After the Blue Jackets came out of a first period with 14 shots on goal and nothing behind Marty Turco, it became evident they were going to need some serious luck or the Hawks to fall asleep at the wheel for them to gain any points. They got neither and the game wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate.
The Hawks controlled the pace after the first period and never gave the Jackets a legitimate chance to claw their way back into the game. This was quite different from the last time Columbus visited the United Center as the Hawks coughed up a 2-0 lead with just over 21 minutes left to play.
Marian Hossa brilliantly set up the Hawks first goal when he drew seemingly every Blue Jacket on the ice towards him and fed Tomas Kopecky who couldn’t do anything but hit the back of the net.
In the first minute of the third, Patrick Sharp finished off a nicely executed face-off set play and that was all the Hawks would need in this one. Dave Bolland potted his fifth of the year at the end of a power play ten minutes later on a tic-tac-toe passing play set up by Bryan Bickell and Troy Brouwer. Sharp scored his second goal on the night 37 seconds later after Brouwer fed him with another sweet dish. It was Sharp’s 20th of the season.
The four goals were more than enough. Only Marty Turco’s shutout was all that was in question. After a needless Bolland penalty put the Hawks short-handed with just under four minutes left, Derek Brassard ended the suspense when he ripped a wrist shot past Turco.
Two more points is all that really matters, though.
—On Columbus’ only goal, Patrick Sharp should have probably been more concerned with just dumping the puck. Instead, Sharp tried to make a cute little pass to Fernando Pisani. The puck was deflected by an aggressive forechecker, went down into the corner where Sharp lost his stick in a board battle, came out to Brassard, and Turco’s shutout bid was ruined.
Just a simple little ‘knock the snot out of the puck to the other end’ would’ve probably have given Turco a much deserved shutout.
–Say it with me everyone, having two goalies playing well is a good thing. You’d think after all we’ve lived through these last two seasons would teach everyone it doesn’t take just one goalie to move a mountain.
The Hawks, as a team, played much better in front of Turco than his last outing in Colorado. Turco also made some pretty nifty saves in the first period when the outcome was still very much in doubt.
–Marian Hossa was credited with two assists, but his first is what people should expect out of him on a game-to-game basis. He controlled every facet of that scoring play; manipulating the play until his number one option, Kopecky, was open. That’s what he should bring every game assuming he remains healthy.
Either way with him and Viktor Stalberg back, the Hawks are a much better team than they were yesterday.
–Another assist for Jassen Cullimore gives him 7 on the season. One more point for him and he’ll have the fourth highest point output in his 15-year career. Just for comparison’s sake, in his first go-around with the Hawks, Cullimore had 7 points in 54 games in 2005-2006 and 7 points in 65 games in 2006-2007. Not bad for a guy who hasn’t played in the NHL in a couple years.