Now that is great hockey!
If you missed it, find a recording and watch it, because this game had it all. Forgive me if I come off giddy, or incoherent; it is really late and that was quite entertaining hockey.
First off, Colorado is a really strong team. Their already impressive road stats prove so, winning some big battles early in this season, showing speed size and a winning power-play.
Crawford was stellar throughout, and it was beyond necessary. amazingly enough Varlamov was arguably better.
The pace was really quick, especially early and late in the game. Worth noting though, the Avs had their best chances when the game slowed in the 2nd period. The Hawks killed an early PP and then failed to convert on 2 of their own, which is most definitely a concern moving forward, but did not end up mattering in this one.
The energy of a few players stood out early, but Toews and Carcillo seemed to have a special edge. It was no surprise when the play of these 2 combined to create the first goal.
It is becoming clearer with every game that signing Carcillo was a positive move. His ability, along with a few others, to win battles in the corners and play that necessary chippy hockey lost last year is one of the reasons why this year's team is going to win many more games.
Carcillo logged 14 minutes of ice time last game, when he proved to be able to stay out of the box and add to the offensive cause. This was helped by the 5-2 win which gave Q some freedom to rest his core guys. A fact I can't help thinking was pivital in tonight's win. More big wins will only help having a rested and healthy Hawks for the playoffs.
As decent as the Hawks were looking in this Colorado game, Crawford still had to make some tall saves, and Seabrook made a defensive desperation move that stole a breakaway from the avs early in the 2nd, which might have caused a completely different outcome.
A text book entrance into the zone by the Kane line a few minutes later came inches away from a Keith to Kane tip-in goal, illustrating the type of puck movement that can result from this team when having the time to settle in with their line partners. The Hawks are far from perfect, but their game is obviously improving with each game. Talent and time being the key ingredients.
Now just get that PP producing.
Again, credit has to be given to this Avs team. They came at the Hawks from different angles and could have easily been tied or ahead of the Hawks who had the upper hand in chances. A little bit of luck and well positioned play by CC was the difference in the 2nd. Eventually, that luck ran out and a lucky bounce helped Colorado tie the game.
Some quick game notes:
- Hjalmer’s offensive confidence and execution is coming along nicely.
- Keith is getting closer and closer to form.
- Hawks only had 1 penalty and that was for too many men until 2 minutes remaining in the game.
- The Back-check by the Hawks was most impressive at many moments
- The one-timer, cross slot passes by the Hawks would have created many more goals against a less prepared goaltender. Many passes were a thing of beauty.
- Seabrook missed a chance as great as they come very late in the 2nd, after A beautiful centering pass from Toews. Those chances need to be buried.
In what might be sort of a shocker, the Avs ended up getting the better half of the 2nd period. Big saves from both goaltenders kept the game tied at 1.
Coming into the third, I was hoping to see the Hawks use the advantage they seemed to have deep in the corners of the Av’s zone. Getting the better of most battles and finding primo scoring chances from those small wins.
Here is where the Hawks want to take notice and react. Instead of just taking the shot, look to get the puck deep. Instead of throwing the puck at a goalie who seems to be seeing everything, skate it into the corner and see what generates.
That exact type of play ended up finding Frolik with a huge chance to destroy the back of the net. Unfortunately, Frolik can’t buy a goal.
However, in an act that made these words seem futile, Sharp picked up his second of the year by throwing the puck at the net twice. Notably, this goal started with a Keith takeaway. Which was
also an act that made my words from a few days earlier seem rash.
Keith and Leddy had their best performance as a duo tonight.
Varmalov made a ridiculous save on Kruger from a beautiful Kane set-up later in the 3rd.
A late penalty called on Seabrook made things really interesting in an already intense game. Captain Toews was ready for the challenge, fought hard and was able to get Hossa the puck and empty net
The ending result, a very exciting game filled with big chances, big saves and a nail biter finish.