Yep. You knew he was going to score his always freaking annoying goal and this one came when Razor was less then 2 minutes away from a shut out. With the clock winding down, the Ducks displayed a surprising amount of effort to hem the Hawks in their own zone. Though Toews got slashed pretty heartily, the play carried and the Hawks finally turned it over for the last time and Anaheim played Duck, Duck, Selanne. Meh. Too bad for Razor that on a "pad the stats" night, he was left out. At least he had a good game.
As for the Hawks, no disrespect intended to the Ducks, but they flat out did not have the talent to contain the Hawks. Though I was not really impressed overall by the Hawks, I did see things I want to see. First and foremost, they got secondary scoring on a goal from Mayers, that was assisted by Bruno and everyone's favorite forward, John Scott. After that, the Hawks best players were better then the Duck's best players and they got strikes from Hossa, Bolland and Sharp. Whether it's a pretty or ugly win, when these things happen the Hawks are going to win games. All things considered, this was a game the Hawks should win and they did win basically 4-0. They scored a PP goal and helped themselves climb a little further out of the hole they dug for themselves on the PK early season. Best of all, they won in regulation and did not create another three point game.
Though the Hawks called Smith back up from Rockford, he did not play. In a move that is sure to annoy a lot of people, John Scott skated at forward and as mentioned above, managed to accidentally net himself an assist. Say what we will about Scott, he played his role. Though his decision to fight in the offensive zone while up two goals may not have been very bright, his fight, I believe, was one thing that helped keep Anaheim douchebaggery to a tolerable level. Unlike early season, the Hawks did not fold when faced with physicality. Mayers also had a bout late in the contest after someone took a run at the physically threatening Marcus Kruger. I'm seeing these guys start to stand up for each other and it is long, long, overdue. With Carcillo out with an upper body injury, I honestly think it did make sense to start Scott and he and Mayers both did exactly what they are supposed to do.
That Duncan Keith "only" had 24 minutes of ice time should tell you a lot about the nature of this game. With the game basically out of reach after two goals, Q used the entirety of his bench and really balanced out the ice time. Bickell, again, did not make me notice him. He made some hits but took himself way out of position when he did so and was never really threatening in my opinion. Scott at forward didn't look at that good to me and I think he was lucky to get away with some of the cross checks he threw, especially on Mayers goal. Still, a win is a win and as long as we keep perspective and don't start planning parade routes, there are a couple of things to celebrate here.
Like I said, this was a stat padding night. With the net three goal win, the Hawks goal differential took another positive step forward to +11, and the only team to have scored more goals then them is the Flyers. The PK is still less then 80% while the PP stands at 19.8%, both have improved, but both have a ways to go to be instrumental in winning games. When the team was up, Q used all of his bench and gave his stars a little rest. Once again, Razor looked good out there and seems to be able to get in front of longer range shots.
The Wings and Blues each have two games in hand on the Hawks, but the Hawks currently have a five point lead. In the next week, the Hawks will play the Flames, the Pens and the Habs and after that they play the Jackets, Kings and Wings. The Pens and Wings games are toss ups, but arguably, the other four teams are teams the Hawks should beat and they need to take advantage of the schedule they have. To the comments from the pre game thread about trades, I tend to agree with everyone that there won't be any big trades. However, if some team does pull the trigger on something bigger, I think it very well could start to lay the groundwork for smaller trades to start happening. The Hawks right now, IMO, do not have a position of strength of trade from. I can't see any team out there wanting to help a team that is near the top of its conference. At the least, I can't see any team offering us what we really want, which is either a bigger winger who will succeed where Bickell fails, or a true, solid 5-6 D guy who can both bring grit and shore up that bottom pair. I think SB keeps his powder dry for awhile.