Well, I don't feel like there is a ton to say about this game. It was a tight contest from start to finish and the Jackets made the Hawks work for this one. Both teams had some really good chances, both teams had some bad defensive breakdowns and both teams got saves from their goalies when they needed them, except, of course, for the one Shaw put in. There's stuff to nitpick every game, but plain and simple, this was a team win and I think that outweighs any single mistake.
I give the Jackets credit and not in a backhanded way by saying they kept the Hawks to one goal. Those guys work hard and once they figure out how to score some goals, they are going to be a lot tougher to pay against. I think the days the Hawks could count on slumpbusting there are over. In this contest, I think the Hawks were more then a little lucky in getting some calls to go their way, but they were working themselves and they are on a roll and that's when you tend to catch breaks.
On the goal late in the second period, Bickell dumped a really sweet pass into the slot and Shaw snapped a wrister past Mason. In recent games, 1 goal was not enough and the Hawks frequently have let teams back into the game. Last night, I thought the Hawks pretty much kept doing what they were doing and that was enough. Looking around the net, I've seen some different takes but I don't really read a lot into this game. I think it's important that the Hawks were able to play a tight game against a team that is getting much better defensively. I didn't see them try to force anything and I didn't get the feeling from watching them that they took this game for granted. At this point, every game is going to be big as every team will be gunning to break their streak and I think the Hawks showed an appropriate effort.
So far, I have made an effort to not compare this team to the 2010 as I think it is a wasteful exercise. I haven't, however, stayed away from looking at contrasts. Individually, several players have matured and Kane is one of them. But, up and down the line, I feel like this is a team that has learned to be more patient and not throw tantrums when things aren't going their way. Of course, things are going their way so we may see a different take down the road. Still, when I look back at the cup team, I feel like the main theme was to just blow teams out of the water with talent and skate with a confidence that they could turn it on at any time and come back and steal a game. Some of that has happened this year, but overall, I feel like this team is working much harder and is working with what they are being given. Defensively, I see this team protecting the crease and after two years they are FINALLY stopping players from skating into the crease after whistles. These are little things but in a game where the players constantly play mind games, I'm glad to see the Hawks making a stand.
I could go on babbling about that, but I'll save that for another day. Tonight should be a good tilt and the Hawks certainly have some motivation to put the oil back in their place. They have a lot of firepower on that young team, but they don't have an equal balance in defense. Sooner or later the Hawks will lose and that's reality. In the meantime, it would be nice to see them really put up a record that won't be broken for a long time.
Filed under: Uncategorized