HAWKS MAKE IT AFTER ALL: Blackhawks 4 Wild 3 (SHO)

The last time the Chicago Blackhawks had a game of any importance against Minnesota, Dirk Graham was plowing into the North Stars' Jon Casey. Tonight, The Hawks were in Minnesota, playing the Wild in a matchup of the teams with the best records in the Western Conference.

They've certainly taken different paths to this point. The Hawks' early success has been the result of their high-flying offense, which has four players (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane) averaging over a point a game, while the Wild has played the stifling defensive style we've come to know and love watched while feeling our souls die.

The Hawks punched, then the Wild counter-punched, tying the game after a two-goal lead, then again after the Hawks grabbed a one-goal lead. Finally, the Hawks were able to put the Wild away, winning in a shootout, 4-3.

Let's get to this:


Jonathan Toews. A goal and an assist. The assist was his 300th career NHL point. Each point gave the Hawks the lead. Then he gave the Hawks the lead for good, scoring as leadoff hitter in the shootout.

Duncan Keith. A +2, and a huge takeaway on Matt Cullen, killing a shorthanded breakaway. He didn't get any points tonight, and he's only +4 on the year, but check back around President's Day, and I think we'll see him at or near the top of the leaderboard of Norris candidates again. He's getting his groove back.

Ray Emery. He stopped 21 of 24 shots, then was the beneficiary of the Wild trying to beat him low in the shootout after I thought everyone on this planet and a few planets that only Steven Hawking knows about knew you could beat him high blocker all day long. Still, as long as he keeps the games in reach, the skaters can fill the other net. In the meantime, he buys Corey Crawford time to fix his assorted glitches.

Patrick Kane. If only for his shootout winner. Skated in, slowed down to a snail's pace while throwing approximately 108 dekes on Niklas Backstrom before flicking the puck into an empty net. It was just wrong.


Dan Carcillo. Got his ass kicked in a fight with Brad Staubitz, took a dumb penalty, got shoved down by Kyle Brodziak in a "shut the fuck up while the grownups are talking" moment. I think we've reached the point where we can be happy he's only on a one-year deal - he's regressed to his own level.

Steve Montador. It seems lately that the Hawks' worst defensive pairing every night is Montador and Scott/O'Donnell/Lepisto. Maybe Montador is more of a contributor to that than we're giving him credit for.

I'll make a quick mention of the shanked icing call by linesman Dan Shachte. There, I've done it.


Goddamn, the Wild are ass-achingly dull. A couple weeks ago, I watched them and their stupid-assed trap against Tampa's 1-3-1 defense, and I felt like I was watching a game of table hockey where the puck winds up in the dead spot that none of the little guys can reach, no matter how hard you spin them. Next season, we get to see even more of this shit when they're in the same division as the Hawks. Guh.

Next up for the Hawks is a Friday night home game against Bruce Boudreau and the Fuckin' Ducks.


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