I was a little tired after work and watched this one on DVR, but I really saw nothing to complain about. I suppose knowing what happened ahead of time probably biased me a bit, but as I watched, I just felt like the Hawks were pretty solidly in control for most of the game. Any line out there looked like it could have scored. I don't want to diss Miller, because he made some great saves, but I thought the Hawks were missing some really good chances all night. I'm not a fan of cliches, so I won't say this game coulda been like 10-0, but I think the score of 2-1 made this game look closer then it was and on that goal, Crow did nothing wrong. The Sabers flat out made a great lateral pass to a late guy who was uncovered. Whatyagonna do?
Ben Smith picked up a goal from being in the right place at the right time and deflected in a shot from Keith, who BTW, has suddenly become averse to tagging every set of shin pads that gets in front of him. He was extremely patient with the puck. As for Smith, seeing him in front of the net like that was a theme that was repeated quite a bit. I'm not going to assume anything has changed long term, but it seemed like every line had guys crashing the net all night. On the second goal, another PP tally, Kane got left wide open in part because Shaw was in front of the net. Buffalo is not a powerhouse team at the moment, but I don't think it matters. The Hawks are showing some different looks and I think it's paying off.
Pirri did not get a lot of ice time tonight and I don't really have much to say there. I don't think he's 2C material yet, but I think he should get a chance to stick around for a bit. Smith definitely made a case and like I said a few posts ago, Hayes was the guy packing and I think that's how it should be. Bollig is going to continue to annoy people with his presence in the lineup and will be pounced on for any mistake, but I think he is becoming a solid fourth line guy. He's not taking stupid penalties (for the most part), he's not starting meaningless fights and I thought he played his role perfectly when he went after Ott for the boarding hit Ott put on Smith.
Overall the Hawks were better at the dot, except of course for Kruger. Sharp managed to win 4/5 and Pirri held his own. BTW, the Hossa that we all know was sighted several times in this game doing what Hossa does. I saw a couple of quotes elsewhere that seemed to diss Bickell a bit, but I thought he dished out some great hits and in fact, I felt like the lines rolled tonight had some of the best balance I've seen a long time. Every line had net presence, some grinding and banging and multiple opportunities to get good shots on net. On the night the Hawks outshot the Sabers 40-29 and played a pretty complete game. It would be great to see them blow teams out of the water, but as long as they keep tightening up as a team and keep scores low, I can live with one goal outcomes.
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