Running Wild: Hawks 5, Wild 2
REMAIN CALM, ALL IS WELL!
You see? The sky ISN'T falling. The world ISN'T ending. The Blackhawks aren't complete frauds who rode a combination of smoke, mirrors, Hossa, Toews and some sort of Jedi mind tricks to the top of the conference and then finally imploded like so many other teams this year. They just lost a few games in a row. It happens sometimes.
But just in case you wanted to see a team that won with smoke and mirrors to start the season, all you had to do was look across the bench to tonight's opponent, the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota flew out of the gate and rode hot goaltending and just enough scoring to the lead in their division. Then December came and with it the realization that a team save percentage of over 93% MIGHT not be sustainable over a full year. And guess what? It wasn't.
The bottom line is, Chicago is a better team than the Wild and they went out and played like it tonight. The final score was 5-2, but the game never felt that close. Chicago had the better of the offensive chances all night, with both Wild goals coming when Ray Emery coughed up big rebounds (and you thought only Corey Crawford did that).
Rookies - Both Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw netted goals tonight. Shaw's tied the game at 1 and Hayes gave Chicago the lead, and also broke their horrifying power play drought. Of course, Hayes was also on the ice for both Wild goals but SHUT THE HELL UP.
2nd Power Play Unit - The Hawks went 2 for 3 on the power play tonight after going something like 0 for their last 246. Both goals came from the second unit which seems to be doing a lot more simplifying than the top group. The first goal came when Dave Bolland camped out behind the net, baited a Minnesota defenseman into coming after him then flipped the puck to Hayes in front for the score. The second goal came when Bolland hustled to a rebound of a Steve Montador point shot and flipped it past Josh Harding.
Viktor Stalberg - Stalberg's run of AWESOMENESS continues, so screw you, Forklift, Fro Dog and Ski. Seriously though, Stalberg's been playing quite well this season, but now the goals are finally starting to come.
Bolland - Look what happens when Q takes Bolland off the point on the power play and lets him create with the puck down low.
Near misses - not bad so much as frustrating. The Hawks had a ton of good chances that they just quite convert. Luckily, the depth* guys everyone was bitching about 2 weeks ago are picking up the slack.
And yes I realize that Hayes and Shaw weren't up with the team 2 weeks ago.
Patrick Kane - still on the schneid. WHEN WILL PATRICK KANE SCORE A GOAL SO WE CAN DWELL ON SOMEONE ELSE'S SCORING DROUGHT?!?
The guy in the Shoot the Puck contest during the second intermission. I don't remember what he looked like but he used his moment in the spot light to tell Sarah Kustok she was beautiful and that he loved her. I wonder what Sarah thinks of all these great Hawks fans now?
*This is code for all the forwards besides Hossa, Sharp, Toews and Kane