The Blackhawks get the job done in Phoenix and pick up a vital 2 points.

The Blackhawks get the job done in Phoenix and pick up a vital 2 points.

A largely important game. Coming off an embarrassing loss, and given that Nashville won 2 games in a row, the 2 points this game offered were as important as they come. The Hawks showed how they felt about that by playing a great 1st period, and working hard throughout the game.

A great shift by the Toews' line early established the tempo and kept things rolling for a while. It took the Coyotes half of the period to get their first chance and shot on net. One of the biggest things I noticed early was how well Keith was looking. So much better than in prior games, and he would be the Hawks first goal scorer of the night. He would also log 30 minutes of ice-time. I little stat to show you how important it was for him to be better.

Yet, as good as the Hawks played in the first, they still went over 19 minutes without a goal. Hossa had a huge chance that ended with him trying to force a pass when he should have shot, and then Brouwer did the opposite later by shooting when he should have passed. The moral being that the Hawks were fumbling early chances.

Stalberg made a huge defensive play on the Hawk's blue-line and then carried the puck the distance leading to a beautiful centering pass on Johnson's stick who then fired a hard one-timer on Bryzgalov. One of many huge saves made by the Phoenix goaltender in the game. If he was not on fire tonight, the Hawks could have easily won this one 4-1.

It would be the Hawks who take the first penalty in a game where power-plays ended up being the deciding factor. The moment of truth I thought to myself. A chance to rebound from the other night and execute a great PK.

The Hawks do a great job killing, showing a lot of the things many of us have been complaining about, but give Phoenix their best chance up to that point seconds after the penalty expired. The Hawks would get their own PP not much later, but it came at the cost of Sharp's knee. He left the game never to return after a knee to knee collision. If serious, this could throw a giant wrench in the Hawk's hopes this year.

Already out Bolland, Campbell out, but hopefully soon to return, the Hawks can not replace a 34 goal scorer in the line-up. In the big picture, a bad moment for the Hawks. For this game, the Hawks score with 30 seconds left in the period after Keith had all day to fire a slap-shot from the face-off circles. The play was able to happen because of a great play by Hossa.

Hossa was a huge factor tonight. Playing over 24 minutes, his defensive skills led to how well the Hawks finished the game.
The 2nd period was a very different story. Phoenix came out much stronger knowing how important the points were. This caused the game to even out a bit and become a very tightly played game. No teams wanted to be the ones making the mistake. Phoenix starts playing some really simple hockey and just throws pucks at the net.

Crawford has to make some big saves as a result. Kane was bailed out big time by Crawford after making a needless pass up the middle right to an awaiting Coyote who promptly drove it to the net. Kane was not the only Hawk who got a bit sloppy in the 2nd. It seemed to become difficult for the Hawks to get in deep for a while. They did not get second chances on Bryzgalov because the Coyotes did such a good job keeping shots from the outside and protecting their slot area.

By throwing the puck on net, the break for Phoenix finally arrived when a puck with eyes seemed to find its way into the back of the net. An ugly goal, but a goal that tied the game late in the 2nd. 2 late period goals set the stage for an exciting 3rd period. I was looking to Hossa or Frolik to be the heroes due to their play all night.

Many close calls came off the blades of their sticks, and a few more would be in store for the 3rd. They both got early chances in the 3rd after Hossa made the right choice to fire on the net during a rush which Forlik almost followed with a rebound.

The play was knocked up a few notches which was in the Hawks favor and they really put on the pressure. That pressure would lead to a blatant interference on Johnson that went uncalled (I bring it up because of a later call). Toews almost got the go-ahead goal after a nice centering pass from Kane, and a few other missed chances came off the sticks of Hawk's players. Bryzgalov had to be even bigger than he was in the 1st. Stalberg and Kane almost find the game-winner, but again the Coyotes goaltender was there.
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Then the Hawks get a power-play with 8 minutes left. The call was a weak one, and should not have been, but as I mentioned above, the Coyotes got away with a few too. This call was in the Hawk's favor and I will take it, because Campoli would score his first Hawk's goal as a result.

A big goal at that, and it came off a well executed play that ended with Campoli sneaking in the back door. Something he has been doing a lot since joining the team, and something I hope to see more of. Could anyone really be happier with his play since the trade?

No way. He has been a lot of things, all good, and tonight he was the difference in a substantial way. Logging 22 minutes of ice and playing a large physical role. This goal would be the winner and it came at the hands of another power-play. 2 goals, 2 PP goals, and 2 from defensemen. There is your key to the game.

But this game was not over. Crawford would have to be a wall for the remaining minutes as Phoenix went into desperation mode. He made the save of the game after Seabrook shot the puck off of a Coyotes shin guard, resulting in a Phoenix rush. you need to get that puck in deep when protecting a lead like that.

No matter, Crawford was there, and on many occasions.  Nice to see him back to his solid play. He needed that win and so did the Hawks. They had to. They needed to get the job done and they did it down a player.

As a result, and of the weekend's games, the Hawks are now in 5th place tied with 2 other teams for points. Nashville and Los Angeles have that honor. Not much hockey for the Hawks this coming week. A good thing given their injury status, not so good given the standings.

They have to roll over the Panthers on Wednesday to redeem themselves and then fight it out with A Ducks team who wants a playoff spot. It is becoming quite clear that this year's playoff spots will be decided in the last games of the regular season.

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  • I've got my fingers crossed after this one. How bad,how long will Sharp be out? We wont know for a day or two,I would think. This could end up being another case of "won the battle but lost the war"(see '84 bears vs raiders).

  • Excellent, hard-skating effort last night, with Hossa and Frolik standing out with strong backchecking - and Stalberg had the jets on for the full 60. Bryz stood tall to even keep the Yotes in the game early. Crawford did his part as well and was huge in the final minutes. Great to see Campoli rewarded with the game-winner after the nice contribution he's given since coming in.

    Great point on the penalty situation HH. I saw that interference no-call as well and was shouting at Devorski through my TV (it didn't work). The holding penalty on Doan was definitely questionable, but we've certainly lived through a bunch of similar calls going against the Hawks this season. Finally one comes back to us.

    We'll have to see about Sharp... we definitely can't afford to lose a top-line player at this point in the season. You hate to see the speedy first line get broken up as well. Luckily the schedule offers a little time for healing right now. Temporarily stick Stalberg with Kane and Toews and that line gets even faster. They won without Sharp last night - they can do the same until he comes back. Dig deep. With or without him, they have no excuse to lose to Florida again.

  • I think from here on out, the Hawks are going to live or die with their speed. Early on, I was surprised to see the Yotes not challenging the D and not attempt to choke the life out of the game. I'd like to think it was because the Hawks were too fast, but after the Yotes scored, they did push the issue for awhile. I had to laugh at your description HH of Hossa and Brouwer because I thought the exact same thing. I was worried at first when the Hawks weren't scoring because surviving onslaughts and scoring annoying goals is the lifeblood of teams like the Yotes and the Preds. But the Hawks gave a full game effort and kept right on even after losing Sharp.

    There isn't too much to say, not that that ever stopped me. They can play like last night, and they can get their faces rubbed in it like they did in Dallas. They can beat top tier teams like the Sharks, and lose to the Panthers. That they could beat the Sharks like they did and come back and win like they did last night after the Dallas game to beat the Yotes is very encouraging. But nothing has really changed. If they can't string together some more wins and/or the other teams chasing create a bunch of three point games, they will be outside looking in.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    And that touches on a good point. It will be hard to beat this Hawks team in the playoffs consistently enough to win a series, regardless of which team it is. Honestly, I would fear Nashville the most.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    Nashville, yikes, me too. Spare me the Preds again. They were at it again yesterday. I dropped my spoon in my soup while watching that game. There I was comfortably watching the Sabres grind down the clock safe in the knowledge that the Preds were going to lose and then, 2 goals in the last two minutes and a quickie in OT. Didn't much feel like eating after that one.

    Don't get me wrong, I have utmost rerspect for the battle level the Preds bring just about every game. True warriors. Just take your ball and go and play with someone else this year, please.

  • The loss of Sharp is huge, no doubt about it, but Campbell is the key man out right now. I think the 'hawks can get through this by tightening things up and playing solid 5 man D with a strong back check and getting the pucks out of trouble with their speed. They still have enough scoring.

    Last night's game reminded me of that 4 game winning streak in December (Kane and Hossa out) in which they played, arguably their best hockey of the season. If they play like that they'll have a chance, injuries and all. Look for Pisani to get an elevated role from here on out.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Nice association, and yeah, I totally agree. Does this mean we see Morin again? Campbell should be back soon enough. The main concern is to not play Keith as much as last night. Campoli is proving his worth and should be used as such.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    I've read elsewhere that Morin is recovering from a concussion.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    So does Matt Cooke eventually join the Wings? With the way that fan base complains about officiating, it might be a good home for him.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    According to Jesse Rogers Marcus Kruger is joining the 'hawks for the remainder of the season and playoffs. Not looking good for Sharp.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nhl/news/story?id=6246203

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Chris Block @ thethirdmanin is also reporting it with two links from Sweden. Anyone read Swedish?

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    The word is that Sharp will be out for a decent amount of time. The hope is to have him back by playoffs. The good news is that it is not a surgery situation. Campbell should be back by the next game, and if not then the following game.
    The other bad news is that Bolland is nowhere near coming back.

    This will be a struggle to the end even more now. Time for the Stalbergs, Brouwers, Bickells and Froliks to kick up the goal production.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    Well, expecting Kruger to come in and make an impact is a stretch but at least

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Yeah, I've grown pretty annoyed with the three point games this year too. One thing I'm glad about with Kruger coming up is that we get a chance to see if he has something to look forward to later. He's a kid, he's very likely to get muscled off some pucks like Leddy does, so I hope people keep things in perspective.

    I could very much see the Hawks winding up in the 5th slot with either the Preds or the Kings coming in fourth. What is scary is that the Preds appear to have finally learned how to score and are second to Vancouver in the conference in goals against. The injuries to the Hawks really suck and what bothers me even more is that it comes at a time when the Hawks were starting to get something going with speed to counter goons and traps.

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