Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blackhawks vs Flames
Shutout Win Recap

"Boot Scrapers"

What is there to say about the prospect of the Flames coming into the UC on the second night of a back-to-back? They stink. They are a terrible team, that is on the verge of a complete fire sale and the Hawks had a chance to help nudge them over the cliff. They have played terrible, been bitten by injuries, and have the worst GM in the NHL. Don't worry, I won't sugar coat it. Live from the UC, it's the Blackhawks and the smoldering Flames.

The Flames looked pretty terrible in the first period, but I wouldn't exactly classify the Hawks play as anything other than "good". The shots favored the Hawks 11-6, and the Hawks had the only goal of the period, but the first period isn't where the Hawks have had their problems.

The Hawks continued their dominating play in the second, out shooting the Flames an embarrassing 16 to 3, also scoring the game's second goal late in the period.

The third period was much more even, probably due to four Blackhawks penalties. They still managed to out shoot the pathetic Flames 8-7 and preserve the shutout. A game the Hawks should have won, and did. Just another day at the office.

The Good

  • The first Hawks goal, just 7 minutes into the game by Nick Leddy, was about as soft as baby shit. Leddy picked up the puck at the left dot, and despite having no real angle, threw the puck at the net. This is where the magic happened. The puck banked off the top of Kiprusoff's left pad, down through his 5-hole, and into the net. You could see the life drain out of him and into a puddle in the crease, after than goal.
  • Lucky Number Sleven scored the second Hawks goal of the night in the late minutes of the second period. Mike Cammalleri ran off to get a new stick and left his team behind in the defensive zone, down a man, to defend the Hawks pressure. Kane camped out behind the net long enough for the odd man to get open, and that odd man was Lucky Sleven. Seabrook took the Kane pass, walked the puck around Iginla and took the shot. The shot changed speed because of an Iginla deflection and floated past Kiprusoff like a Gaylord Perry spitball. It looked embarrassing on TV, but speaking from experience, a shot like that is frustrating and extremely difficult, when you're set and ready for a laser beam. I felt for Kipper on that one. Nonetheless, it was 2-0 Hawks.
  • Razor was big, when he had to be, in net for the Hawks. Granted, I fully believe that Crawford could have shut them out too, but props to Razor for another shutout. I really don't care which one wins the game, as long as they are winning. BUT, if anyone starts this "Ray Emery for Starter" horseshit I'm going to bludgeon them to death with a tire iron, simply because you're an idiot and need to be erased from this planet.
  • Four more shot blocks for Hjalmarsson. I have come full circle on this guy. I was not a big fan, and called for his trade many time. The fact of the matter is that he has progressed and become a major part of the heart of the defense. He has his rough nights, but who doesn't? SO glad they kept him instead of Niemi, and that has never changed.
  • It might not show up on the score sheet, but Brandon Saad just gets better and better. I have no shame in saying how much I like this kid. His drive to the net, speed, and confidence are SCARY. The goals will come, because he puts himself in the right areas to succeed. The way he blew through the Flames, late in the third period, was absolutely jaw dropping. I think it's safe to say Viktor Stalberg is watching his Blackhawks career flash before his eyes. How the Hawks got this kid, where they did, was total larceny.
The Bad

  • Toews, Mayers and Carcillo all had great chances alone against Kiprusoff in the first, but none of them could put the puck in the net. The barrage continued throughout the game and Kiprusoff held his ground very well, but you can't win many game when you team doesn't score a single goal. He may want to rethink that threat to not report if he is traded. A trade may be his only saving grace.
  • Dullig was out, and Carcillo replaced him. 7:02 of glory, and barely a blip on the radar.
  • Kruger and Bolland were dogged at the dot something awful, going a combined 31%. Oh, but lookie here, MegaMayers won all 4 faceoffs he took. Good thing they are saving him for the playoffs with all those healthy scratches.
The Ugly

  • Is it a league mandate that every Jackman needs to be a total ball bag. Yes, I thought so. Must be a clause in the new CBA.
  • The powerplay was anemic against the league's #20 penalty kill unit. Now that the Hawks penalty kill has come back down to earth a little bit (dropped to #7 at 84.3%), the powerplay needs to step up. Yet, it's getting worse and worse as the season wears on. By no means am I preaching doom and gloom, but this is an important part of the game that needs to get UNFUCKED real soon. Top 10 is not too much to ask with this cast of characters, because the talent is there.

    They are on the verge of slipping into the league's bottom third, and that is just unacceptable. They were #16 (17.7%) the year of the cup, but were #5 in the playoffs at 22.5%. Strangely enough they currently have the same EXACT percentage they finished with, in the 2009/10 regular season. Needless to say, they will need to get better in the playoffs, if they want a repeat performance.

Here are the video highlights:

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