What is this two days off stuff? After a hard fought overtime win against the despised Detoilet Red Wings, Sunday, the Hawks earned a well deserved couple of days off. Wednesday was their first look at the new look Wild, with their multimillion dollar center pieces. As we all know, the Hawks come in 6-0, but they have hit a bit of a rough streak. Detoilet and Dallas had ample opportunity to beat the Hawks, but Corey Crawford helped keep them in the games long enough to pull out a win. For his efforts, Crawford was named NHL #2 star of the week. If the Hawks are going to continue being successful, they will need Crawford to continue being solid, but they will also need to step up offensively and open some bigger leads. They can't expect Crawford to bail them out consistently, because he's just not that type of goalie. New shiny toy, Zach Parise, is doing exactly what he was brought in to do, which is put asses in the seats, and points on the board. Suter hasn't had as much luck, but there is going to be a little more adjustment time playing defense. His time will come, just so that time was after Wednesday night. Live from Minny-Haha, it's the Blackhawks and the Wild...
The Blackhawks came out and looked utterly atrocious in the first few shifts. They immediately took some lazy icing calls and before the second line could even fully get on the ice, they had already given up a sloppy goal. They finally managed to wake up and mustered up enough pressure to actually take a lead and chase the Wild goalie from the game with 2 goals on 4 shots and a crossbar. The Wild ended up out shooting the Hawks 15-7 because of some powerplays, but that doesn't tell the tale.
Once again, the Hawks started a period out in negative fashion. They were able to thwart a few great chances against, but another defensive zone gaffe allowed the Wild to tie the game up. The good news is that it once again woke the Hawks up, and even though they didn't score, they had some great pressure and their penalty kill was excellent as well. When the whistle blew, the shots favored the Hawks 8-4, but the game was tied 2-2.
While the Hawks dominated the third period, outshooting the Wild 11-2 they had to face a late penalty kill which pretty much killed the momentum they had going in the last 2 minutes. In what has become a pleasant trend, the Hawks killed the penalty, sending the game into extra time to decide the extra point.
The Overtime was a absolute track meet up and down the ice, with the Hawks getting 6 shots on net, and the Wild getting 4 of their own. When all was said and done, neither team could beat the opposing Goalie, and the game was decided by a couple of Wild shootout goals. Consider that extra point stolen, but only one point lost in the first 7 games is still an excellent start and more than we could have asked for.
- One of the first shots that the Hawks took was by Shooter who beat Harding and rang it off the post. It was thought that the shot might have originally gone in, at first glance, but after seeing the replay clearly it didn't.
- During the same sequence that Shooter's shot went off the post, Bickell took a puck from the corner and drove it straight into the crease. Before Bickell got his shot off Shaw stole it right off Bickell's stick and threw it over Hardings shoulder. Not 5 minutes gone in the game, and two goals had been scored.
- Make that three goals. El Capitan took a 2-1 lead for the Hawks a minute and a half later on a terrible goal. He skated up the left wing and beat Harding pretty easily through the 5-Hole. That ended Harding's night, and suffice to say, he was not happy.
- For most of the game the best Hawks line, by a long shot, was One Trick Bick/Shock-N-Shaw/Swedeberg, even though Swedeberg wasn't out for their first goal. Just imagine what they could do if Bick would actually hit someone, given the multitude of chances he has gotten.
- It's not often that I give Brandon Dullig credit, but Zenon Konopka tried to sucker Dullig into a fight in the first and he declined, actually drawing a penalty in the process. He finally learned to not fuck up his team's momentum, by losing a pointless hug festival. Credit where it's due. Of course, Swedeberg took a silly Goalie interference penalty that ended that powerplay early, but it's the principal. For his efforts, Dullig broke the 7 minute mark for the first time this season. Funny how using your fat melon can result in extended playing time, isn't it?
- Crawford made what might be one of the best saves of the year, on Bouchard. Bouchard was wide open on the back door, during the 4-on-3 powerplay. Bouchard tried to bring the puck to his forehand and Crawford dove head first, beating Bouchard. Excellent, Excellent save!
- Funny how little this team missed the Carcillo shenanigans when you have a kid with the talent of Brandon Saad out there in his place. Saad might not show up on the score sheet, but he is constantly making things happen with his speed, size, and willingness to go to those dirty places.
- The Hawks penalty kill is still among the top in the league with only one goal given up in 7 games. Again, more than we could have asked for.
- Niklas Backstrom was a wall in net, after relieving Harding. It's really hard to root against Harding with all that is going on in his life, and I actually felt pretty bad for the guy when he was pulled. That said, I'd take Backstrom in a Hawks uniform any day.
- The final shot tally favored the Hawks (32-25) even though they were heavily out shot in the first. This is exactly what you'd like to see from the offense, so one can't really complain about that.
- Bolland was eaten alive again at the dots, but the rest of the Hawks centers were all over 50%.
- Even though he took a boneheaded penalty, Frolik led the team with 6 shots on net. The Hawks may never see 20 goals from him again, but he is making himself useful on the PK and 4th line.
- At roughly 1:30 of the first period, Matt Cullen picked up the opening goal of the game. Deuce and Seabs had finally just been able to leave the ice, after 2 straight icing infractions. Oduya and Hjalmarsson no sooner stepped on the ice for the faceoff and they left Cullen to whack away at Crawford, and the rebound, and finally beat him. Kruger actually won the faceoff, but the Hawks looked lazy and uninterested in controlling the puck.
- Following a couple of nice saves by Crawford, the Hawks won a faceoff deep in their own zone, but O-dunce-ya threw it right up the middle of the zone to Tom Gilbert, who just dumped it towards the net. Cal Clusterfuck redirected it just enough to get it by Crawford, and tie up the game.
- It would be nice to see one of the big dopes, Dullig or Bickell, hit SOMETHING. I can understand the rest of the team not hitting, but these wonder twins are two of the biggest players on the ice most nights and refuse to throw a big hit. The finally hit tally was 13-6 in favor of the Wild, but if you ask me (and I know you didn't), it looked like the Wild had 13 hits in the first half of the first period. Whoever tallys these hit totals must be blind, deaf and stupid.
- Frolik did his first moronic thing of the year, checking Granlund from behind, and giving the Wild a 4-on-3 powerplay. This might get a second look from the league office, but I think he'll slide.
- What's that you say, Eddie? One-Trick-Bick shouldn't be trying blue line curl and drag moves? Couldn't. Agree. More.
- Crazy 8's made a terrible turnover in overtime that led to a break back the other way. He floated across the Wild zone waiting for numbers, but tried a blind drop which ended up on the stick of Bouchard.
- Parise deked Crawford out of his jock
- El Capitan equalled Parise, gaping 5-Hole, on Backstrom
- Koivu couldn't beat Crawford
- Crazy 8's ran out of room in Backstrom's kitchen
- Cullen beat Crawford slow and low
- Shooter hit the crossbar. Game...set...match