All 5 goals scored in the game last night were the result of bodies in front of the net. Whether a rebound, screen, or tip-in, every puck went beyond the goal line as the result of a physical presence in front of the goaltender. The Sharks had the obvious upper-hand in this type of play for the 1st and 2nd periods of play, dominating the Hawks into a 33-13 shot deficit. The play of Marian Hossa was practicaly the only reason for a Hawks victory in OT, and without Emery nothing would have been possible.
The Sharks dominated and had the physical edge in all areas of the ice. This physical edge caused the Hawks to go into their shells and attempt to weather the storm, after coming out of the gate with some speed. I thought the Sharks were allowed a few liberties early on, and was somewhat shocked that Chicago would have the first penalty to kill, but the fact remains that the Hawks were easily taken off of their game, and it stayed that way for the better part of it.
This might cause some questions over the reasoning to take Carcillo off of the 1st line now. I might be the largest supporter of Stalberg and his skill that never seems to live up to its potential, so when I was confused over the move, you know it's wierd. Consequently, Stalberg would have the first best chance to score on Niemi, but Niemi was better, a theme that continued for a great part of this game.
I am at work, and left my notes at home, so this wrap might not have the detail of others, but I think this game was quite simple. Both goalies were up to the task and made some big saves for their teams. The Sharks in most situations would take this game without giving up a point to the Hawks. Fortunately, the play of Hossa along with a couple lucky bounces produced some late heroics by the guys in red.
Hjalmer was the culprit of the first Sharks goal, seemingly unaware of his man who took inside position on him to easily slam a rebound in. Forgiveness was on his mind as he took a blast from the point that would end up bouncing off of a few players, Kruger of most importance, and find its way behind Niemi.
His partner still looks a bit shaky as of late, but that shakyness did not result directly in anything too terrible.
Here is a thought. As this game progressed through the 2nd period I saw a need for a guy like Mayers seeing a bit more ice-time. With all of the changes made on lines from game to game, why not throw Mayers on a top line here? Just a thought. Besides Hossa and Emery, he was the only player looking somewhat effective up to this point.
Throughout the game, it was Hossa generating most of the offense which was scarce for some time, and then out of nowhere the 3rd period changed everything. I would be willing to place some blame on the back-to-back games played by SJ as having some of the say in this outcome. The Sharks got a little too happy sitting back and playing D, keeping all of the Hawk chances from outside the slot, an area they seem perfectly okay with Niemi handling.
The Hawks had no answer for the defensive guard put up around Niemi. Shots were from the outside, and it was hard to get any traffic in on Niemi. The 3rd saw the Hawks rack up shots, but it looked to be a lost cause until 30 seconds remained. The act of desperation was upon us, Emery (the only reason there was still a chance) was pulled and the extra attacker took his place. Funny how rarely this plot works out, and this time it was that extra attacker who would bring the Hawks to OT and a chance at any points from this game, but it did and there you go.
Brunette might be the slowest player to every take the ice, making Scott look like a speed demon, but the man is a magician in front of the net.
Cut to OT and the Sharks look very tired and unhappy to be there, that frustration most evident in the ridiculous display, but also expcected sportsmanship of Clowe in the final moments of regulation. His 2 jabs to Keith's face as Keith was defenseless should have earned the Hawks a PP in OT. Absolutely no question about it.
No matter, Hossa used it as extra fire to his game, the 4-on-4 opened things up and allowed a little more freedom in front of Niemi, to which Sharp took advantage off, and Niemi helped him out a little. 2 games in row where Sharp nets the game winner in OT, and he moves up the scoring leader charts.
Without my notes, thats the best I can remember it right now. So, I am off to teach some art classes and leave the rest to the comments which are sure to bring more fire to the talk around goaltending. Holly Batman are the Hawks good at picking up points they most likely do not deserve this year.