It would seem that scoring is not a problem these days. Following my last post (sorry about the gap, this has been a rough and busy couple weeks), which tilted towards a slightly disappointed perspective on the Hawks start to the season, the team turned the corner on what had been a scoring problem and provided some of that explosive offense they are none for. This is not to say they have been as dominating in their entire game. There were some gaping issues in their win against the Sens (especially for Khabi), and big win against the Wild, but mostly where defensive coverage is concerned.
The biggest difference has probably been goaltending as it was today. Crawford has been really strong since having an awkward start, and we saw what happens when the other goalie doesn't stand on his head to save the game for his team. The Jets had a very strong 1st period and the Hawks were looking slow. An explosive 2nd and some goals to show for it changed that pretty quickly. Goaltending didn't get in their way this time.
Against the Sens it was our Captain and that ridiculous 1st line who racked up the win. There is no way that any other line in the league can match up to Toews/Hossa/Sharp, and they are kind of proving that now. At some point, I'm sure that it has to change for balance purposes, as Kane is leaving a lot to be admired out of his defensive zone play, even so far as to make a play that gets Pirri sat for some reason. But, for now, Sharp gets to bask in the glory of playing with Hossa and Toews.
Today, the 1st line had its successes, but it was the addition of goals from 2 defensemen and the bottom 6 that brought about the 5-1 win. This is where lesser stacked teams will have their issues with the Hawks, just as the Jets did today. It was great to see Smith get on the board in his first game back and Bollig continues to prove us wrong with his additions to the game.
Is there anything prettier than a Hjalmarsson slap-shot that gets on net? The man has a canon, on top of being the best defense to prevent goals being scored on the Hawks. It didn't quite make it today, but his minutes were much closer to Keith's than in games past. The minutes were more even across the board, which was probably made easier by the score. I would like to see Q do this in close games as well, and admit in more obvious actions that Hjalmer is our #1 defenseman. BTW, Oduya lives across the street from me and his pass to Toews the other night was amazing.
Leddy was the other D-man to get on the board, and one has to wonder how much longer it will be until he starts getting more minutes than Seabrook? Leddy as been looking darn good this year, especially on the power-play and Q continues to avoid taking Keith off the 1st unit to put Leddy in his place. Huh.
Sharp's goal was a beauty and the leading pass from Hossa was even better. Yeah, this line is just too much fun to watch, and I would think Sharpie has made the Olympic team by now.
Anyone else think that Saad is making the USA team this year? I sure as heck do. He's a beast!
In the end, I find myself focused on the little reasons as to why the Hawks have won the last 3 games and scored so many goals. Their defensive coverage needs a ton of work, but I am seeing a little more fight in them to win the small battles. It is these small battles that make a difference, and that difference has added up recently, in the form of offensive pressure and conversion. Nice to see them caring a bit more.
This is a reason why Morin has been so effective in his limited time on the ice this year. He has been in the right places, and fights to win battles. I find it hilarious that he missed a shift early in the game because Q was apparently sitting him for a mistake when he is pretty much doing everything else right and helping that 3rd line produce, but I am glad he got his shot finally. The kid has moxy.
Enough said, onto the Flames where I hope we see continued success on the scoreboard.
Filed under: Game Recap