Two is Better Than One: Blackhawks 3, Ducks 2 (SO)

Boy, good thing the Hawks spent all that extra time practicing on the shootout.  What were the odds that two players with close to a 50% career success rate in the shootout were eventually going to find the back of the net?  Forget all those fancy numbers and a proven track record; it was all about practicing their craft.

–After Jonas Hiller and the Ducks were embarassed by the brutal Phoenix Coyotes in their last game, there was about a 98% chance the Ducks were going to give their finest effort.  Hiller was his usual outstanding self against the Hawks and the Ducks played well enough in front of him to earn a point.  Perhaps the biggest upset of the night was that Teemu Selanne only has 28 career goals against the Hawks.  I could have sworn he had that many against them before the Jets moved out of Winnipeg the first time.

–Hiller saved his best saves for the last frame and overtime.  Michael Frolik had a clear breakaway halfway through the third.  Marian Hossa drilled the post and was stuffed on a breakaway of his own.  Just like has become tradition, Hiller made the stops he had to.  Vertigo or not, he’s still going to stop 94% of the shots he faces whenever he plays the Hawks.

–It was only a matter of time until Patrick Kane showed up on the scoresheet.  Just like it was only a matter of time before his spin-o-rama move led to a goal.  Whenever they put together a Patrick Kane highlight reel, that goal will be on there.  What won’t be on there is the 100 times he tried that move and it didn’t lead to any goals.

His second assist came when Joel Quenneville threw him out for a shift with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.  It was a great move by Quenneville to get the equalizer.  It begs the question, though, how long the Hawks will wait until they start to seriously tinker with their top line right winger.  Andrew Brunette has ‘perpetual Joel Quenneville line bouncer’ written all over him.  Viktor Stalberg, been there, done that.  Rusty Olesz is merely a rumor.  Ben Smith is too busy grinding away in Rockford and he’s not a realistic long term option anyway.

So while everyone thought second line center was the big question mark heading into the season, it appears it might be another spot where the Hawks seem a little short right now.

–Who knew that Dan Carcillo had such vision?  Carcillo sprung Kane and Hossa on multiple occasions with nifty little touch passes near the Ducks blue line.  Carcillo also opened the passing lane for Kane to find Hossa by driving the net on the Hawks first goal.  Save for the last game when he was mostly invisible, Carcillo has had about as good of a start to the season as anyone could have realistically imagined.

And on a night when the Hawks committed six penalties, he had none.

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9 Responses to Two is Better Than One: Blackhawks 3, Ducks 2 (SO)

  1. Grünfeld says:

    Good summary of the game, John.

    Kane’s spin-o-rama was pass all the way and all the sweeter for it.

    Hiller was outstanding but I don’t think he really had to do much on Frolik’s breakaway. Frolik got in too tight and really didn’t get much of a shot off. Nifty move to get there, though.

  2. nick says:

    No love for Seabs? The man was an absolute beast crushing those foolish enough to oppose him. That guy is one of the most underrated passers in the game.

  3. BobbyJet says:

    Carcillo has definitely been the surprise of the season for me. He (along with Leddy) leads the team in +5 and with only 2 PIM, while playing smart, gritty hockey. Mayers is not far behind, as far as the newcomers go. I really like what he brings to the Hawks and I am warming to Montador as well. He and SODO are a steady bottom pairing.
    The Hawks certainly aren’t perfect and I’d like to see more of our chances buried but in a short time the team seems to be coming together quite nicely. Stan certainly is smelling rosy right about now. Knock on wood.

  4. This game was the first time I really could see the difference in the post-B.Campbell ‘Hawks clearly, though it has been there from the get-go. The puck-possession game is just not there when our D are not first to the puck and can have time to skate or pass. Instead, we struggle to get out of the corners and are rarely ‘dangerous’ coming out of our own zone with speed that has left one or two of the opposition in chase mode. Also, you can see it in how many times we just dump the puck in before a change, where often B. Campbell would skate it back in his own zone, often all the way behind his own net whil his mates changed. In other words, WE HAD THE PUCK. Duncan Keith also use to be great at this, but the opposition generally dumps the puck into Leddy’s corner and though Duncs is still on the ice a whole bunch, his time actually skating with the puck is way down. The puck control game is enhanced by skaters who feel comfortable skating with the puck and have speed to move into open ice quickly to receive passes. It occurred to me that the guys who were replaced from the Cup winner who had some sandpaper and size were also generally fast skaters and did not mind having the puck on their stick. Ladd, Buff, Versteeg, and others from that team were much faster than let’s say Bickell and Brunett who skate on top three lines. Point is, the “overall Team” game as Q calls it does not feature as much overall speed or puck possession. There was a reason Brian Campbell was a +28 last year. This is not my comment on the trade of Campbell which I believe was neccessary, but rather a comment on the impact of the element which we are missing because of that trade.

    Just one final thought. MIchael Frolik end Dave Bolland have shown up for every game. There have been a couple of games that I wasn’t sure Bickell even came over the boards with his linemates for some shifts. How does a guy that big sometimes dissapear?

  5. Marts says:

    @ Ed Liesenfelt

    When you mention that Keith used to log the puck and was great at it but now the opposition just dumps it into Leddy’s corner I couldn’t agree more… which is why it’s a necessity to pair Keith with a physically imposing d-man (e.g. Seabrook).

    This is what happens in a forward/forecheckers mind:

    The opposition looks up, sees two defensemen, sees two corners, remembers the game plan is – not give it to Keith because he’ll just make one quick move and leave you in his wake – and says, “Fuck it, I’m not putting it into Seabrook’s corner because I’m sick of getting run over every shift”. The puck goes to Keith, the forechecking coverage is blown open a bit, and the breakout is done in a matter of seconds.

    Leddy/Keith is vexxing. The only rumour/thought I’ve heard that make’s any sense at all is that Leddy is playing with Keith as a sort of, “Trial by Fire,” which will better prepare him to play with Hjammer. Maybe…

  6. I agree two “IS” better than one, and it’s about time. But I would rather see them finish the game off during regulation rather than hoping they can pull it off during OT or the SO.

  7. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Am I the only one that starting to see the Seabs/Hammer D-pairing as stronger then the Keith/Leddy pair? I thought it was pretty obivious against a team like Ana which has 1 line that Seabs/Hammer were clearly the prefered pair vs Keith/Leddy.

  8. Patrick says:

    Seabs/Hammer are the “shut down D pair” and Keith/Leddy are the “offensive pair” – different concept by Q this year and they serve different purposes

  9. BobbyJet says:

    Many Hawks fans have called for Seabs and Keith to be reunited (myself included) but I must admit that if Q utilizes those defence pairings appropriately it could prove to be very effective against all but the most physical of teams. The tandem of Hammer and Seabs is pretty solid defensively, no doubt about that.
    Having said that, I still have my doubts about this strategy, especially in post season play when the intensity is turned up. Keith and Leddy are so similar in their style of play but with it comes their lack of physical play. Teams will try and exploit that. It is for this reason that I hope Q changes this strategy against the more physical teams and perhaps permanently as the playoffs approach. Maybe in Q’s mind he thinks – If Leddy’s game keeps improving at this pace his apprenticeship with Keith as his partner may be necessary for only a few months … and they can always be re-united at any given time during the season when some extra offence is needed. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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