I feel pretty good about crediting Sharp and Crawford with this win. Finally, Sharpie broke threw the wall that was keeping him from having 6 goals on the season and his 200th overall, and netted not only the go-ahead goal, but also the game winning shootout goal.
Crawford was playing his soundest hockey of the season so far, making some very strong saves to keep the Hawks in a game they maybe should have lost by the end of the 3rd. He still seemed a little deep in his net at times, but on a whole, Crow was following the puck extremely well, and making the reactionary saves that he often has problems with.
Yet another game where the Hawks dominate out of the gate, get a decent lead on a team, but can't put them away, play safe and uninterested hockey for a period or so, and then give up said lead. The Canes actually played like they wanted it though.
After the 2nd period, where the Hawks were significantly out-shot, I was expecting a really strong 3rd from them. They played the 2nd safe, and allowed the Canes to shoot from the outside, so while the shots were lopsided in this period, the Canes didn't have many honest scoring chances. I thought this might lead to a 3rd where the Canes were out, and the Hawks would pounce on some chances. Neither of those things happened, and we had a pretty open 3rd period with chances at both sides in which the Canes kept the upper hand and broke through Crawford twice. Not many would fault Crow for these goals.
The Canes were the better team in the OT, even found themselves on the power-play, but the PK was strong for the Hawks last night, and Toews even decided to almost win the game while shorthanded, like he often tries to do.
The Canes were the better team for 45 minutes IMO. Might come as a shock if you only watched the 1st period.
Go to the shootout where Kane didn't attempt his awesome deke move and came up short, Toews schooled Ward, but couldn't finish, and Sharp came through, practically hitting an empty net by the time he let go of the puck, while Crow stopped all 3. Yep, give these 2 points to 10 and 51.
Of course, I am going to question the switcheroos done yet again at the center positions. Handzus went from #2 center, to #4 in the past couple games and back to #2 last night. Pirri was here, and then he was gone, and Kruger has been all over the place with the exception of the #1 center as well. Zus has his positive talking points, but it was he who let Semin easily beat him to slot for the Canes first goal. IMO, we haven't seen anything remotely as terrible from Pirri, or Kruger for that matter. And, yet again, I think Sharp's speed has masked some of Zus's lack there of during regular play.
What was wrong with Shaw as the #2? Did it take away from Saad's effectiveness, and weaken a really strong 3rd line? Maybe, but isn't the best we have at the moment?
Also worth mentioning was the lack of face-off wins from Toews. Zus was the only center who won more than %50. Oh, wouldn't you know it, Sharp won %60.
Once again, Saad showed us that he might be good for 60 goals this year, without even scoring a goal, Shaw was a big factor, and Kane seemed to find his feet and hands for the first time this season IMO. Yes, he did not score a goal, but I thought that was Kane's best game this year.
Bickell, on the other hand, continues to underwhelm.
With the way Toews has been playing, added with the fact that Sharp has looked amazing, Saad is becoming as powerful as Toews, and Kane is finding his stride, the Hawks are power-packed up front. And, for the most part, besides a few miss-steps, the D has looked pretty strong as well. I think we can feel pretty confident in the display so far. They just need to plug a couple of cracks and get onto dominating the season.
Filed under: Game Recap