The Chicago Blackhawks get crazy on Black Friday.

The Chicago Blackhawks get crazy on Black Friday.

Maybe it had something to do with the gluttonous state of the weekend, to eat too much, and buy more stuff you don't need. Did you know stores opened at Midnight last night for shoppers to get in even earlier than usual (what is wrong with the world)? Well, the Hawks joined in on the crazy festivities by racking up 6 goals in an 11 goal game, 4 of which were scored by the Hawks within the first 10 minutes of play in the 3rd period.

The statement coming into today's game was that the most recent game was the Hawks best road performance of the year. A statement that throws up a few red flags. First of all, they lost the game, so what does that say? It says that the Hawks have not been playing all that great up until that point. It is essentially an acknowledgement of something seriously wrong.

There is a lot of close dissection that could be done from the minute to minute play of this game. It was a very up and down game displaying good and bad moments for a great deal of specific players in an overall crazy game.  Avoiding that for now, the simplest way to sum this game up is in the psyche of these 2 frustrated and determined teams. The frustration powered Anaheim early to a 2 goal lead and eventually lead them to take a ton of penalties resulting in the loss of that lead.

Conversely, a similar frustration and determination powered the Hawks to stay in a game that seemed like it was slipping through their hands. Supported by a Sharp Hat-trick, the Hawks exploded into the 3rd with 4 goals in under 10 minutes to capture a 2 goal lead.

Crawford can just about say goodbye to having any decent stats this year.

Shall we just get right into some of the finer points of this game:

  • Lines looked a little bit different to start this game off, and quickly changed even further in reaction to a quick start by Anaheim. Frolik was moved to the Kane line in Carcillo's spot who was playing with an effecient 4th line all game.
  • A Hjalmer/Keith pairing was out for the first Ducks goal. The result of some heavy hitting by Anaheim, and a Toews turnover caused the Hawks to fall behind very early. More heavy hitting by the Ducks and an inability to clear the zone helped the Hawks to a 2-0 deficit before the 3 minute mark.
  • Obviously frustrated already, Toews took a penalty and Crawford faced 7 shots in the first 4 minutes of play. Things were looking pretty bad at this point and you could still hear re-verb from the anthem playing.
  • At this point I thought Q might want to make a few quick changes to the lines in an attempt to adapt. After all, it's what he does. My thought was to get a physical presence on the top 2 lines, which mainly involved moving Carcillo and Mayers up. What Q did next worked out too. A Sharp/Kane/Toews line came together to notch the first goal that would come off of Sharp's stick.
  • Okay I thought, lets try sticking with this line and see what happens. Well, it didn't stay that way. In fact, it was often hard to tell what the lines were because of all the special teams play that would follow.
  • The Hawks had a net presence today. Start the chorus! The power-play also converted twice thanks in part to the plethora of opportunities to have the man-advantage. Thank you frustrated Ducks. And, even though I was cursing the Bolland on the point thing, he ended up being the reason for one of the goals. It still makes no sense though.
  • The started off terribly, but ended the 1st only down 1 goal.
  • The 2nd period wasn't half as exciting, but the Hawks dug themselves a slightly deeper hole after allowing the Ducks to take a 4-2 lead.
  • Then the explosion of 4 goals in 10 minutes happened in the 3rd. The first 2 came within 28 seconds of each other.
  • Players had bad moments and great moments today. I was commenting on how rough Stalberg was looking and then his physical presence in the corner helped Toews set-up the 2nd Sharp goal.
  • I was cursing Sharp for slowing down during a 2 on 1 with Toews and blowing the chance, and then he scored 3 goals in the game. Kane had moments where he looked lost, and others when he seemed pretty aware of what he was doing.
  • Keith had a great game all night, directly saving a few goals from outstanding defensive plays and added a few points while at it.
  • The D as a whole looked very solid at times, only allowed 11 shots from the middle of the 2nd to until the Ducks pulled their goalie, out-shooting them 33-11 during this time, but then again left Crawford out to dry more than a few times.
  • Essentially this game was a teeter-totter with the Hawks outplaying the Ducks for the majority of the 60 minutes.
  • Again, the Hawks missed some opportunities that need to end up in the back of the net, but it did not matter that much by half-way through the 3rd. The Hawks won, but there isn't much I feel that can be taken from the game.

The end result is a pleasing one and sets the Hawks up to end this even crazier trip at 500. I continue to be pleased with the play of Kruger. Leddy keeps being the most dependable defenseman, and Sharp decided to show up to the game with some of his famous fire-power. Credit must be given to the determination of the Hawks to win this game.

I am having a hard time figuring out why 5 tired players were left on the ice long enough for the Ducks to get within 1 in the remaining seconds of play, but I guess it didn't really matter all that much. Hawks win 6-5. Now onto an L.A. team who isn't playing that well either.

 

Comments

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  • Three of the Ducks goals were directly related to not clearing the crease, and in the first period, the Hawks defensemen got mauled. The defense core is not built to withstand onslaughts and the only way this team is going to be consistently better is to have better work between the forwards and D. I stick to an earlier comment, at any given point this year, the Hawks will have a better record. But until the playoffs come, I don't see a catalyst moment where it all comes together and they dominate. That they scored six while letting in essentially four is telling.

    Overall, they were moving the puck much better on the PP, though I keep feeling like the best chances are coming from the second unit. I saw a ton of one timers tonight and I saw A LOT of heart from Marcus Kruger. Seabrook did not look anywhere near 100%, but 10% of Biscuit is probably better then 100% of Scott for most folks, so I guess that's a win. Keith again played 29 minutes-that's not going to work long term.
    The end result is the only one that matters I suppose. It's a clean win and they didn't give any points away. The Ducks are physically tougher then the Kings I think, but to win in LA, the team defense has got to be better.

  • My guess is that the decision by Q to switch Hossa and Sharp will get a lot of press, and might lead to a permanent change. I think that Kane has been slightly suffering lately, and that Sharp has never been able to burst out of whatever funk he has been in. Putting anyone with Toews is going to result in an increase of production for them. And, I hate to say it, but that Toews/Sharp/Kane thing works, and should probably be a go to in bad situations.

    Good point Vegas on the D not clearing the slot, but what else is new. The early onslaught of hits by the Ducks was to me the most telling thing in the game. It resulted in 2 quick goals. Everyone in the league is watching that, and it is why I suggested making changes up front to respond.

  • To me, Hossa and Toews are both players who make the players around them play better. I didn't say this at the time, but I didn't think much was going to come of Kane centering Sharp. Three or four games from now though, we will likely be welcoming moving Sharp back down to capitalize on "their natural chemistry". I honestly like Kane at center. He will never do what Toews does, or what Bolland does when healthy, but I still think he has incredible vision and ability to set up and distribute the puck. But to make him a great center, it's going to take more commitment then the team or the fan base might be willing to give.

    After a stutter, the Wings are right back where they always are. Every shift of every game, move the puck, move yourself, look for trailer. Despite being so horrible defensively last night, I finally felt I saw something positive in what the forwards were doing, offensively anyway. There was less fuck around and more one timers. I read somewhere that instead of a bag skate, they went through a ton of positioning drills after the oiler debacle. On the offensive side at least, Sharp was in the right position to score and it looked to me almost like set plays, especially that one off the draw.

    A lot of comments I read on various blogs spend a lot of time and fantasizing the perfect pairings. Some players do play better with other players, but some teams also seem to have an ability to almost pick any card in the deck and make it work. What Sharp did last night was great, but if they are playing that way, I don't see a reason why Stalberg also couldn't do that. On just his own merits, I don't believe Stalberg is talented enough to free lance the way Sharp does. But if he knows what other players are going to do and is given his own job to go out and do shift after shift, I believe he will give you consistent performance.

    Your comment about them losing the game that was probably their best defensive effort of the year is hard to ignore. I'm not real optimistic about today, so I hope I'm surpirsed

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