Blackhawks 4, Wild 2

It was men against boys on Tuesday night at the Xcel Centre.  If it wasn’t for a rookie mistake by Nick Leddy, the game would have probably never got as close as it did. 

With the Hawks holding a 3-0 lead early in the third and the Wild killing off a penalty, Leddy lost all awareness of the situation and Martin Havlat had a clear-cut breakway from the blue line in.  He didn’t miss and suddenly the Wild were awake.  They kept coming with pressure and with less than five minutes left, it was a one goal game. 

On a seemingly innocent 3-on-3, Patrick Kane was a bit overaggressive on his backcheck and Jonathan Toews was a bit lazy.  It allowed Brent Burns to get wide-open in the slot.  He fired a shot from the slot, got his own rebound, and deposited it past Corey Crawford.

A bad situation turned worse when Tomas Kopecky flipped the puck into the stands with three and a half minutes left.  The Wild had another mad scramble in front of Crawford.  This time, though, they couldn’t find an opening and Pierre Marc-Bouchard made a completely ill-advised play.  With his back towards everyone and the puck slowly leaving the zone, Bouchard dove to keep the puck in.  Meanwhile, Toews was right there to pick up the puck and he was off with Marian Hossa the other way. 

Toews fed Hossa on a perfect pass and the puck was in the back of the net to give the Hawks a 4-2 win. 

Thoughts

–Is it possible that the corner has finally turned on the 2010-2011 Blackhawks?  In a hostile environment with everything going bad for them, they cinched it up and hunkered down for another two huge points.  If you took a poll amongst Hawk fans at the 17 minute mark of the third period on whether a win or loss was imminent, it probably would have come back 98% loss.

–In eleven and a half minutes, Michael Frolik created some pretty good chances for himself.  It’s too bad he’s in the midst of the worst scoring drought of his career because if he gets going, the Hawks are really going to become a dangerous team. 

–I would love to tell you how great or awful Chris Campoli is.  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know who he was if he walked into my house and dropped a deuce on my floor.  The Hawks did give up a conditional 2nd round pick for him.  Though they did have a few of those.  There were a couple things about the trade I find amusing/troubling.

  • Campoli is another Stan Bowman acquistion where the same buzzwords are used to describe him.  At this point, if you’re not a puck-moving defenseman and/or versatile, Bowman has no use for you. 
  • Maybe we’re all better off with the less Bowman says to the media.  Since the Frolik acquisition, Bowman has told anyone with a microphone that he was in the hunt for a defenseman.  So with the clock ticking today, Bowman had to either buck up and make a deal or risk getting pounded by the usually tame Hawk beat writers.  In this case, he decided to save face even if he ended up having to overpay.

That being said, I’m interested to see how Campoli meshes with the Hawks.  I’m also looking forward to watch Joel Quenneville coach him.

–Other deadline thoughts: Los Angeles is officially scary with Dustin Penner in the fold. 

I don’t understand the lack of sellers.  Buffalo, Columbus, Toronto, and Dallas aren’t going to do anything this year yet there they were holding on to all their pieces.  Columbus even added Scott Upshall.  Whatever.

If Nick Leddy was the asking price for Ladislav Smid as was reported, then Steve Tambellini should have just asked for Stan Bowman’s first born son as well.  (Easy joke there.  Nick Leddy is his first born.)

It will be very interesting to see how much teams like Vancouver and Washington end up going over the cap this year.  Washington is beyond dry humping it with Dennis Wideman in the fold and Vancouver had to shuffle everything around for Maxim Lapierre and Chris Higgins. 

–For one game, John Scott had a purpose.  Brad Staubitz tried finishing his check on Brian Campbell on an icing call and Scott pounced on him like an elephant attacking a lion.  Staubitz didn’t return after that.

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12 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Wild 2

  1. Cam says:

    Leddy was fantastic in the first period. He used his body in defensive ways I didn’t think he was capable of. I can forgive him losing track of Havlat. Hell, Keith did too.

  2. Patrick says:

    Leddy looked very capable, Toews, Kane and Sharp are seriously clicking and controlling the cycle when they’re on the ice, Hossa is a beast, Frolik is a find (even though he hasn’t scored, the Hawks got the better of that deal) and the team is the most balanced I’ve seen all year.

    Damn good game last night – if this is the team that’s rolling into the playoffs (style, intensity, etc), they could be a contending force in the playoffs.

  3. feyer says:

    Was it just me, or did the Minnie crowd erupt with applause when Hossa scored the shorty to ice the game?

  4. Go Hossa, go.

    And please, please, please stay healthy, we need you.

  5. Otter says:

    I felt like I was watching the 2009-10 Hawks last night. They played pretty darn awesome. And agree, Frolik > Skille

  6. Otter says:

    Two more quick thoughts…

    1) The Wild look really really really good in those green unis. I think we need a winter classic at Target Field with the Wild in green and the Hawks in red.

    2) My guess is that the Hawks are going to finish 4th and probably get the Kings. I guess there is a shot that LA can catch the Sharks… but it seems like, finally, the West is getting itself into shape and the top five teams will finish in the top five. 7-8, whatever… who cares, they ain’t winning that series. I could see someone upsetting the Sharks though, so I guess that 6 seed matters.

    I have to figure that, like the Sharks and Hawks last year, the Canucks and Wings are rooting for the Hawks and Kings to win a lot these next few weeks to avoid them early on (ala the Wings last year). Though there would be something awesome of a Hawks/Canucks first round match up and the good people of BC freaking the Melissa Leo out.

  7. Patrick says:

    Feyer – I heard the same thing, throught it was odd. Maybe it was the sound of the building being deflated…

  8. Big Tony says:

    Seeing the Hawks stay aggressive, then go for the kill while short-handed made me giggle like a fat kid with a $100 gift card at 31 Flavors. Toews is simply the best Hawk player in my lifetime.

  9. Marts says:

    Put the wood to Calgary tomorrow and we can put them to rest (behind us) for the remainder of the season I think. It would also be nice to see the Snooze, Avs, Canucks & Oil win tonight. Here’s a link to a website I’ve been a fan of/following for a while. Some of you have probably come across it before. There’s a lot of statistical data there and some complex explanations but it’s really cool if you’re into that kind of thing.

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/nhl

    I don’t know how to activate links… if anybody can explain that to me it would be appreciated as well.

  10. Marts says:

    Oh, it activated. Hmm, I didn’t think it did that. Oh well, throw out my last comment…

  11. Coach Keith says:

    The fourth goal was the sound of 3,000 Blackhawk fans going nuts in St. Paul (it was loud)! The main gripe of Minnesota Wild fans last night was the perception of the Wild rarely winning a face-off (interesting turn of events).

  12. Cam says:

    Calgary wins and moves ahead of the Hawks. Tomorrow’s game is fairly crucial.

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