Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blackhawks at Edmonton - Win Recap

"Trial by Fire"

With three games remaining in the 2013 regular season, the Blackhawks took a trip up to chilly Edmonton Alberta. The Blackhawks only needed a win to clinch the Presidents trophy. With Dave Bolland out, patrick Sharp would be returning to the lineup, and Rookie Hobey Baker winner Drew Leblanc making his Blackhawks debut. This kid was in the NCAA finals just a few weeks ago, and now he was centering a line of Patricks Kane and Sharp to start, at least. After the egg they laid in Vancouver, it was time to focus on the playoffs, and let few dinged up players rest. Live from Rexall Place in Edmonton Alberta, it's the Blackhawks and Oilers.

The first period began as a track meet. The Oilers were credited with 11 shots to the Blackhawks 9, but the Hawks had two goals to the Oilers single goal. The play certainly seemed like it was slanted in the Hawks favor.

The second period was much more calm than the wild first. The Hawks battened down the hatches and held the Oilers to TWO shots while getting seven of their own. Neither team was able to score and the two would take a 2-1 game into the third period.

The Hawks were pretty tight in the third period. While out shooting the Oilers 14-9, the Blackhawks also got 2 goals to ice the Presidents trophy. Next victim, Calgary.

The Good

  • Just minutes into the game, El Capitan grabbed 1-0 lead for the Blackhawks while working a 2-on-1 with Saad. He skated up the right wing, waited Dubnyk out, and snapped a shot over Dubnyk's blocker. Looks easy, but it's not. That takes talent.
  • Crazy 8s grabbed the lead back for the Blackhawks as Handzus fed him for a break-a-way. Kane is money in one on one, and made no mistake. The reason Handzus was on the ice is that Leblanc was benched for a shift after the Yakupov debacle.
  • There were three Blackhawks break-a-ways in the first period alone. They converted on Kane's, but Bickell and Stalberg missed.
  • Corey Crawford made what might be the save of the year on the Jordan Eberle in the second period. Absolutely SICK glove save. It can't go without mentioning that Crawford was unbeaten in over 45 minutes of play, after relieving Emery.
  • Johnny Oduya was set up by Crazy 8s about 5 minutes into the third period. The Hawks had an odd man break and Kane waited masterfully for the trailer, who happened to be Oduya. Johnny waited Dubnyk out and picked him apart.
  • Sharpie came back after his injury and went in 1-on-3 to get the open net goal, then was not so nicely checked into the net.
  • Drew Leblanc settled down nicely and had a few nice third period scoring chances, and also set his teammates up for some chances too. He's not the worst player out there, but he's probably better suited for the AHL, right now.
  • Handzus had a nice little game, getting 3 assists and finishing a plus 3.
  • In addition to Zus's three assists, Kane had a pretty quiet 3 points, as well. He just continues to carry this team with the little things. Call him a little whiney bitch all you'd like, but he gets the job done.
The Bad

  • Less than a minute after the Toews goal the track meet continued, as Nail Yakupov picked up a shot off the end boards and blasted it past Emery, tying the game at 1. Leblanc was on the ice, got caught running around after turning the puck over, and generally looked completely out of place. Welcome to the NHL, kid, here is your first minus.
  • Kruger and Handzus were great at the dots, but the rest of the Hawks centers were dogshit, to the tune of 30%. THIRTY PERCENT, including Toews.
The Ugly

  • With about six minutes remaining in the first period, Ray Emery left the game, after it looked like he reaggravated an injury. This is a prime reason why Ray Emery can never be a number one goalie. He's injury prone with those broken hips.
  • Sharp got caught up in a collision in the third period and went off the ice slowly with what looked like a lower body injury.

Editors note - Apparently Pat Kane went out celebrating after the game. Good for him! Atta boy, MVP!

Here are the video highlights:

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