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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.