DANZA SLAP: Blackhawks 3, Oilers 2

Who's the boss?

Hoss is the boss.

The Chicago Blackhawks came out flatter than matzoh tonight, stumbling through the first 40 minutes before putting the kids to bed with a Marian Hossa overtime tally to defeat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2 in front of a raucous sellout crowd in the United Center.

Let's get to this:

THE GOOD:

Marian Hossa. He has been one of the Hawks' best players as long as he's been here, and it's easy to take for granted just how good he is night in and night out. Every time he has the puck, the potential exists for something special to happen, and tonight for the 425th time in his career that something has resulted in a puck getting fished out of the net.

The Hawks' defense. Sure, Edmonton got a shorthanded goal in the first period because Duncan Keith had a blowout and lost the puck. But that looked like more of a skate problem, as Keith missed more shifts after that than the time he spit out seven teeth. Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson have been nothing short of outstanding all season, and Oduya's sprawling breakup of a breakaway in the second period could very well have wound up the difference tonight. And Brent Seabrook might only have one ball these days, but it's bigger than what the entire Edmonton team has hanging in their jocks.

The Hawks' depth. At this point, Joel Quenneville hasn't really had to do a whole lot of coaching. He just sends guys out and they do their thing. The line of Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg gave the Oilers fits all night, and Stalberg (who, to be fair, was loafing for a few shifts) knocked in the tying goal in the third period. Patrick Kane was buzzing around the ice the entire night, which helped out the a second line that was sleepwalking for much of the game. Even the fourth line was playing effectively. This is a team with an embarrassment of riches.

THE BAD:

Brandon Saad. The kid had a tough night at the office. He took a hooking and a high sticking penalty, both of which were the result of his not really keeping his twig under control. He was out of sorts the entire night, and wound up being replaced by Gorilla Salad on the top line.

The Hawks' passing. It was brutal all night. Pucks jumping over sticks, everyone trying to be too cute, bad timing. It all led to more botched connections than eHarmony. It's no surprise that once the Hawks came out in the third and knocked off all the Globetrotters shit that they were able to take full control of the game.

THE UGLY:

The Hawks took a bunch of bad, bad penalties tonight. They were lucky to get away with any points at all, let alone two. Fortunately, all the power play time they gave Edmonton, only one snipe from Nail Yakupov was able to find its way past Ray Emery.

So the beat goes on. The Hawks are currently 16-0-3, taking home 35 of a possible 38 points. Next stop is St. Louis, where Thursday night is a tilt with the red-hot Blues. Slak will bring the hate.

 

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