At least, the Flames can take this from their Sunday afternoon loss in the United Center: they didn’t blow an historic 5-goal lead like they did this past November. Other than silver linings like that one, the Flames left Chicago early Sunday evening having been swept by the Blackhawks during the last two regular season series. That’s no good-ah.
As for the action, it was another solid performance by the Hawks, who are rounding into playoff shape quite nicely, and another dud by a team fighting for its playoff life.
The Hawks started the scoring and never trailed. Tomas Kopecky again lit the proverbial lamp during the first; this one came just three minutes into the game off a Ham Sandwich shot that sailed wide and careened back in front.
Next, with less than a minute left in the first frame, Troy Brouwer controlled a Brent Seabrook rebound and backhanded it past Mikka Kipprusoff.
Then, just five minutes into the second period, Patrick Kane did what Patrick Kane does when he stepped into the Flames zone, essentially on a 1-on-3. Inexplicably, no Flame stepped up on him, and he rifled his patented wrister over the blocked of Lil’ Kipper.
It wasn’t all roses for the Hawks, though. (It pretty much was; the previous sentence was just for effect.) A minute later, Ian White made a snazzy individual play by inside-outing Jordan Hendry and knocking a snapper past the blocker of Antti Niemi. (All you young hockey players out there, as a defenseman engaged in a one-on-one, play the body first; then the puck. The same thing applies if it’s a below average defenseman who’s carrying the puck.)
Dustin Byfuglien, who played a strong game with Duncan Keith, supplied the nail in the coffin, when he rocketed a wrister past Kipprusoff. Byfuglien got into scoring position by trailing Marian Hossa into the Flame zone. Hossa dropped the puck and took the defender with him to the net. Buff didn’t miss.
Just a Couple Today
– Of course, we all know by now that the Hawks won the Central Division this afternoon. Technically, it happened when Detroit dropped their game in Philadelphia, but it was nice that the Hawks still won their game. The Hawks’ mission, if they choose to accept it: avoiding the Wings in the first round.
– Remember Kim Johnsson?