It’s been awhile but the Hawks finally collected two points at the United Center. That’s not to say it was easy. The Hawks went into the dressing room after two dominant periods and held a measly 2-1 lead. With the way things have been going, it was hardly a comfortable lead.
Then three and a half minutes into the third, Corey Perry weaved around Niklas Hjalmarsson as Corey Crawford gave him the entire right side of the net to shoot at. Perry hit it and it was deja vu all over again.
The Hawks and Ducks traded chances the rest of the way in. Tomas Kopecky had different ideas though with a minute left in regulation. Kopecky, needlessly and foolishly, drilled a Duck into the boards and he went off for boarding. For the second straight night, the Hawks had to kill off a penalty 4-on-3 in overtime.
They survived it. And then they won it.
Brian Campbell gathered the puck along the boards and he is wont to do, he spotted his partner, Duncan Keith, wide open. Keith put a nice slap pass towards the net and Viktor Stalberg tipped it right past Jonas Hiller for the game-winner. The goal was Stalberg’s second in as many nights.
—Duncan Keith giveth and Duncan Keith taketh. After gift-wrapping the Ducks first goal by coughing up the puck in the slot, Keith’s pass in overtime is how Norris Trophy’s are won. Forgetting about the goof-up resulting in Anaheim’s first goal, Keith played one of his better games of the season. He gets going and so will the Hawks.
–Do you realize it’s been six games since the Hawks held a 2 goal lead? In four of those games, they also scored the first goal of the game. You’d think they could accidentally score the second goal one of these times.
–Pat Foley gave Jonathan Toews some tough love during the broadcast. Early in the first, Toews missed a chance to extend the Hawks lead when he tried passing the puck to Patrick Kane on a 3-on-2. The conversation moved towards Toews’ season and Foley said something along the lines of “You can keep saying look at how many chances he’s getting, but at some point, he has to produce.”
Whoa. Has Foley finally awoken from his two year slumber? Of course, after Keith’s mess up led to the first goal, Edzo came up with a full menu of excuses for Duncan Keith. Maybe we should’t start nominating them for Emmy’s just yet.
–Six goals and four assists for Viktor Stalberg thus far. I’m just going to go ahead and pat ourselves on the back for picking another fantasy breakout sleeper. In 19 games this season, Stalberg has almost matched his output from 40 games of play last year. I still don’t understand the logic of how a ‘1st line’ player like Stalberg can’t sniff power play time while ‘4th liner’ Troy Brouwer anchors the second unit, but I suppose in due time, this will correct itself.
–Speaking of the lines, the bottom two lines are still a horrific work in progress. The Hawks are essentially icing two number one lines and two fourth lines. Of their top six forwards, only Viktor Stalberg didn’t crack the 20 minute mark tonight. No one on their bottom six cracked the 12 minute mark.
I think a big reason for that is all the tight games the Hawks have been playing and Joel Quenneville doesn’t want to toss away points by getting too cute with certain match-ups. Assuming they rattle off some comfortable wins here soon, we’ll probably start to see the ice times not be so top heavy.
*On the Farm*
Rather than the traditional run-down of statistics from the weekend, here’s the biggest items to come out.
–Rockford continues to struggle mightily. They got swept in San Antonio on Thursday and Friday by scores of 1-0 and 3-2. The IceHogs are tied for last place in their division with the Chicago Wolves. Unlike when some of the current Blackhawks were cutting their teeth in the A and were one of the top teams in the league, the combination of shoddy goaltending and lousy veterans are too much.
So while the knee-jerk reaction may be to say the young prospects aren’t that great because their team is bad, it’s not a fair assessment just yet.
Also I’ve noticed some recent rumblings about calling up Kyle Beach. Maybe this might change your mind. No one outside of the Blackhawk organization has watched more IceHog hockey this season than Block. His pain brings us more knowledge and we thank him for that.
–1st Round pick Kevin Hayes sprained his knee at practice this weekend and is expected to be out for the next 3 to 4 weeks. That’s kind of a bummer.