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.