Yell at Gatekeeper
The Blackhawks traveled to Bah-stuhn, Friday evening, to face off against the struggling Bruins. There have been screams from the hockey world about the head of coach Claude Julien on a stake, but that is nothing new. He's been getting fired since 2010. That said, the team is a mess. They continue to trot out the rigormortis riddled corpse of Zdeno Chara, and think they can compete against quick teams. Their forwards are getting older, outside of Brad Marchand. Tuukka Rask is a workhorse, and it makes you wonder what the record of this team would look like with, say, Winnipeg's or Dallas' goaltending. It's hard to believe that just a mere 4 years ago, we were fearing for the Blackhawks lives against them.
After a few days off both teams were pretty damn sloppy in the initial twenty minutes. There were countless missed passes, and mishandled pucks that resulted in lots of offsides, icing calls and some good Bruins chances. As is often the case, the Blackhawks goaltender bailed them out once again, and kept the game scoreless as they went into the first intermission. Some late shots by the Hawks made the shot total look ever so slightly more respectable, at 17-6 in favor of Boston. Yeah, SEVENTEEN.
The second period wasn't really any better than the first, action wise. We saw the Hawks come out with some shots very early but then regressed right back to the same team we saw in the first period. In fact, the Bruins seemed to have even more quality chances than they did in the opening frame. The shots were actually 8-8 and that was with a Blackhawks powerplay and a half. Three of those were generated in the final thirty seconds. They would have taken about 1:40 of powerplay time into the third, but the captain took a last second hooking penalty.
It was a god damned miracle the Blackhawks made it to the third period still scoreless, but they did. After spending the first two period vomiting up the puck, like a pageant girl on competition night, the Blackhawks reversed their fortunes and out shot the Bruins 8-5. The most important stat was the goal they scored with under two minutes remaining, to squeak out of Beantown with a probably undeserved, 1-0 win.
- The Boston 3rd sweaters are pretty slick. I always loved black and gold, and those are really sharp.
- After finally getting a good chance to watch Tanner Kero closely, I like his game. He is really responsible in his own end and does a lot of little things well. Unfortunately, this could make him trade bait at the deadline, if they go for a big fish.
- Scott Darling was great, again, in this game. If not for his first period, the Hawks would have been down at least 2-0. Instead they miraculously came away with a 1-0 shutout win. After playing only once in the previous few weeks, he was sharp as a tack.
- That said, Tuukka Rask deserved a better fate. He was really good when he needed to be, as well, and one goal against should still earn you a win.
- With just over a minute and a half remaining the #SteadilyDecliningMarianHossa gave the Blackhawks the lead, and essentially the win. One of his easier NHL goals, the work was done by the Rockford boys, Tanner Kero and #VinnieVidiVici. The play started with Michal Kempny creating a turnover at the Blackhawks blue line, and ended up Hinostroza feeding Kero, who threaded a backhand pass between Adam McQuaid's legs to Marian Hossa. All Hossa had to do was hit the net.
- Speaking of Michal Kempny, My pick-to-click had a pretty solid night with Brent Seabrook. I'm calling that pairing out right now as the #SpiritOf76pair.
- I can't really rag on any of the defensemen specifically. Brian Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk we just fine.
- Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews combined for 9 shots on net. The Captain will break through, soon. It's just a matter of time.
- The momentum swing in the Hawks favor wasn't so much their doing, as it was the Bruins losing their confidence as the game went on.
- I'll go easy on the Blackhawks, tonight, despite their terrible first period.
- The powerplay was just ass juice for the Blackhawks. They could barely muster up any pressure and when they did, in the second period, Jonathan Toews took a hooking penalty to negate the remainder of the power play. In the third period, they opened up their powerplay by giving up a 2-on-1, that Scott Darling had to bail them out of.
- One place the Blackhawks could have used a little help was the faceoff dots. They only won 20 of 49. Toews won 9 of 14, so it certainly wasn't him getting mushroom stamped.
- Final score aside, almost the entire team had negative Corsi numbers, thanks to the big Bruins first period.
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Hartman - Toews - Panik
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Hinostroza - Kero - Hossa
Rasmussen - Schmaltz - Tootoo
Keith - Hjalmarsson
Kempny - Seabrook
van Riemsdyk - Campbell