And the streak comes to an end. I guess nothing can last forever, and the Blackhawks still managed a point, so there ya go.
I missed much of the first half to work responsibilities, which is good considering it was the weaker half of the Hawks performance. I just have some points I want to make.
Point 1: Man you wanted to see Kaner do his thing on the shootout. When is it going to become jammed his brain that his filthy moves are hard for goalies to handle? Just do it Kane, don't hesitate, and do your thing, even when the goalie looks like he is anticipating it. Take some notes from Toews, who makes it look too easy.
Because really, the Hawks could have had that shootout if he did. Please know that I am not putting this on Kane, although it wasn't the best of his games thus far. Then again, if Sharp's pinpoint wrister was an inch lower, we wouldn't have to complain at all. What I am trying to say is, the game was damn close.
The Point is, the Hawks were very, very close to winning this game and maybe even should have from most perspectives, after surviving their weak start anyway. This is Point 2: The game could have easily been a win, and you kind of expected it midway though the 3rd. I mean, the start was something less than admirable, which was eased by weak goal on Harding's part, but with a tired Wild team, and the push Chicago was displaying late, you thought the winning goal was a coming.
Point 3: Crawford is looking pretty good. A 5-on-3 in the 1st was more than enough to put away the Hawks, who were struggling at that time, but Crow kept his team in this game. With every game I feel a little more confident that he can be the goaltender for this team, and consequently save some cap space.
Point 4: The lines. I sort of feel bad for saying this, but I haven't been completely sold on the line combos. I think Saad is playing great on the 1st line, I think Kaner has made some things work, I thought the 3rd line needed some maintenance (which will bring to another point shortly), and Frolik has earned a shot on the top 3. With that said, we just aren't seeing the type of work we should expect from these lines consistently. I'm just not sold on what we see here. Bolland centering the 2nd line might not be the best option, and I think Shaw as a center has to be rethought.
Point 5: The 3rd line was the most effective and consistent line out there for the Hawks this game. After putting the puck in the net, Shaw had a new lease on life, and added to the line's puck possession in ways he just hadn't in prior games. However, I still see too much dysfunction among them, and it has a lot to do with Shaw as a center. First of all, it keeps him from playing his game and being a forechecking machine (something the 2nd line is missing), and he just doesn't seem to go to the right place offensively. They are a hard group of guys to win the puck from, but they too often don't generate enough offense when it seems like they should have.
Point 6: Defense. Leddy had another strong game, Seabrook still looks out of shape, and Keith had another strong performance.
Point 7: This PK is ridiculous good. Why? Because they are playing hungry and aggressively on it.
The Hawks should very well have won this game, but they didn't. The Wild were coming off of a hard stretch of games, and the Hawks had the lead heading into a period that they dominated. What were the shots after the halfway point, 17-6 or something in favor of the Hawks. Yep, it was theirs for the taking, but they couldn't take it. Still got a point though, and still currently have the best record in the league.
I hope that Q saw some of the things that need a little work, which is obviously not the PK. It was mentioned by the voice from between the benches, that it was obvious that the Hawks were listening to their coaching staff (unlike last year apparently). I would lean toward saying that the coaching staff stopped saying dumb things, and Toews began to listen when they weren't speaking smack anymore. Still, tough decisions need to be made. This was and is a great start to the season. It doesn't mean everything is in the bag, and changes won't have to be made.
Filed under: Game Recap