ALL HAIL MEGATRON: Hawks 5, Leafs 3
Sorry Leafs fans. I know, I know, your scrappy team was on a playoff push, not unlike the Blackhawks. And you really needed tonight's game, and you probably thought the rested Leafs squad would be able to take this game from a team that was playing it's 5th game in 7 days. And the Blackhawks had just done you a favor by beating the hell out of the 8th seed Hurricanes last night. Well, sorry, but the time for favors is over.
Toronto came into this game on a bit of run, taking points in 9 of their last 10 games. They had done so in part due to the play their goalie, James "Optimus Reim" Reimer. Reimer lasted a full two period against the Hawks tonight, although it wasn't all his fault. The Hawks completely dominated the first two periods of play, generated enough chances to score 5 goals, and still make it feel like they'd left money on the table. Patrick Sharp probably could have had a hat trick in the first period, and he ended up not scoring at all.
As teams in back to back games often do, the Hawks tired in the 3rd period. Toronto was finally able to turn the momentum in their favor, but Corey Crawford answered the bell. Let's get to it...
Corey Crawford - Crawford was huge tonight. He made several in-close stops on Leafs in the first two periods, but the biggest play of the game was brilliant save on Mikhail Grabovski's penalty shot.
Bryan Bickell - Travis played well, throwing his weight around for once (he planted Dion Phaneuf) and scoring the Hawks 5th goal.
Kane/Toews/Sharp - Hard to believe these guys scored only one goal for the all the chances they had, but that one goal was a thing of beauty, with Toews one timing a perfect pass from Kane to give Chicago a 3 goal lead in the first period.
Penalty Kill - 5 for 5. No the Leafs aren't great on the power play, but Chicago's kill needs all the confidence it can get.
Viktor Stalberg - Vik got credit for deflecting Tomas Kopecky's wrister into the net and thus scored the game winning goal against his old team. So he gets included just to tweak our friends in Toronto.
Nick Leddy - Tough game for the kid. He wasn't the only Hawk who make mistakes tonight, but it just seemed like all of his ended up being amplified. His misplay of a lazy pass got him turned around on the Hawks first goal. He knocked a Leafs dump-in out of mid-air and into the stands for a delay of game penalty, and his attempt to hold the puck in the Leafs zone in the 3rd period resulted in a break away and subsequently a penalty shot for Grabovski. Shake it off, kid.
Did my eyes deceive me, or did I actually see two fans dressed in "red man" outfits at the game? Fro, was that you?
DID YOU KNOW? - WE SHOULDA NEVER LET DAT JOEY CRABBS GUY GO! HE'LL ALWAYS KILL US FOREVER NOW!