Yes, the Blackhawks tied Anaheim for the best start in NHL history last night, and technically the Hawks are better, because they have 1 more point than the Ducks did in 06-07. They accomplished this feat in perfect fashion by overcoming our favorite team to watch lose, and boy was it an exciting match.
This game had some extreme moments, good and bad, so let's get right to it.
Once again, the Hawks failed to put a team away after a very dominant 2/3rds of play, but this time I don't place all of the blame on the Hawks. 1st of all, Vancouver is a very talented team, and they can sneak up on you like that. The real problem is how the Nucks do it time and time again, and how willing the Hawks are to let them.
Vancouver is the scum of the hockey world. With all of that talent, they still choose to play cheap hockey and cheat their way out of a hole. Hansen better get a proper suspension for what he pulled early in the 3rd period, because it is just disgusting to watch. An elbow to the back of the head of the player who coincidentally had 2 goals on the night already, and who has just recovered from a severe concussion? I hope Hoss is alright, but I anticipate some time before we see him again and it is pure disgusting hockey.
I do not want to soak on this topic, but the Nucks started pulling a lot of crap as soon as the score was 3-1, and it worked out for them. The officials need to make sure that this is not how teams fight back into games. You want to ramp up the physical play, sure, but do it legally.
Enough about that.
Among the many great examples of play by our guys in red, maybe the most flattering was how well each one of the lines played. I have not seen such an effort yet, where each line was running on all cylinders and at such a high level of play. We know what the 1st line did on the scoreboard, but the 2nd line was maybe the best they have been so far, and the 3rd line was a force of nature. Sharp finally finding his groove definitely has something to do with it, as well as Bolland winning face-offs. Shaws energy has something to do with it, and his sense for finding the puck, and Stalberg's burst of speed was well utilized against another quick team.
A great game from so many individuals.
The Hawks had sustained pressure for long lengths of time, especially in the 1st when the Hossa/Toews/Saad line moved the puck around in the Nuck's zone with pure domination.
How many breakaways did the Hawks end up having? I don't know, I lost count at 4. But it sure does tell the story of how dominant the Hawks were in the first 2 periods of play. Vancouver ended the 1st with the upper hand in shots and goals, but not scoring chances. The Hawks had many chances to make this game embarrassing for the Canucks. They just don't have that killer mentality yet.
Unfortunately, surrounded by a lot of great saves, Emery let a fluke in, and you kind of get the sense that without that fluke goal, the Hawks win this game somewhere in the ballpark of 5-0.
The 2nd period was a thing of beauty, which started for me when the Hawks forced 3 turnovers back-to-back within the Nucks zone from an aggressive forecheck. Sure, the teams traded some big chances early, but what I saw were 2 teams trying to be the better at playing the fast paced, puck possession game both teams are known for, and the Hawks were triumphant in this game. This is just one of the aspects that lead to such an exciting game, but it was a statement in my eyes to see the Hawks grab control of this play, and drive the message home.
Not just using their speed, the Hawks had poise with the puck, and were generating chance after chance until Sharp opened it up with a pure blast of a perfect shot. The slow motion video reveals a thing of beauty really. There is nothing like getting everything on a shot like that.
This came moments after Stalberg, who had a great game, made the Nuck defense look like practice cones. Schneider was very big for his team, because this game could have easily been 3-0, before Sharp's goal that made it 1-1.
Enter the Hossa show. Not to be overlooked was the beauty that the Hawks power-play was weaving last night. Even before this PP goal by Hoss, the Hawks were looking like a team aggressive on the attack with crisp passing and good movement. Shaw provided the added commotion in front, and you have a 2-1 lead.
Hossa's second goal was a thing of beauty, which couldn't have been done any better by anyone. In Captain Marvel style, Hossa willed the puck into the net through pure force after his line mates did a lot of heavy lifting just prior. Again, all lines firing on all cylinders.
The Hawks were brewing a storm at this point, and Vancouver needed to do something, so they started a shit storm of their own. Because, not long after the 3-1 lead, Sharp was accosted by Edler, was forced to protect himself and somehow the Hawks didn't walk away with a power-play. If the officials deal with this affair justly, then I don't think Hossa ends up leaving the game early, and much fewer crap is pulled throughout the remaining 22 minutes of play.
What followed is pretty much what you would have guessed. The Hawks let up a tad on their offensive aggression, including during power-plays in which it was apparently decided wasting time and running the clock was better than going up 4-1. Vancouver got cheaper and cheaper with every minute, and once again, in the waining minutes, Oduya made a boneheaded play with the game on the line. This time, it costed the Hawks a regulation win when Vancouver was in desperation mode.
From here on out it was all Hawks again, which is just more proof that it is they who let teams back into these games. I guess you could just argue that it gave Shaw a chance to be the hero of the night with a brilliant and energetic shootout winning goal. Shaw was playing out of his mind all game after all, but Vancouver stole a point, and I don't think it was fair and square.
Even so, the Hawks reached a record last night, and it was at the hands of the Canucks. Get well soon Hossa.
Filed under: Game Recap