Turnabout's fair play - Hawks 4, Sharks 3

Turnabout's fair play - Hawks 4, Sharks 3

Well, in all the ways the Blackhawks may have been outplayed Saturday against Detroit, tonight's game against the Sharks saw a complete effort from the Hawks in limiting the league's highest shooting team to 24 shots, and more importantly, earning a big win. Though the game came down to the final moments of a 6-on-4 power play for San Jose, the final tally wasn't fully representative of what transpired. San Jose entered the game having gone 6-0-1 since January 1st, but it was the Hawks who came out looking unbeatable. They took the play in the 1st, and entered intermission with a 2-0 lead on goals by Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg. After the Sharks grabbed two goals in :26 seconds early in the 2nd to tie the game, Joel Quenneville wisely used his timeout, righted the troops and Jonathon Toews took advantage of an Antti Niemi miscue to make it 3-2. In the third, the hard work of Andrew Shaw pushed the lead to 4-2, and after the Sharks made it a one-goal game with 5 minutes left, Chicago shut the door.  

It may not have been the prettiest game or the flashiest of goals on either side, but it was the effort and matchup Chicago needed to produce to start turning the corner on what's been a tough 2012 to this point. Though the Hawks picked up wins over Columbus and Minnesota earlier in the week, and had an impressive 3rd despite the outcome in Detroit, tonight was a revelation in what this team can do in both zones when it puts all the pieces together. More of this please.

  • Quenneville had the Toews, Stalberg, Patrick Kane line out against Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau line, and the Hawks top line rolled on Jumbo Joe. Tows and Stalberg both had a goal and an assist, and though Thornton picked up an assist on Pavelski's goal, he was mostly in the shadows the entire game. Thornton also went a measly 1 for 7 in face-offs. The Hawks stars stepped up to the challenge and were in the driver's seat any time they hit the ice.  Toews and Stalberg ran a great give and go off the cycle for Vik to pick up his goal as well.
  • Defensively, it was one of the better overall efforts I've seen from the Hawks blueliners lately. Prime scoring chances seemed few and far in between, and their positioning and breakouts seemed much crisper. There were still a few miscues, some that lead to the Sharks lighting the lamp (Andrew Brunette and Jimmy Hayes both got caught chasing the puck on the 3rd, leaving the point shot to deflect around and in), but overall, pretty tight.
  • Surprising to see Corey Crawford get the start on the tail end of the back to back as well, but he was pretty strong throughout. The goal by San Jose's Jamie McGinn is one that has absolutely no business getting through Crow, but he recovered well and never seemed to need a tough save after that. While he still needs to work on his rebound control a bit more, the defense was always ready to clear any second attempts.
  • Speaking of goalies, Antti Niemi was pretty impressive for San Jose as well despite the loss. Pretty sure that Patrick Kane is still kicking himself after firing a 2-on-1 chance right into Niemi's glove. Kane's still stuck on 3 goals in his past 27 games, but he showed up to play tonight, even if he only notched an assist.
  • Andrew Shaw. While I'm still hesitant to hype after only 7 games, the kid finds a way to get himself into scoring position. His goal tonight was a great example of crashing the net and never giving up on the play. Shaw's all heart, shown some decent skill and a bit of ADD, but he played almost 17 minutes tonight, including a bit of special teams work, had 5 shots, 3 hits and didn't lose one of the 6 face-offs he took. To follow up on HH's comment from yesterday, I don't know myself if Shaw's top 6 material, but with games like tonight, he can definitely eat up minutes as a 3rd/4th line center.
  • Though there's oftentimes reasons to be critical of  Joel Quenneville, matching up the top lines worked brilliantly tonight, and with the whole team appearing strong, there was little need to juggle the lines constantly. And calling the timeout after the Sharks two quick goals redrew the focus on the game plan very well. Credit where credit is due (plus I enjoyed seeing someone in the 300 level rock a signed Q Whalers jersey. Hope that got a smirk from Joel.)
  • Honestly not sure what else to say. More defensive efforts like tonight, and there's a whole lot less need to talk about trades or what needs to wake up the offense. Even after the Sharks tied the game at 2, you could almost feel that all the Hawks needed was one more goal and the game was in the bag, and in a slightly drawn out way, that's about what happened. Great win, and hopefully one that puts the doldrums from the past few weeks fully in the rear view mirror.

Filed under: Game Recap

Comments

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  • Good wrap, HH.
    Good game.
    Good "team" effort.
    Good 58 minute effort. (I'll take it)
    Good coaching? Well, at least he kept rolling lines.
    Good back-checking and D zone breakouts.
    Good game by Kane . (Can that guy lay a pass or what.)
    Good game by Stalberg. (There's hope for me, yet, on this guy)
    Good game by the kids. (Shaw looks like a keeper, kills penalties gets involved and shows some heart. Did you see him flatten Murray!)
    Good game by the 4th line again. (They started the game)
    Good weekend (3 of 4 points—not bad)

  • Q looks so much better when he can roll 4 lines. When the Hawks play as a team they have a shot against anyone.

    Tough not to like Shaw and Hayes for that matter. This is what we should be seeing from the sell off of the Cup team. Lots of skilled young uns waiting to step up and lots of draft choices. Bowman seems to have done well stocking the farm and Leddy for Barker wasn't too shabby either.

    Now if someone could please share the fairy dust with Mr. Frolik so he could get a goal, we would almost have a perfect world.

    Thanks for the wrap, BehindtheNet.

  • Yeah, good wrap BehindthNet.

    Not much bad to say about this one. All Hawks for the majority of the game, with the exception of the early 2nd period.

    This top line has got to stay together. I can't really see anyone being able to deal with it at this point. When Kane starts putting pucks in the net (no thanks to Niemi), it will be explosive without end.

    I think you have to point a slight finger in Crawford's direction though. This game should not have been that close on the scoreboard, and yes, Niemi had a part in that too. At least 1 was all on Crawford. He simply needs to be better.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    OK, guys I get it. Should read the bylines. Good wrap BTN!

    Agree, HH, CRawford needs to be better. Q, I'm guessing felt he deserved another start after Saturday's game.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Hola! New Rules- FF must read bylines before posting! Maybe HH can tweak the site to make if part of the sign in process.

    Well, the only ice I've seen lately are the cubes floating in my drinks down here in Cabo. Hawks have taken 5 out of 6 points since I've left and with that in mind, I am open to staying if you all take up a collection. I mean, I'm not watching and the team is winning.

    Pony up and commit to the Indian boys!

    See you all late week

    VHF

  • Well, it was said on a few blogs the Sabres were likely to be scouted for trades tonight. After watching that tonight, is there anyone you want from that team?

    I wonder if between periods SB walked into the locker room and told the lads to play hard because they could be going to Buffalo if they aren't performing.

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