As convincing of a goalie victory there has been in the past few years, Ray Emery was the single most important performer of last nights pounding on the Blackhawks. Getting outshot 47 to 19, and that doesn't even accurately illustrate just how one sided this game was, because the amount of quality scoring chances were even more lopsided than that, does not make for a happy Hawks fan. Ray Emery's brilliance on the night does.
I do not want to wade in the negativity that could and maybe should be the focus of last night's effort from the Hawks, so I will try to keep this short and as sweet as possible. No, the Hawks had no right getting any points last night, and definitely not 2 of them, but I have to ask myself when the last time was that I saw the Hawks get 2 points from a game where they gave such a terrible performance.
And this was a poor team effort, not just one or 2 players mucking it up. I suppose that we could chalk this off to having such a difficult schedule to start a difficult season, and having back-to-back games at late hours in 2 different cities. So let us do just that. The Hawks seemed drained in the Vancouver game, and they just did not have it in them for another one yet, which would explain the slow feet, terrible coverage, and even worse passing we saw.
Thankfully, Ray Emery decided to show up big time since he was the only rested player on the ice in a white jersey, and carried his team to victory on his back. Most noteworthy about his performance was the ease he seemed to do it with. He just made it look easy at points, and that was because of the speed he was moving at. Emery was going post to post with speed, accuracy, and control all night, extending his legs on a plethora of occasions to save the game.
But, he needed someone else to help him out, because the defense couldn't dig down deep enough to secure a shutout for Emery. Besides a ton of luck, which again is something to be happy about, since having luck is the sign of a good team, Emery had the keen offensive sense that Patrick Kane has brought to his game this year. He scored the go-ahead goal, assisted big time on the game tying goal, and had the only shootout goal for the win.
- Yes, the whole team was bad, slow, and clumsy, but Seabrook was even more so. Something has to be wrong with Seabrook, and I hope he changes his tune soon. His lack-luster, poor performance was almost enough reason to sit him.
- What might be the best decision I have seen in the past few years from the Hawks coaching staff, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya were given the most ice-time of any players on the ice. Not that they were perfect either, but they were making the least amount of mistakes, and putting them out there more might have saved the game. It stands as a testament to their play this year, and also as a new sign of improvement from the coaching staff.
- Once again, a dominant PK has a lot of weight on the win.
- The person right below Seabrook on my current list of players frustrating me is Sharpie. Honestly, he had a jump that hasn't been present in the prior games last night, but he is still off his game, and in a big way.
- Bolland's injury might not be that bad, and we might see him back really soon, but I want to again mention that something needs to be changed in the line combinations. Putting Toews, Hossa, and Kane out for momentum boosts, and game winners is fine, but I think they need to be separated for most of the game. I'm just not feeling Hossa and Toews on the 1st line together, nor have I been happy with the 2nd line's performance. I think that Shaw brought something to it that makes him more suited to be between Kane and Sharp, but Shaw should not be playing center by most accounts, and that 3rd line could use some help as well.
- For those of you who were equally excited about Emery's movement in the net and strength at finding the puck, these are exactly the areas that I cringe about with Crawford.
- There isn't enough good that can be said about Patrick Kane lately. He is not without his faults, but he is starting to take more advantage of his strengths. He needs to trust his hockey sense, and I think the more confidence he builds, the more greatness we will see. His vision, hands, and sense for the movement of the play are what make him great. He has caused quite a bit of turnovers, but has anyone seen how many takeaways he has had because of his quick hands too?
- Finding a win when the win seems at a complete loss of any reason says something good about this team. Scoring with 2 seconds left to tie a game, and not allowing the clock to cause a premature shot while waiting for the right pass says something good about this team and Patrick Kane.
- I can't help think that (besides the PK), this team get's sloppier with every game under Q's guidance. Again, could be fatigue. The Secret to the PK has been the revitalization of Hjalmarsson, position, and aggression from everyone else.
You should not be happy about the overall performance, but we can find positives in the cloud of whatever that was we saw last night. Next up is 2 well needed days off, and a game against the second best team in the league where points are considered.