Blackhawks 5, Stars 3

Style points don’t count for much these days. 

With two of their best players out for an extended period, taking two unshared points from any Western Conference opponent has to be considered a success for the Hawks no matter what it looks like. 

For the first twenty-five minutes of the game, it didn’t look it would be much of a struggle.  Bryan Bickell scored his second goal in as many games from nearly the exact same spot.  This time, Bickell snapped a real quick snap shot and it beat Andrew Raycroft to the glove side. 

Ten minutes later, Jonathan Toews came into the zone, pulled a nifty stop and go to create some space from the Dallas defenseman and sent the puck towards the net.  With Jack Skille crashing the net and Stephane Robidas pushing him right into his goalie, Raycroft had no chance of stopping the shot.

In the second period, Jeremy Morin notched his first career goal.  The play started with Dallas sending three of their four players into the Hawks end.  The puck kicked out of the zone to Dave Bolland who spearheaded a 3-on-1 the other way.  Bickell drove the net and Bolland fed a perfect pass to Morin who sniped it right past Raycroft.

The Stars scored twenty seconds later when Corey Crawford couldn’t cover a loose puck and James Neal happily pushed it past him.

Just twenty-five seconds after that, the Hawks once again capitalized on an overzealous Stars forecheck.  Dave Bolland pushed the puck past a flat-footed Brendan Morrow and led a 2-on-1 with Troy Brouwer.  Bolland once again gave a pretty feed to Brouwer who made a simple back-hand move to bury the puck into the wide-open net.

The Stars waited for the loose soil to be thrown over the top of them after that.  They took two horrendously bad penalties but the Hawks couldn’t complete two passes in a row, let alone get a shot towards the net. 

From there, the Hawks sloppiness carried over into their even-strength play and the Stars happily accepted their invitation back into the game.  Brandon Segal struck first with a seeing-eye shot that snuck through about eight guys.  Then a minute later, Loui Eriksson finished off a tick-tack-toe passing play to cut the lead to one.

In the third period, the Stars had a couple of opportunities but Crawford was there every time.  After the Hawks killed off a too many men penalty three and a half minutes in, the Stars never really threatened again.  The Hawks, for lack of a better word, took the air out of the ball by forcing Dallas to go the entire 200 feet.  If it wasn’t for Brent Seabrook blowing a tire in the final 30 seconds, Dallas would have never even been close to getting an opportunity for the equalizer.

Thoughts

This was a huge win for the Hawks especially when you consider they didn’t have to split any of the points.  The Hawks go on the road for the next two games against tough opponents in San Jose and Colorado.  They needed to get the two points from this one so they weren’t in a must-win situation this weekend. 

–For as bad as the Hawks power play was, their play in the last 15 minutes of the third almost made up for it.  They were as good defensively as they have been all year.  Jonathan Toews was playing at a maniacal pace in the defensive zone and neutral zone all game but in the third, he was at his best.  As a team, they kept it incredibly simple by chipping pucks deep, making sure they always kept a forward high in the slot, and never left their defensemen out to dry. 

The only two mistakes they made were when Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell fired two blind passes that sprung the Stars on a breakout.  Other than that, it was a nearly flawless third period.

–That was as good as Toews has been all year.  He was active all over the ice.  Another goal and an assist to go along with all-around superior play.

–Was Brendan Morrow even out on the ice tonight?  The only time I noticed him was when Dave Bolland walked right around him enroute to the Hawks fourth goal and when Jake Dowell planted him into the boards. 

–4 points in two games for Dave Bolland?  Be still my heart. 

–I did find it curious that late in the third period with the Hawks on the power play and nursing the one-goal lead, Nick Boynton was manning the point on the second power play unit.  How man-advantage challenged is Niklas Hjalmarsson if he can’t even sniff a second of power play time but Boynton can?  Curious.

–Viktor Stalberg sat the final 23 minutes of the game.  Apparently, he committed some kind of war crime on Dallas’ third goal.  

–A few people have asked me about this so I’ll set the record straight.  On the Boers and Bernstein Show today, they were discussing the Blackhawks and someone named John emailed the show.  He said he blogs about the team and went on to explain why there is a lack of buzz surrounding the team.  Anyways, that wasn’t me but you better believe the Fifth Feather legal team will look into just how there’s another John blogging about the Blackhawks without our hand-written permission.

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14 Responses to Blackhawks 5, Stars 3

  1. ArlingtonRob says:

    Didn’t see the third period, but Les Grobstein said that Marc Crawford went nutz after the game. He was pissed at the refs for NOT awarding a penalty shot after Seabrook “threw” his stick at a puck handler. Haven’t seen the replay so was hoping someone would comment.

  2. alpo says:

    Crawford was right to be mad but he was also mad about the large differential in penalties. Unfortunately for him, all of Dallas’ penalties were blatant and deserved and there isn’t a rule stating the penalties but even out by the end of the game. Anyways, great win last night. Welcome back Dave Bolland! He discovered this weird thing called offense. Getting the Bolland, Bickell and Brouwer line productive the next couple weeks will definitely help mitigate the absence of Hossa and Kane.

  3. alpo says:

    Edit:”there isn’t a rule stating the penalties must even out by the end of the game.”

  4. G8K33P3R says:

    Was it maybe a John Q Public?

    Did anyone hear Eddie call Corey Crawford Mark?

  5. AC says:

    In fairness (I know, what am I thinking), Crawford is right about the Seabrook stick throwing. Seabs really dodged a bullet, since he blatantly threw the stick and should’ve been called. Fortunately, he sold the spinning fall well enough that he forced the appearance of being out of control. However, it looked pretty obvious in slow motion.

    Nice 2 points, best game by Bolland all year. Brouwer looked good too, they really need Brouwer to step up over the next few weeks.

  6. Otter says:

    Hawks did catch a break on Seabs throwing his stick. And I thought the Toews goal was questionable.

    I know it’s only been two games, but are we all ready to live in a world where the Bolland, Bickell and Brouwer line is productive? I still think the Hawks can do better than Bickell.

    Not Hawk related, but um, has anyone seen what Sid is doing in Pittsburgh? I know the hockey universe is pretty tuned into it, and I’m sure there are daily orgies in Canada about his streak/season, but seems like he’s got a shot at 70 goals… which would be the best thing to happen to the NHL since, I don’t know, the Rangers winning the Cup right?

  7. Francis Roberts says:

    Good win by the Hawks. I am afraid that winning ugly is going to be the mantra for the next few weeks. That said, the first 30 minutes last night was terrific hockey by the team. Bolland/Brouwer/Bickell were great (more!). The last half of the 2nd period shows why this team now has a smaller margin for error. They simply can’t let up, and they need to bury a few of those PP opportunities. The PP is one area where they obviously really miss Kaner. Here is my wacho idea: put Soupy in the first unit PP, but play him at forward in Kane’s postion along the half board. Soup is arguably the best passer on the team after Kane, is a great skater, and has a sneaky shot to boot. Let Hammer and Keith pair up on the 2nd unit.

  8. Patrick says:

    Good game for Morin and glad he got his first goal, but once Hossa’s back, I think he should go to the World Juniors and the Hawks shouldn’t blow a contract year off of his rookie deal. Thoughts?

  9. brianc400 says:

    A couple of those breakaway goals were pretty, but I thought the play of the game was in the first when Toews turned over the puck on a bad pass back to the blue line in their zone and headed the other way. In a way only Toews can, he had a true “fuck that, MY puck!” moment and steamed right back in to recover the puck from three Stars. Fabulous, and I couldn’t stop talking about it in the period break. It was clear to me that Toews intends to carry the team on his back these next few weeks.

  10. Dave Morris says:

    According to the stalwart souls at 2ndCityHawkey, Captain Jonny was seen to be shouting “Finish them f*cking off” when his mates started to slack off allowing Las Estrellas de Dallas back into the match.

    Having vanquished (albeit in nailbiting fashion) the leaders of the Pac Div, and finally figuring out how to be victorious on home soil, there is now no reasonable doubt that Les Hawques have the talent to win without the BossHoss and Crazy88 (and have we forgotten Fearless Fernando?) in the lineup…for the time being.

    Therefore, Hawkey Nation *should* be encouraged.

  11. Marts says:

    Judging by this board I think I’m in the minority here, but I really don’t think Seabrook intended to throw his stick. Any of the feeds Fox Sports Dallas had (via Centre Ice) seemed to confirm that to me. I know that I’ve personally twisted and fallen in that same motion (trying to whip my stick around onto the puck carrier while flat-footed) and have totally lost my stick before. Elbow hits the ice and it’s a yard sale of stick and glove…

    Other than that, win is a win. Looking back, the high heart rate for the last 25 minutes was good – I missed the gym yesterday!

  12. Cam says:

    I’d put the Hawks’ chances of making the playoffs right now at about 25%.

  13. Big Tony says:

    Cam, I’d take that bet. 25% is WAY low.

  14. Cam says:

    I was thinking it might be high.

    The Hawks’ point percentage in near the bottom of the stacked West. They’re paying for all those 1-goal losses the first few weeks in which they either lead or were tied in the 3rd period.

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