Now that was entertainment. From a 1-1 game no less. A goaltender battle, end to end excitement with some huge scoring chances, and absolute domination by the Blackhawks through much of the first half are just a few examples of what this game had.
Detroit weathered a 30 minute storm in the first 40 minutes of this game, and it was the Hawks who let a 5 minute storm by the Wings get the best of them. One battle lost by Leddy and the Wings went up 1-0 in a game the Hawks should have most likely been winning by a fair margin. Just like that, the streak looked like it was coming to an end. Not to Detroit, not like this.
The Hawks are not going to give you much, at times it seems like just enough to let you in the game, but give them an inch back and they will shove it down your throat. This is one of the overwhelming aspects of this year’s squad. Dare I say, this one actually smelled of what we were used to seeing in 2010? Absolute domination for minutes at a time, with 1 or 2 let downs tempting to kill them.
But this team will not die.
A tip of the hat to a few standouts:
Corey Crawford of course, who had his best game of the year IMO. He ended up keeping his team in this one, and he made some of the more spectacular efforts that I have seen from him, including his first shootout win of the year.
The 3rd line consisting of the 2 towers and Mighty Mouse was a force too much for Detroit to handle. All 3 of these guys had huge games, and this line was the strongest on the ice from my vantage point. At times, due to a weird change-up in the players on the ice (Brookbank was dressed as a 7th D-man, over Bollig and Mayers), Frolik found himself out with Shaw and Stalberg (something I had been curious about since day 1), and it was beautiful.
Bickell’s board work was in top form as it has been lately, which helped generate chances along with sustaining puck control in Detroit’s zone.
Andrew Shaw was taking Detroit to school. Tremendous speed, quick hands that seem to be gaining in confidence which is scary for his opponents, battling hard, getting pucks to the net, and digging for rebounds are just some reasons to be celebrating his play right now.
And then there is Stalberg who could easily be your player of the game, for make that 2 games in a row now. Stalberg’s quick hands and determination not to give up on a play allowed him to send a letter to Kane, who opened it up all over Howard and the Detroit Red Wings.
This game tying power-play goal late in the game was made possible by a delay of game penalty to which I give credit to the awesome pressure placed on the Wings throughout the contest. Stalberg, his linemates, Frolik, and everyone else on the Hawks put astounding pressure on a smart team, and it paid off in the end.
Keep in mind that Shaw and Stalberg both saw 17+ minutes of hockey and this maybe their best overall efforts of the season. This will be huge moving forward.
I want to give a huge tip of the hat to Michael Rozsival. What the hell was that, and man did I like it. Rozsival showed us something that could amount to greatness with the puck in a few occasions, making him and Leddy (who besides getting beat once had a stellar game) quite the offensive threat.
There was a great passage of time in the 2nd when the Hawks made Detroit look like a peewee hockey team, sustaining a most impressive performance of puck control and Rozsival (Rozzy?) was the quarterback. Man is this encouraging.
Give credit to the Wings for getting the closest to ending the streak, and boy would that have sucked, but Detroit was in desperation mode too often during this one to have the win, and Lord Stanley put it right in the end. Nothing like a nail bitter to get the blood pumping. The Hawks had a strong campaign early, but Detroit was always on the ready to provide a big scoring chance.
I just want to take this moment to give credit to Stan Bowman on what seems to be his repair of a team heading into a crisis. I also want to give a huge tip of the hat to coach Q for creating what seems to be a team at top condition and in great control of their game.
This was a wibbly-wabbly construction of the lines (I hope it doesn’t continue) and it didn’t seem to matter who was with whom. Everyone is working, the defense has a character that will do anything to keep the puck out of the net, and the forwards are pure hunters on the offensive side of things.
Make that 22 games without a loss, 29 if we include the end of last season. The Hawks are currently a well oiled machine. Oh yeah, Kane came up huge for us today. Kane said, "Bang!"