Blackhawks Play with Their Food - Blackhawks 5, Devils 3
Coming off an overall fart-laden effort on Long Island last night, the Blackhawks ventured to New Jersey to face Martin Brodeur, Jaromir Jagr and a bunch of somewhat less ancient guys in Devils uniforms, all of whom have last names starting with "Z." Would the 'Hawks bounce back and curb stomp the Garden Staters as they should? Let's find out.
The Devils are the NHL's version of Underpants Gnomes, and their plan for success is no secret: Step 1. Sign Martin Brodeur; Step 2. . . . Step 3. Win. I mean, let's face it: New Jersey is now a less attractive hockey destination than Atlanta ever was. It's science. Their captain is Bryce Salvador. Enough said.
Yet, somehow the Blackhawks couldn't replicate the dominance they displayed during their December 23 tilt against this same Devils squad at the United Center, at least not for an entire 60 minutes. For a good 10 minutes in the third, maybe, but even after going up by 3 in the third, they couldn't tighten the garrote until Patrick Sharp potted his third of the night with only 90 seconds left.
The Innocent: Patrick Sharp. His second hat trick in 5 games. He was a handsome man on fire all night, drawing a penalty before I even managed to get my pants off (for proper game viewing), sniping the Hawks' first goal glove side high on Brodeur in the 2nd, scoring from a near-impossible angle in the 3rd for his second, and avoiding a Brodeur poke-check on a breakaway in the third for his third. Handsome, indeed.
Brandon Saad. Put him on whatever line you want, the kid keeps producing chances. There's nothing he can't do. Kneel before Saad, you plebes!
Antti Raanta, the NHL's Co-Rookie of the Month for December, was fucking nails when the team needed it. I lost count of how many times he bailed out his defense in the first and second.
Duncan Keith only had three assists and a solid defensive night. Ho-hum! Boring!
Despite giving up a goal late, the penalty kill was solid for the most part, as it has been recently, despite two of the Hawks' penalties being taken by Kruger.
The Indicted: The power play was less than stellar. It's New Jersey. Toews, Kane, Hoss, Sharp and company should be feasting on their innards like buzzards in the Pine Barrens. Going 0-for-2+ on the night with not much happening on either PP was a minor disappointment.
Two penalties taken by Marcus Kruger. Bad Swede! No meatballs!
The Guilty: If Handzus were in a race with Martin Brodeur in full gear and my dead grandmas, Zus would finish last. Stan Bowman should the kind thing and put him out to stud.
Sheldon "The Accountant" Brookbank. Holy shit. There's not enough alcohol for this. He was a sinking ship all night, and he took Nick Leddy with him. Tax season is coming up; can we trade him to H&R Block for a ream of paper?
Overall, it could have been better and could have been worse, and I could have drank more beer, but it's only 9:00 Friday night and the Blackhawks got two points. That's a good thing, what with the Blues having about a million games in hand at the moment.
Up next, a day off and the Sharks at Fort Kickass on Sunday evening. Enjoy your weekend, degenerates, and don't forget Gonna Drinken is just 8 days away!