BUT WE SHOOD TRADE HIM NOW FOR SOME UDDER GOOD GUYS BEFORE HE STARTS TO STINK AND WE CANT GET NUTTIN FOUR HIM!

— Watching that giant jagoff Mike Smith get scored on mercilessly makes me smile.

— Of course Torres would score an annoying goal at the end. Asshole.

— Check out #GrumpyToews on Twitter to see some of the other memes made from Nakis’ picture. Some good ones in there. Also, hope you enjoy Tim’s changes to the site’s look, which I find to be awesome.

All right, the rest is in Boxing. Right-click on the image and click view to enlarge…

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"I love you THIS much." (Credit: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY)

Keep Rollin': Boxing with Blackhawks (5) and Sharks (3)

Credit: Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images

Credit: Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images

Who expected that after the frantic start?

The matchup between the top two Western Conference teams on the young season lived up to its billing, as the Blackhawks came away with two more points after erasing an early two-goal deficit to beat the Sharks 5-3 – hopefully before the Chicagoland area headed to bed.

That’s exactly where I need to be, so this will be pretty short before Boxing.

Corey Crawford got the start despite Ray Emery’s 45-save effort against Calgary – as he should have – though he wasn’t even close to the top of his game at the start. The third goal was pretty awful, and I think everyone this side of the Black Hole thought Coach Q was going to turn to Emery for the rest of the evening.

Crawford, though, rewarded his coach with a solid effort over the final 49 minutes, making some huge stops – including the point-blank save on Patrick Marleau. Hopefully he’s not as shaky at the start Thursday.

Patrick Kane is all over the ice, and I’m loving every single second of it.

— Finally, Brandon Saad’s hard work shows up on the score sheet after he netted his well-deserved first NHL goal. He’s been extremely active on both ends of the ice, and it was great to see him pot one.

— Very sweet of Duncan Keith to come to the defense of Jamal Mayers, but like Lou Brown said to Willie “Mays” Hayes in Major League, “Don’t ever fuckin’ do it again.” The last thing this team needs is for its top defenseman to get hurt in a fight. And on top it, the hit turned out to be pretty clean. Shoulder-to-shoulder contact, and I don’t think Andrew Desjardins left his feet, either.

Jonathan Toews’ robbery of Douglas Murray is just one of many examples he’s provided for why the ‘Hawks have gotten off to such a fantastic start. Kane’s “Nice fucking pass!” that was caught on camera said it all.

— Apparently Joe Thornton is some sort of hockey player guy that plays for the Sharks. You wouldn’t know it by watching this game.

— The fact Dave Bolland ended up winning seven faceoffs came as a complete shock to me. I felt like he lost every one of them – just like Marcus Kruger did on all six of his draws. However, Kruger may have played his best game since… well I can’t remember when.

All right, Boxing time. Right-click the image and click ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Get on your Hossa

Yep, That Actually Happened: Hossa, Emery Help Blackhawks Steal 2 Points From Flames

Get on your Hossa

Firstly, I’d like to thank the fellas over at Hockee Night – Forklift, CT and Morph – for putting together an awesome fundraiser over at Galway Bay last night. Not only are they fun to drink and watch hockey with, they’re also fantastic people.

And because I did my share of drinking – I mean, they would have been insulted if I didn’t get my money’s worth – this probably will be the shortest recap in this site’s history.

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Credit: Rich Lam, Getty Images

Moving On: ‘Hawks Drop Shootout in Vancouver, Head to Calgary

Credit: Rich Lam, Getty Images

Credit: Rich Lam, Getty Images

Few things are more frustrating than watching the Blackhawks struggle to get one past Roberto Luongo, but such was the case last night.

On the bright side, the one that did get past him – Patrick Kane’s tally off a beautiful feed from Andrew Shaw in the third period – gave the ‘Hawks another standings point. Two straight shootout losses won’t blow anyone’s skirt up after six straight wins, but how many of you would complain if you were told the Blackhawks would be 6-0-2 after their first eight games?

Tonight, it’s onto Calgary to try and ended a four-game losing streak at the Saddledome and capture two points with Ray Emery in net. But first, some thoughts from Friday night’s game…

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Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY

Point Taken: Shootout Boxing with Wild (3) and Blackhawks (2)

Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY

Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY

For the 84th consecutive season, the Chicago Blackhawks will not go undefeated. Darn.

While the shootout loss is disappointing, the all-important standings point – they’ve earned 13 out of a possible 14 – came with it. And on top of it, the ‘Hawks had a very solid all-around effort to begin a six-game road trip – at the end of which they’ll have already played nearly half of their road games for the entire season.

Lots of good in this one. The ‘Hawks made it clear they were going to pressure Josh Harding and the Minnesota defense from the get-go, and it led to a goal from Andrew Shaw that was made possible by Bryan Bickell’s rush to the net.

Jonathan Toews then caught Harding five-hole from the left wing, forcing Niklas Backstrom into action early.

The penalty kill was stellar again, snuffing out another 3-on-5 disadvantage and four short-handed situations in all, including one to end the third period to preserve the point. Oh, and Corey Crawford. He made three saves before the ‘Hawks lost Matt Cullen on the game’s first goal and can’t be blamed for raging douchebag Cal Clutterbuck’s redirection in the second period.

Then there was this save on the 5-on-3:

While the ‘Hawks obviously controlled possession for most of the final two periods – the Wild had only two shots in the third – most of their shots weren’t off quality chances. The aggressiveness and bull-rushing of the net we saw early on faded and Backstrom wasn’t challenged to make many tough saves.

Though Patrick Sharp hit the crossbar in regulation and again in the shootout, I don’t think he played his best game. He seemed a step slow all night, and he was flat-footed when Mikko Koivu, I believe, skated into the zone right past Sharp, forcing him to take what could have been a costly penalty at the end of the third.

And Dave Bolland lost 14 of 20 faceoffs. Holy shitball does that need to stop, and fast. That’s way too many possessions behind given up for the second line.

On to Boxing. Right-click the image and select ‘view’ to enlarge…

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Jimmy holds grudges.

Like a Broken Record: Overtime Boxing with Blackhawks (2) and Red Wings (1)

Yep, that's Jimmy's water. (Credit: Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune)

Yep, that’s Jimmy’s water. (Credit: Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune)

Never have the Blackhawks won their first six games. And there’s little better than watching them set that franchise record by beating hated Detroit – in overtime, no less.

Nick Leddy’s tally in OT was the difference in a 2-1 victory that seemed far-fetched given the way the ice was tilted for most of the contest. Luckily Corey Crawford was on our side.

Crawford and some stellar penalty killing helped snuff out Detroit’s six power plays, which including a 5-on-3 in the second period. Between Michael Frolik being extremely active on the kill, Crow making some tough saves and the Wings shooting themselves in the foot, Detroit’s in ability to get more than one through on numerous chances proved to be the difference.

Other stuff…

— This is the shit part of only playing Western Conference foes in a shortened season: Every OT game hands over a point that could prove to be crucial in the division race and battle for playoff seeding. With Detroit unable to find its scoring touch, a regulation victory was there for the taking, but …

— … they looked completely gassed in the third period on the end of a back-to-back. That’s understandable, especially given they played most of the second period shorthanded. Though it’s frustrating to give up a point to the Red Wings, the flip side of that is the ‘Hawks got two points when they didn’t appear they’d even snatch one at times.

— I think I’ve figured out why Pavel Datsyuk is so annoying. It’s because he doesn’t do anything to annoy me except consistently play well against my favorite team while wearing that uniform. That’s it. Nothing else. He’s one of the best players in the world, does it with class and has a game I wished he had played all these years wearing the Indian head. When he went 1-on-4 through the ‘Hawks with sick puck-handling before nearly beating Crawford with a backhand, I about shit myself.

— Speaking of Crawford, his second-period performance was fantastic. To face a 3 on 5 and five other short-handed situations on the end of a back-to-back and help turn them all away can’t be discounted, even if he didn’t even see the third-period goal that slipped through five-hole. Again I’ll ask: What more do you want from him at this point?

— Now comes a six-game road trip, beginning with new-look Minnesota on Wednesday. We’ll be back to preview that journey, which includes paying a visit to those assholes in Vancouver on Friday and the Feb. 5 tilt with undefeated San Jose.

Now for another edition of Boxing. Right-click on the image and click view to enlarge…

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Credit: Chris Swede, Chicago Tribune

Eat Crow: Home-Opener Boxing with Blackhawks (3) and Blues (2)

Credit: Chris Swede, Chicago Tribune

Credit: Chris Swede, Chicago Tribune

First things’s first: I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to be doing Boxing again. Sitting in Section 326, Row 12, Seat 9 sporting my Duncan Keith No. 3 Michigan State sweater made me forget about everything that transpired over the last six months. It felt great to be back watching hockey at the United Center, and I can’t wait to get back there Sunday.

As for the game, the Blackhawks’ onslaught of first-period odd-man rushes yielded only a single goal when Patrick Kane put a sweet move on Brian Elliott to complete a 3-on-0 as the Blues napped after a turnover. Somehow, after seemingly dominating the majority of the period, the ‘Hawks were outshot 9-7 and headed into the second period short a man after Marian Hossa took a tripping penalty with less than 20 seconds left.

Goals from Brent Seabrook in the second (originally credited to Keith) and Viktor Stalberg in the third were enough to hold off St. Louis, which made things interesting with a pair of goals in the final period.

Other things…

The Blackhawks are off to a 3-0-0 start, which would seem pretty arbitrary during an 82-game season. With this campaign already being at the 45-game mark, earning six quick points could go a long way. And if you told me they’d be unbeaten after facing Los Angeles, Phoenix and St. Louis to open the season, I would have asked who replaced your sanity with the optimism of Richard Simmons.

So, it looks like the Kane trade talk can pipe down for, like, another couple days, eh?

Corey Crawford was damn good. He made the saves he was expected to make, and then plenty more. He snuffed out St. Louis’ comeback attempt when the momentum shifted and played big during the Blues’ final burst to end the game. There shouldn’t be any question that Crawford gets the start Thursday in Dallas.

Brandon Saad shook off a slow start and questionable decision-making to have a second solid game. He seemed very timid in the first period but by the third he was very aggressive getting into the Blues’ zone.

I know I need to accept that Joel Quenneville will continue to dress someone for the sole purpose of him playing roughly five meaningless minutes, but why Brandon Bollig deserves to wear an NHL sweater at this point is beyond me. I mean Christ, even the Blues scratched Ryan Reaves.

Let’s get to the season’s first Boxing, including my channeling into the mind of Jonathan Toews. There’s one image for the summary, another for the box score. Click on each to enlarge….

Boxing1-22Hawks-3-Blues-2Sum

Boxing1-22Hawks-3-Blues-2Box