I assume this wasn’t how Coach Q drew it up, but a win’s a win and two points are two points.
Despite being outshot in each of Saturday night’s three periods, including a 19-9 first period tally, the Hawks kept themselves close enough to pounce on a couple third-period opportunities and, ultimately, the win.
The first period scoring was supplied in 42 seconds. After Patrick Sharp gave the Hawks the lead off a petty feed from Patrick Kane. Then, within 42 ticks, the Sabres had the lead off of goals from Drew Stafford and Paul Gaustad.
The Hawks were able to play most of the second period with a tie after Marian Hossa blew a wrister by Patrick Lalime on a breakaway. Hossa was sprung by a two-line pass by Brent Seabrook, whose pass made him look more like Aaron Rodgers than an NHL d-man.
But, the Sabres would take the lead before the period ended.
Down a goal, the Hawks went into scramble mode. About midway through the last period, another long, two-line Seabrook pass gave Dave Bolland a breakaway, and much like the Hossa opportunity, Bolland didn’t miss.
With the game tied, the Hawks found themselves on a power play just a few minutes after Bolland’s goal. Tomas Kopecky made a power move to get from the corner to the front, and the loose puck found Sharp who was pinching in from the weak-side point. Sharp tapped in the loose puck, and the first power play unit celebrated like a bunch a school girls. That was fun to see actually. For those of you wondering if these Cup champs could get up for games in October, it’s time to stop wondering.
Of course, the game couldn’t officially unless the Hawks were killing a penalty – I think there was some sort of rules change during the summer. The Hawks killed it, and with that, after six games, they’re over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
– I guess, in the end, a win like this isn’t so bad. The Hawks are the superior team, and they turned it on in time to show it. Even without Versteeg, Byfuglien and company, the Hawks are again much too talented to let off the mat. Consider Buffalo believers now.
– Two Hawks find themselves where very, very few Hawks have found themselves since Tony Amonte left town: atop the statistical league leaders list. Marian Hossa is the current league leader in goals and points (5, 9); Sharp is tied for the league lead in goals, and is fourth in points with seven; and Kopecky is fourth in assists with six. Yes, it’s early, but Hossa has the look of a 50-goal scorer. Should be fun to watch.
– Another Troy Brouwer sighting? Brouwer’s role increased again on Saturday night, as he saw top-six even strength minutes and significant power play time. Yes, please.
– Kopecky has come a long way since I predicted during the first game last season that he would be bought out last summer. His problem, as I saw it last sesason, was that he was a top-six forward who didn’t have enough skill to play in the top-six on a top flight team. Well, skill be damned, Kopecky has willed himself onto the top line, and he’s been fantastic thus far.
– Thanks goodness that two-line passes are no longer against the rules.
– Maybe this whole “mobile goalie” thing wasn’t a great idea.
– Let it be noted that after Mike Grier took a legitimate run at youngster Nick Leddy with John Scott on the ice, Scott was livid and threatened to kill Grier invited Grier to Chili’s during a friendly center-ice chat.
– No Skille? While he’s been downright electric in the early going, apparently Q stuck the lion’s share of the blame on Skille for the Dowell-Skille-Stalberg trio being unable to clear their own zone on Friday.
– It’s pretty much official (and absolutely no big deal): Jonathan Toews don’t like no Octobers. Toews has three points – or one less than Brian Bickell. He’s also negated two power plays with penalties during the delayed call period during the last few nights.