Blackhawks 7, Blue Jackets 4

As has been the case the last few times the Blackhawks have visited Columbus, defensive responsibility went by the wayside and both teams took turns giving the opposition golden opportunities.

As has been the case their last few meetings in Columbus, the Blackhawks also came out on top.  The Jackets simply don’t have the firepower to trade chances with the Hawks – they certainly don’t have anyone better than Jonathan Toews- and it was no different this time.  Even with Columbus staked to a 3-2 lead early in the 2nd period, Toews took over.

Viktor Stalberg catapulted a 3-on-2 and left a drop pass to Toews as he entered the offensive zone.  Toews drew both Jacket defensemen to him and slid a back-hand pass to a wide open Stalberg on the doorstep to tie the game.  Eight minutes later, Toews stripped a Jacket defenseman naked and fed a streaking Patrick Kane who buried a one-timer through Steve Mason.  For his encore, Toews outworked one Jacket for a loose puck, then in one motion, made a toe-drag past another Jacket to spring himself on a breakaway.  He fired his patented five-hole blast to give the Hawks all the cushion they would need.

Even in a third period where Marty Turco saw more shots than he needed, the Jackets never really threatened.  Dave Bolland’s goal pretty much sealed the much needed two points.

Thoughts  

For as dispensable as Nick Boynton is, he’s equally indestructible.  Boynton helped put the Jackets in front with a 3-2 lead when he screened Marty Turco beautifully and took the puck right off his mouth.  While most players would need medical attention, Boynton didn’t miss a shift.  Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

–Viktor Stalberg scored his second goal since November 14th.  It would be really nice if he’d find the back of the net with a little more regularity.  I thought a really timely moment came right after he scored the equalising goal and Joel Quenneville rewarded Stalberg and Skille with a shift with Toews.  Toews sprung Stalberg on a 3-on-2 but he was unable to convert on a golden opportunity.

On Toews’ next shift, he set up Patrick Kane with a solid scoring chance, and Kane buried it.  It’s kind of unfair to compare Stalberg to a former 1st overall pick, but that’s the biggest difference between a legit 1st line winger and a guy. 

–It’s probably been forgotten by now, but Marty Turco made his biggest save of the game with the score tied 3-3.  Jakob Voracek got out of the penalty box and had a clear breakaway.  Against one of Columbus’ few skill guys, Turco stood his ground and made a real solid save to keep the score even.

–Brent Seabrook was a monster.  He left a trail of bodies not seen this side of Liberia.   He assisted on both of the Hawks short-handed goals (though Hossa’s was an empty net) but still ended up an even 0.  It didn’t hurt that Duncan Keith was buzzing around all over the ice and finally found the back of the net again.  The goal was his first since January 19th.  It goes without saying, a great 2nd half from them, hell even a good one, and the Hawks will have home-ice advantage in the first round.

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6 Responses to Blackhawks 7, Blue Jackets 4

  1. feyer says:

    That was a real good game for Toews. I agree with your assessment that Duncs and Seabs can take this team to the next level with a good second half, and I would add Johnie into the mix as well.

  2. Marts says:

    As long as the big boys perform we’ll be in good shape. I continue to believe the following two things:

    Hendry > Boynton
    Quenville = crazy as fcuk for thinking otherwise

    I read somewhere that Quenville commented he wanted to get Boynton some ice time as he had been game-inactive for a while (I think it was regarding the game before the all-star break). Here’s a tip. Boynton is capable of playing “his game” completely cold. As in, roll out-of-bed-and-lace-them-up-in-five-minutes cold. He doesn’t need anymore ice time.

  3. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I started the year thinking this team was a top 4 club in the west, lets hope I am correct when all the dust settles. A good road trip will put this team in a good position. I have noticed something interesting in the Hawks schedule. They haven’t played alot of Eastern teams so far, if they can cash in against the weaker East they should be able to rack up some serious standings points down the stretch.

  4. Marts says:

    I would tend to agree with your “rack up points against the East” sentiment SouthSideHawkMan. Having said that, we did a nice job pissing away 6 points against the Oilers (2 occasions) and Devils (1 occasion) this year. Inexcusable IMO. We’d be sitting pretty tight with 64 from 51 games if that were the case. The Devils were atrocious when we caught them so that one really baffles me and unfortunately we seemed to catch the Oil when they were playing their most inspired hockey of the season. Woulda-shoulda-coulda gets you know where I guess, but I am noticing that this years version tends to play at their opponents level far too often… rarely taking command of a game.

  5. Marts says:

    Turco with the start tonight. Let’s hope he channels some of that 1st round mastery against the Canucks he had a few years back with Dallas (something like 3 shutouts in a 1st round loss…).

  6. Cam says:

    Patrick Roy wouldn’t have helped tonite with that officiating.

    Remember that ref-enhanced loss if the Hawks miss the playoffs by fewer than 3 points.

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