Lundqvist: Hawks 2, Rangers 1 (OT)
The New York Rangers have two things going for them, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist, and that was enough to beat the Hawks tonight. Gaborik was given too much room during a shift in the first period and was able to find Chris Higgins (also left alone) who beat Huet with a nice shot. Then Lundqvist nearly made it hold up the rest of the way, turning more than 30 shots before the Blackhawks finally broke through with a goal on a power play by Jonathan Toews late in the 3rd period.
Then Dustin Byfuglien blew my mind with a 5th gear I never knew he had to spring himself on a breakaway for the game winner in overtime.
Henrik Lundqvist: The Hawks weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination tonight, but they were obviously the far better team, dominating play for long stretches. Make no mistake, Lundqvist was the sole reason that New York wasn't blown out, and the single point the Rangers got belongs to him.
Dustin Byfuglien: Where the hell has that been? Big Buff won the game in overtime with a speed burst he must have been saving up for the last 3 years. He blew past the Rangers' defense and scored on a nice move against Henrik Lundqvist to win the game in overtime. Nice work, Buff.
THE STREAK IS OVER!: Finally, the Hawks get a win against the Rangers, which Pat Foley repeated reminded me, they hadn't done in over 4 years! During which the teams played 3 games against each other. Huh, doesn't seem so bad when you look at it this way. So we won't, MR. QUENNEVILLE HAS TORN DOWN THIS WALL!
Patrick Sharp (even strength): Sharp centered Patrick Kane and Troy Brouwer tonight, and looked good doing it, winning 9 of 11 faceoffs, and getting 10 shots on goal.
Sharp on the point: I think we're going to leave this in "The Bad" permanently, even if Q stops doing it, just as a reminder. I mean, this is beyond idiotic now. Sharp doesn't have a good shot from the point, and he's not particularly adept at long passes from there either (watch the 3rd period PP's again and you'll see what I'm talking about). The one thing the Hawks do like to try with Sharp is to have him sneak in for a back door pass, which is an extremely low percentage play, and of course leaves the point uncovered for an easy clear if (when) the pass doesn't get through. I'm not blaming Sharp for this in any way, but the coaching staff needs to stop playing him out of position. I honestly don't know why Seabrook isn't out there.
The post game interview between Sarah Kustok and Dustin Byfuglien included one of the worst questions ever conceived. It was something along the lines of: "you've beaten the New York Rangers for the first time in 4 years, how does it feel and does this establish the Hawks as an elite team in the Western Conference?" What? How would beating a shitty team from the Eastern Conference establish the Hawks as a Western Conference contender? I would think that pounding San Jose in the Shark Tank probably did that. I hope for Sarah's sake, she didn't write that question. Oh, and again with the "losing streak". Thank goodness it ended. Our long national nightmare has finally ended.
Up next: The Hawks are rewarded with trip a to Buffalo for a game on Friday. Expect much bad weather and cab driver hilarity to ensue.