What the Blackhawks have done the last 10 games in the Western Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs have done in the East. With who’s-THIS-fucking-guy goaltender James Reimer between the pipes, the Leafs have surged to a 6-1-3 record over their last ten games. After having been written off for another year by pretty much everyone as recently as the All-Star Break, they are now within 4 points of a playoff spot.
Tonight the Leafs play host to the similarly-resurgent Chicago Blackhawks, setting up a Clash of the Titans in the NHL’s broadcast media Coliseum: an Original-Six matchup on CBC’s Saturday night edition of Hockey Night in Canada. The only thing that would make this more perfect is if it were at Maple Leaf Gardens. But alas, time marches on.
“Hear about the Hurricanes?” Ask this question, even in Raleigh, and the answer usually comes back, “No! Was anybody hurt? Are they coming here? Do I need to board up the house?” Ask 100 random people on the streets of Chicago who Eric Staal is, about 3 will know he’s the Captain of the Hurricanes. I doubt you’ll find more than 2 who can answer that question correctly within a 10 block radius of the RBC Center.
Carolina’s about chitterlings, NASCAR, basketball and good ol’ Southern hospitality. Not exactly hockey country. Easy to explain why, like most teams south of the Mason-Dixon line, the ‘Canes are in the bottom half of the league for nightly attendance, filling only 17 out of every 20 seats on average. Shame, too: because even with a team put together with a $10 million salary cap cushion, they are in 7th place in the Eastern Conference and will likely make the playoffs.
There were twenty two former ‘Hawks in action last night. The twenty skaters combined to score three goals (two of which came from Kris Versteeg) and five assists totaling eight points. The two goalies remained on fire winning their two games stopping an impressive sixty-eight shots combined and only allowing two goals. These guys are smoking.
The standing were jumbled up again after these games but the Blackhawks still remain in the 4th seed. With Detroit’ loss last night, if the Hawks win the game tonight they will pull within seven points of the Wings, which I think is attainable, this season isn’t over yet but crazier things have happened.
Enjoy your weekend and hopefully the ‘Hawks can help you enjoy them more by extending this winning streak and bringing home four more points. GO HAWKS!
Click the jump for updates from the 3/3/11 games
Six former Blackhawks skated last night compiling four points, three were goals the other was an assist. The two who stand out are John Madden and Rene Bourque. That flamer got lucky that the puck fell in his lap twice while he was near the net or had an open net… Bum. On the other hand, good to see John Madden having success, I always did like him, hes just too expensive to keep…
Enjoy fourth place for the day as well as Boxing from Bartl. Have a good one guys!
Click the jump for updates from the 3/2/11 games
My best bud sent me a text during an intermission: “Jonathan Toews is on a drug. It’s called ‘Jonathan Toews.’”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
The addiction has seem to spread to the Blackhawks, who are playing their best hockey of the season following a 6-4 win against Calgary on Wednesday. The best part? The Flames were just as good. There’s no question the better team won.
Both of Toews’ goals were gorgeous, with the first even more handsome after Patrick Kane hit Patrick Sharp cross-ice, leaving Toews wide open in the crease. The second? Just the captain being the captain.
Marian Hossa capped it with a goal in his fifth straight game.
There was plenty more in between, including a mini-breakdown at the beginning of the third period, but Boxing will do the rest of my talking. Have at it:
Welcome back to the return of Behind Enemy Lines! Today, Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald answers a few questions regarding the Flames’ surge up the Western Conference standings, the previous three matchups this season and the resurgence of Jarome Iginla.
It’s clear Vicki put a lot of thought into her answers. If this is one interview you read all the way through, make sure it’s this one.
Bartl: The fluctuating Western Conference standings reordered again Tuesday with Calgary’s win against St. Louis, moving the Flames back ahead of the Blackhawks. Can you shed some light on how Calgary has responded to what’s at stake with each game as it shoots to return to the postseason?
Hall: The Flames have basically been fighting for their playoff lives since Christmas. Seriously. They languished in 14th place at the time and had little, if any, chance of clawing back into the race. Somehow, they’ve done just that by breaking the season into three-game segments and pledging to win at least two out of every three. They’ve accomplished that goal, thus far, but much work remains.
Click the jump for the rest of the Q&A
Shhhh… Come closer…
I’m not going to say this too loud. I’m preposterously superstitious, and the jinx factor is as strong as using the word “sh****t” when a goalie is going into the third period with no goals against. So lean in…
The Blackhawks have a winning streak going. Five games and counting.
There were eighteen former featherheads to take the ice last night. There were two goalies who split decisions. The one who got the win is probably playing the best out of any goalie in the league. The other 16 players were able to contribute five points, two goals and three assists. The two goals came from blue-liners. Enjoy your day, and watch for Tim’s pre-game for the big game tonight against Calgary, a win can have the ‘Hawks in 4th!
Click the jump for updates from the 3/1/11 games
The three former ‘Hawks which played last night added three points, two were goals the other was an assist. We have a new former Hawk and there was another former feather head who switched sweaters as well. Glad the ‘Hawks are continuing their winning ways.
Click the jump for updates from the 2/28/11 games
You just can’t make it easy can you, Blackhawks?
When Tomas Kopecky decided to be, well, Tomas Kopecky, and flick the puck over the boards for absolutely no justified reason, I thought for sure the league’s 26th-ranked penalty was going to let Minnesota tie it.
It was a welcome surprise to not only see a solid kill, but then have Jonathan Toews make a perfect pass to Marian Hossa for the game-clinching shorty.
From 9th to 5th in a matter of a couple hours. Five straight wins allows for such things. Most importantly, Monday’s 4-2 victory against the Wild came in regulation to avoid handing over an extra point to a team the Blackhawks are fighting in the constantly fluctuating Western Conference standings.
I’m very tired tonight, so I’m going to let Boxing do most of the talking. Enjoy, ya’ll.