Kick 'Em While They're Down: Hawks 4, Sharks 1
Hey, remember last week when the Sharks were good? San Jose had only two losses when they faced the Blackhawks on February 5th. Chicago hung a loss on them, and they lost 3 games since to make it 6 in a row.
So the Sharks entered tonight's game well rested (last game was Tuesday) and hungry for a win. What they got was completely outplayed by a Hawks team that dispatched them with relative ease. Other than a few nice shifts from Martin Havlat, there was little sustained offensive pressure from the Sharks, and lots of dumb turnovers. I guess I could bitch about the lack of production from the Hawks heavy hitters tonight, but I'm not going to complain about the Blackhawks beating an expected playoff team with only one goal from a their top 6 forwards.
GRITTY GUTTY GRINDERS: The Hawks got their goals from unexpected places tonight - 2 came with the 4th line on the ice, and Andrew Shaw got himself a power play goal by wading into the mess in front of the net and being the last guy to touch the puck before Joe Pavelski knocked it in.
Penalty Killers: Another perfect night for the PK. The Hawks killed off 4 power plays including a 4 minute job from their captain.
Ray Emery: Still perfect as the backup. Let's hope Corey Crawford heals up soon so that Emery can stay in that backup role.
Jonathan Toews Fighting: I'm sure somebody in meathead land is delighted that the Hawks captain showed DA FIRE AND DA PASHUN, but seriously, no more of this. Toews boarded Joe Thornton in the second period, then got pissed at Thornton for begging for a call and dropped the gloves with Jumbo Joe. Toews proved that he's still terrible at fighting, and ended up taking 9 minutes in penalties including the boarding call and an unsportsmanlike conduct cop out. Why was it a cop out? Because the refs SHOULD have given Toews 2 for instigating which would have netted him 2 more because he was wearing a visor. Which would have given the Sharks a 6 minute power play. So no more of this please.
Antti Niemi: Niemi just never looked right tonight, he misplayed several dump-ins, including one that led to a tap in goal for Marcus Kruger, and at times seemed to have no idea where the puck was.
SO UGLY IT WAS GOOD:
Pat Foley's shrieking description of Marcus Kruger's second period goal was so unintelligible that I'm not even sure it was in English. The only thing that could have made it better was if Foley had just taken a huge bite of a sandwich beforehand, and then spit food all over Eddie Olczyk as he made the call.
Up Next: The Hawks take on the defending champs on Sunday afternoon. IT'S HOCKEE DAY IN 'MURICA!