Google+ Puckin' Hostile: Blackhawks vs. BluesShootout Win Recap

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blackhawks vs. Blues
Shootout Win Recap

"Perversions of Pain"




The Hawks had a great chance to make a statement on Thursday night, with the league leading St. Louis Blues rolling into town. This sounds like a tall order, until you look at their road record, which was a very average 18-16-5. A serious contrast from their home record of 30-4-4. Both teams had identical records in their last 5 and last 10, so they were equally as hot. For the second game in a row, they were facing an excellent penalty killing team, which really looked bad for the Hawks chances of actually getting a powerplay goal again this year.

The action was pretty even for most of the first period, as both teams scored opening period goals, and the Hawks out shooting the Blues 14-8. It really should have been 1-0, but a tie is much better than giving up a lead to this team. The second was more of a lockdown period with no goals scored and only 13 total shots, which led to an important 3rd, again. The third period led to 2 goals for each team and the Hawks holding a slight 9-7 edge in shots, which led to overtime. The Hawks had a decided advantage in the extra period, out shooting the Blues 7-2, but still not able win the game in 4 on 4 play. It only took the Hawks one shootout goal to earn the extra point, which was, AGAIN, a big statement game without Toews and Keith.

The Good

  • Half way through the first period, One Trick Bick pulled his patented move, curling behind a streaking Bolland, and snapping a wrist shot past Halak, from about 40 feet out. There is one thing Bickell does well, and the Blues allowed him to pull it off. Shame on them, but kudos to Bickell for taking what was given to him and putting an open look on net. Sometimes simple is the best option.
  • Bruno picked up a fat ass rebound at the top of the crease, to put the Hawks up 2-1 just under 5 minutes into the third period. Hossa and Kaner crashed the net, as well as half the Blues team, and Halak was stuck out of position. Kaner had the best chance to poke it into the net, but somehow, it ended up on Brunette's putter. Huge third period goal.
  • Almost half way through the third period, Stalberg and Sharpie hooked up on a 2-on-0 that was a result of a bad Blues turnover at center ice. They raced in together, and Stalberg was smart enough to know just who the trigger man should be on that play. 3-1 and the place was rockin! But this one wouldn't last, either.
  • Out shooting the league leading Blues 40-20 should bring a big win, but only brought the Hawks a shootout win. Alas, Two points are two points, though. Fans need to keep telling ourselves that these games are without two of their top players. When put into perspective, there isn't much to complain about.
  • Six more shots for Stalberg. I can't fault him for flicking the biscuit. Like I said last game, if he could only finish, he'd be sitting on 40 goals.
  • Shooter also lived up to his nickname, flicking 7 on net, including one goal. I wonder what was going on in the heads of Stalberg and Sharpie on that 2-on-0. You know they were both dying to shoot it. It was like a battle of Jedi mind tricks.
  • For the first time in forever, the Hawks were actually over 50% at the dots. While Kaner was his usual brutal 33%, the rest of the centers picked up the slack, and Mayers cartoonish 83% prety much did the trick.
  • Once again, the Blackhawks beat their opponents in blocked shots and eventually won the game.
  • At least the impending Ryan Reaves/Brandon Bollig theatrics were averted. I'm a fighting supporter, but when they are so clearly staged, they make a mockery of the game. Every true hockey fan should be offended by it.
  • While I love the excitement and emotion that people like Kaner and Sharpie show, the expression on Bolland's face after his shootout goal was superb. All business, like it wasn't his first NHL goal.
The Bad
  • Under a minute after the Sharpie goal, the wind was taken out of the UC crowd when Jason Arnott scored on a pretty simple wrap around. It looked like Crawford had him sized up, but he was allowed to whack away at the fucking rebound. If you give a guy that many chances, in the crease, it's eventually going to end up in the net. That was a combination of bad defense and Crawford's inability to control the rebound.
  • With a minute and a half left in the game, the Hawks allowed the Blues Perron to park in front of Crawford and tip a Russell point shot into the net. The Hawks actually out numbers the Blues, but the puck found Perron's stick and got past Crawford. The Hawks could have packed it up and accepted the point; to their credit, they didn't.
  • The Hoss/Kane/Bruno line was a minus 6 collectively, despite their third period goal. This has to be better. I understand Kaner's defense is suspect at best, but Hoss and Bruno are usually pretty responsible.
  • Given Stalberg's clear issues with finishing, I'll never understand the choice of him before Bolland. It will never make sense to me. 1-on-1 Bolland will put it on net, and has moves. Stalberg MAY hit the net, and has shown zero moves on breakways.
The Ugly
  • Of course, the Hawks good fortune couldn't last more than 9 seconds. The Blues won the ensuing faceoff and pushed the puck up to Steen, who got a step on Leddy and threw a shot on net from the dot. It was an angle that Crawford has to have. I understand he's been lost in his net quite a bit this year, but he had the angle and blew it. So much for that momentum.
  • The powerplay. God awful and getting worse. Simply pathetic. How are 5 teams worse? How is that possible?
The Shootout
  • Kaner was stopped by Halak.
  • Crawford stood tall on Perron.
  • Sharpie couldn't make it two games in a row against Halak.
  • Oshie was stopped bt Crawford.
  • Stalberg actually got the puck on net, but into Halak's pads.
  • Tough stop on Steen by Crawford.
  • Bolland is all business, scoring on Halak
  • Berglund hit the post
Here are your video highlights:

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