Well, that was a pretty dominant game and I never really felt that the Jets were in this one. Between take aways and outright puck possession, I think the Hawks had this one pretty well under control early on and basically never let up as the game wore on. No disrespect intended to the Jets, but they are a struggling team and the Hawks did exactly what they should have. What I most liked watching tonight were the breakouts. The Hawks were seldom pinned in and they broke out as a team without guys flying the zone, and even at that, Hossa still found a way to perfectly turn up ice for a break away. Defensively, they were also looking really good. On the forecheck, Hossa was his usual beast self and that top line was just picking the Jest apart on almost every shift. Pirri scored a goal when he managed to completely slip his coverage, but otherwise, I thought he was okay. I see him making some nice plays and his judgement looks good. As to be expected, however, I think he is still skating around at times like he doesn't know where to be. On paper, I love the idea of him between Kane and Saad as the former is a playmaker/finisher and latter is a big guy who plays to every bit of his size. I still don't know that the perfect skill set is that would complement those two, but Pirri hasn't found it yet. Still, I'm glad to see him getting more ice time and getting a chance to keep that spot. If he starts to put it together between those two, wow.
In addition to improving team D, I'm seeing more guys cutting to the front of the net and keeping opposing D honest. Toews scored by going there, and Sharp was in place multiple times to the right of Montoya though the passes never quite got there. With a little more luck, the Hawks maybe pot one or two more, but for how aggressive they were playing, they probably also could have given up a couple to a better counter punch team. I think I'm satisfied with how this turned out.
Late in the first period, Toews got sprung for a breakaway that didn't connect. On the ensuing scrum in the corner, the puck squirts up the blue line, Keith shoots at back down low to Sharp who made a nice pass to Toews who pulled the puck to the paint with coverage and slid it five hole on Montoya. Then with just seconds to go, Kane caught a pass just before center ice, skate it up into the zone in front of the benches and then cut across the ice and held the puck until there was a perfect screen of players in front of Montoya and then drilled a perfectly placed shot that Montoya probably never saw.
Late in the second period, the Jets were carrying the puck up the boards and coughed it up near the penalty box and Smith (I think) hit him in stride with a perfect pass and he blew it right by Montoya. Early third period, in a similar set up to the Toews goal, the puck squirted up to Keith who made a nice keep in, he passed it to Sharp and instead of dragging it to the paint, Sharp cut to the slot from about the face off dot and let a pretty wicked wrister go right over Montoya's right shoulder. Not much room there.
Overall, not much to say here. It was a solid game and at times it looked like the Hawks were putting on a clinic. Next up is Dallas who also plays tomorrow. Like the Jets, the Stars are having some offensive and defensive troubles, but I'm sure they will be fired up to "measure themselves" against the Hawks for one game. That's probably a game the Hawks should win, but there's no team that can be taken lightly these days.