Blackhawks 2, Kings 1

I’m no mathematician, but if “two out of three ain’t bad,” you could do worse than eight out of 12.  With the win on Saturday night in Los Angeles, the Hawks closed out their annual “circus trip” with a mark of 4-2, taking eight out of 12 possible points and once again setting themselves up to use the trip as a springboard.

Patricks Sharp and Kane each had a goal and an assist, with the first Hawk goal coming off a nifty two-on-one feed from Kane to Sharp in the second.

Corey Crawford, who played in back-to-back games for the second time this year, stopped 21 of 22 shots, including a few tough stops late.  Anze Kopitar scored in the game’s final minutes to cut the lead in half.

I Know You Want It

– We’ve said a lot about John Scott on this site since he became a Blackhawk this past summer – mainly that he’s too slow to add much to this group – but Scott got back into the line-up last night due to Fernando Pisani’s injury (three words I wouldn’t mind getting used to hearing together).  Scott was challenged shortly after Sharp’s goal in the second by Kevin Westgarth, and Scott absolutely pummeled him.  Scott got a few shots in early, as Westgarth struggled to reach Scott.  Then, Scott palmed Westgarth’s head like a basketball, removing Westgarth’s helmet for the finishing shot.  As Westwarth squirmed, the two switched spots, with Westgarth becoming the combatant against the boards.  With Westgarth’s right side against the glass, Scott’s last punch got Westgarth square in the face, knocking his head back against the glass like a pinball.  The refs jumped in, and the bloody Westgarth was ushered by the linesman to the dressing room.

Aside from the nasty beating, which I actually found difficult to watch on the replay, the fight served as an example of a few unique things that make hockey one of the greatest ideas in the history of humanity.  With the Kings down a goal midway through the second, Westgarth knows his role; he’s not going to even the score with his stick, but he can swing the momentum.  Westgarth goes to the biggest player on the ice – 6’7″ Scott – and challenges him.  Scott absolutely manhandles Westgarth for about 20 seconds, cutting him early in the fight and delivering a finishing blow late.  Westgarth didn’t go down; he took his beating like a man, and was able to give Scott the “Thanks for Obliging” tap standing up – even though he looked like Sean Penn’s character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High after a terrible logging accident.

– The Hawks held the Kings to 22 shots, but their play in the defensive zone – although better – continues to be an issue.  As they’re able to break the puck out more cleanly, they’ll win more consistently.  As for now, I see too many passes that are wrapped around the boards from the defensemen.

– Duncan Keith is really starting to turn his season around.  He looked like the Norris Trophy winner last night and got an assist for his effort.  On the other side, it looked as though Drew Doughty wanted to make a statement against last year’s winner, but ending up sitting next to Jonathan Quick in the Kings net after his man scored on a two-on-one wasn’t so great.  Not to be confused with Kevin Westgarth, Doughty spent most of the evening trying to light up the smallest of the Hawk forwards.

– Patrick Sharp: 15 goals and 27 points in 25 games.  He’s improved his +/- now to -6.

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9 Responses to Blackhawks 2, Kings 1

  1. Big Tony says:

    I bet Lee went thru at least 7 Wet-Naps after that fight. Hell, I went thru 3 myself.

    This stretch of 9 of 12 at home coming up is gonna be key. We’d best take advantage of it as we pissed away a similar stretch earlier. We can’t afford to do the same thing. I’d love to see Crawford get more ice time…he’s earned it.

  2. Lee says:

    Big Tony: You are so right, but it wasn’t Wet-Naps, i immediately got my bottle of Ketel One for a toast to Big John Scott, MY MAN!!!!

  3. Lou says:

    Westgarth is Bill Cowher’s son in law. I guess Scott won’t be on the recruiting team for that. He still has little to no valuable role on this team and with 7:10 in ice time and 5:00 in the box, he adds little besides pugilism and creates extra shifts while he sits in the box if we want to roll 4. Why Skille only played 7:39 is baffling.

    Crawford is a nice young goalie. He needs to keep playing more and more. Like the kid and maybe we have something there. I still wonder if he wasn’t in the A for the year last year for a reason. A deliberate move on StanBow’s part following the Bowman system. I think Niemi got going behind a good D. Now we got what looks like better goaltending behind an improving D. Right now, I like Crawford and his game a whole lot better than Niemi.

    Exelby is now signed by the Hawks so it makes you wonder if the Cullimore, Hendry, Boynton experiment is going to change.

    How about that Toews fiestienss against a tough guy in Dustin Brown?

    Gee, someone has nothing to say when we have a successful road trip. Maybe that pervasive sky is falling crap is over.

  4. Lou says:

    Lee, hope you drank the whole bottle. He may not see the ice for a month after Tuesday.

  5. AC says:

    I really think the passing has improved on this trip. It finally seems like the passes are going tape to tape, not being kicked to the stick or settled down on the blade. If they can keep some crisp passing, which comes with experience together, it will make all the difference offensively and defensively.

    BTW, I was one of the first to bash Dowell being on the big team, but wow was I wrong. He’s playing more like the old Dave Bolland than Dave Bolland is. He is killing penalties, staying in position and winning faceoffs. Great job Dowell.

  6. Marts says:

    The guys are working hard and smart right now which is key. Is it just me or has there been more line continuity out there recently? I think that work ethic comes through a bit more when guys know their role/linemates. Maybe Q is settling into something here.

  7. nick says:

    Great win against a very good hockey team. That effort looked like last year’s Hawks. Absolutely love the way Crawford battles in net and the only thing he let in was a PP goal through a perfect screen from Ryan Smyth. Great effort and can’t wait to see more of this at home.

  8. Francis Roberts says:

    Good comments by all. I thought Keith and Hammer are both picking their level of play the last few games as they are paired up with their old partners. Sharp is on fire again, and Hoss has a nice jump in his step as he looks more like his old self. I think the reason Skille is not getting more minutes is that with Scott in the lineup, Q really can’t roll four lines. The 4th line plays much more of a spot role.

    Agree with AC’s comment on Dowell: he has been nothing but solid. He is a tough guy, defends well and makes plays in the offensive zone. Keep this up!

    Now let’s see if the team can turn the corner in terms of consistency. St. Louis will be a good test.

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