Blackhawks 6, Flames 4

At some point this season, the Hawks will be able to comfortably win a game.  So long as they keep winning, though, it shouldn’t really matter how they do it.  In Minnesota, the Hawks were let down by a couple defensive miscues.  Tonight, Corey Crawford helped leave the door open with a couple of questionable goals in the final frame. 

Calgary’s fourth and final goal was aided and abetted by Crawford taking a hellacious angle on Jarome Iginla’s shot from the right wall.  Crawford doubled his problems when he kicked out a giant rebound to Rene Bourque who was more than happy to score his second goal of the game.  Just like that, a fairly comfortable 5-3 lead with less than five minutes left became another nail-biter. 

If it weren’t a brilliant defensive play by Brent Seabrook a minute later when he tied up Alex Tanguay with a wide open cage staring back at him, the game very likely would have gone to overtime.  That was Calgary’s best shot to tie it and the Hawks actually had a good handle for the final two minutes of the game.  Marian Hossa’s empty-netter finished off any overtime opportunities.

Thoughts  

–The ‘Jonathan Toews for Hart Trophy’ drums are starting to beat louder and louder.  He still has a bit of ground to make up on frontrunners like Steven Stamkos, but if he keeps up this pace there’s no reason he can’t be a finalist.  With two more goals tonight, Toews is playing the best regular season hockey of his career.  I certainly can’t remember a Blackhawk playing more dominant hockey for this long in my life. 

–Michael Frolik finally got off the schnide with a goal and two assists.  His first goal as a Hawk came from him crashing the net and picking a puck out of Jake Dowell’s skate.  His shooting percentage had dipped all the way to 4% before tonight’s game. 

With his previous track record, it’s the equivalent of a career .300 hitter in baseball having a season where he hits .230 because his BABIP is below .200.  Unfortunately, there’s no hockey sabermetric stat that measures bad luck. 

Perhaps Frolik said it best, “Puck go in, I feel good.”

–Dave Bolland is really a force to be reckoned with on the power play when he gets the puck along the goal line.  That was some kind of pass he made to Brian Campbell for the Hawks third goal.  With a chance to just fire the puck towards the front of the net or force a pass towards the middle, Bolland calmly waited for the passing lane to open up.  It did and Campbell didn’t miss.

–If Ryan Johnson could stay on his feet for more than five seconds at a time, he might be pretty productive.  It’s too bad his skates have two outside edges.  

–I would be stunned if Marty Turco doesn’t get a start this weekend.  Crawford is starting to slow down a little bit and with two games against lesser Eastern Conference opponents, it would be a good time to give him a blow. 

–Pat Foley still has no idea Henrik Karlsson has taken over for Mikka Kiprusoff.

–No one said professional hockey players moonlight as brain surgeons.  In the second period, Corey Sarich attempted an ankle tackle on Jonathan Toews to prevent a 2-on-1 that would make Charles Woodson proud.  Of course, a big reason why you don’t see other guys try to do that is because they enjoy having skin attached to their face.  Sarich was incredibly lucky not to have a serious facial laceration as the blade of Toews’ skate brushed across his face.

–Let me stop anyone from saying the Hawks lack a ‘killer instinct’.  First of all, I hate that phrase.  Second of all, it’s just another way of saying “I have no idea why my team struggles at important points of the game.”  

The last two games, the Hawks have been victimized by slow starts to their third period.  Allowing a goal in the opening two minutes completely changed the complexion of the period.  Instead of being able to play comfortably with the lead and getting their legs into the flow, they’re left scrambling from the start.       

It cuts both ways too.  Teams with playoff aspirations aren’t just going to roll over and die because they’re down a few goals.  

I suppose this is much ado about nothing anyways.  In both games with the lead, the Hawks ended up winning so it doesn’t really matter.  The best way to prevent the game getting too close is a strong opening five minutes of the period.  That’s it.

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10 Responses to Blackhawks 6, Flames 4

  1. ArlingtonRob says:

    John,

    Please don’t call them “lesser” eastern conference opponents. Both Carolina and Toronto are in the hunt and will likely present solid challenges for a Hawks team that has had trouble finishing. Example, the Wild were destroyed on the road tonight by a “lesser” opponent…the Islanders.

    One game at a time, build on the positives and clean up the third period problems.

    Rob

  2. Big Tony says:

    To me, one sign that the Hawks are headed in the right direction was the Bolland goal. Two weeks ago, they had no prayer of scoring a goal to recapture the momentum. Last night, they seemed fired up after Calgary cut it to 4-3. That was nice to see.

    Oh yeah, Rene Bourque still sucks.

  3. dominator says:

    I thought the ice looked kind of crappy last night, seemed like a lot of players were falling down or not skating very smoothly…I think the ice was still recovering from the Lady Gaga concert.

  4. I have said it before and I’ll say it again.

    I think that if/when Frolik learns/fits in with the Hawks system he may/will become a fan favorite.

    I think that Bowman did well with this move.

  5. Marts says:

    You should here the airways up here today with people complaining about the Brouwer hit on Hagman, and the Seabrook push on Giordano. Worst of all was the Brouwer “interference” that “flattened” Kipper for Campbells PP goal. Having to watch that game on regional Sportsnet West made me want to kill someone. I know some of you complain about Foley and Edzo but you have absolutely no idea what it’s like to live in a city where everyone is entirely delusional about their team. People here are functionaly retarded and the way they see a game is so distorted from reality it’s not even comical any more. Rant over…

    Good win. Makes coming to work easier today.

  6. John says:

    So I take it they didn’t think Tom Kostopoulos sticking his foot out on Kane at center ice wasn’t sewer dirty?

  7. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Good game, and a solid win. I was thinking the same thing as Edzo after Calgary goal. Now might be a good time for a time out. But a win is a win and a reg win is huge. So the next 5 are all against East foes. If the Hawks secure pts in the next few games they should be in very solid shape towards securing a playoff spot

  8. Otter says:

    Brouwer was cross checked in the back on Campbell’s goal… how is that goal even a debate in Alberta?

    On the Flames 4th goal, I think there is a LOT of blame to go around. It was like the Hawks had never seen a set play in their lives and you covered Crawford’s play there.

    Considering that Sid’s injury opened up the Hart race, it also happened too ‘early’ for any Toews talk imo. I don’t think there is a ton of catching up for Toews to do, but the Hawks have been a disappointment this year, and I find it hard to believe that the Canadian press is going to jump on any Blackhawks’ bandwagon unless they end the season on like a 20-1-3 run and catch the Wings. Which isn’t happening. If Sid went out three weeks ago, nicely correlated with the Hawks play of late and Toews’ too, then yeah, he’d have a shot. But I just think it’s ‘too little, too late’ (which of course isn’t that case but whatever, awards are weird). Toews is clearly underrated by the hockey press… he’ll never have the point and goal totals of Sid, Ovie and Stamkos; but those guys weren’t the best player in the Olympics last year nor did they lead their team to the Cup last year… but of course we HAVE to talk about those three (and Kaner’s drinking!!!!!) before we even think about Toews. Then again, Yzerman never won the Hart, so there you go.

  9. CT says:

    The Hart Trophy? Bah. Now, if Tazer wants to get hisself another Conn Smythe…

  10. Marts says:

    @ John – Is that what happened to Kane? I saw him sprawled out on the ice (basically on the face-off dot) and thought “WTF”? Only words that came out of Loubardias’ mouth (PBP man) were something to the effect of, “and Kane is down on his way to the bench”. It wasn’t followed up in any capacity. They also stated that Toews threw an elbow at Kipper on his goalie interference call right after Sharp missed a sure-thing for a 2-0 lead. Really? On that specific play I was actually watching a garbled feed hosted from some Russian website as NHL exclusivity rights prevented the game from being telecasted until 7:30 MST (read Leafs/Pens coverage fuct things up on regional western coverage if that makes any sense).

    @ Otter – you’re preaching too the choir dude. Only people in my immediate vicinity that saw the same thing as you were the Oiler fans. That play got 1 partial replay after the PBP and colour guys made the point that Brouwer was interfering and nothing on post-game coverage or sports wrap stuff either. It’s unreal. It’s like they think that if the Flames start losing the price of oil is going to drop south of $50 a barrel and nobody will show up for Stampede or something… Crazy.

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