A BITTER SHOT: Coyotes 4 Blackhawks 3 (SHO)
The Chicago Blackhawks played like dogshit for 21 minutes and 9 seconds, spotting the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-0 lead before Jonathan Toews threw the entire team on his back, scoring two goals and assisting on another, forcing a nerve-wracking shootout before the Hawks fell, 4-3.
Let's get to this:
Jonathan Toews. 2 goals give him 17, good for the league lead. He went a ridiculous 15-2 in the faceoff circle. 13 points in his last 6 games. He went plus-2 for the night, bringing him up to plus-11 on the season. What we have here is a very special player who is having a very special year. He usually doesn't get to white-hot until January. You've been warned.
The shift in momentum. Once Ray Emery replaced Corey Crawford, it seemed like everyone followed Toews' lead. Crawford was pulled tonight because of inept play in front of him. They saved him from the loss, hopefully they carry that support of Crawford into their next game.
The Hawks' Defense until Crawford was pulled. The defense was especially bad, to a man, looking at times like 6 simians trying to make sweet love to a football. The first goal was because Montador had a blowout, and O'Donnell - Veteran Sean O'Donnell - blew his coverage in a textbook 2-on-1. The others were because the Hawks' D couldn't be arsed to actually put any bodies on any puck carriers.
Viktor Stalberg. Apparently, "Viktor Stalberg" is Swedish for "Jack Skille". He has blinding speed...his speed blinds you to the fact that he sucks at hockey. There must be some team in the NHL who is looking for a perpetually tanned, speedy finesse player who can't score. Stan, get on the phone and find out who it is. Besides, I'm damn near out of #StalbergPorn jokes at this point. You've ceased being amusing to me.
Ray Emery in the shootout. There might as well have been a neon light above the net saying "HIGH BLOCKER" for how easy it was for the Great Radim Vrbata to beat him like a convict's johnson.
Next up for the Hawks is a trip to