That’s a nice win.

10 Mar

That was a great game to watch as a fan.  New York played a strong game and so did Chicago.

The Hawks didn’t look anything like the team that was pushed around and owned by the St Louis Blues a couple of days ago.  The Hawks brought it to the Rangers.  They tried to push the play and didn’t sit back and take it.  They were probably out hit 2-1 by the Rangers.  The Rangers lead the league in hits…and fights.  This years Hawks team just doesn’t have that in their DNA.

The Rangers and Hawks battled for control most of the game.  The Rangers didn’t let the Hawks be their high – flying selves but the Hawks didn’t quit.  They didn’t give up.

After the 1st period it was 1-0 and after the second it was 1-1.  Early in third the Rangers went up 2-1.  Game over you would think.  King Henrik in-goal and the Rangers stingy defense don’t lose games when they have a lead in third.  They don’t give up 3 goals either.  Out of 50 games this year they have allowed less than 3 goals 34 times!!!

But the Hawks didn’t care.  They ended up scoring 3 goals in a span of 6:05!  They did that with roughly 7 minutes left in the game!  The Hawks showed some stones in this game.

“If you watch the third period, the game was going our way,” New York coach John Tortorella said. “We were doing fine. We have a defensive mistake, someone falls down and they end up scoring, and then get another one after that. I thought we got back to the way we needed to play. I thought we had some sustained pressure. I thought we did some things along the walls. I thought we checked well.

“It was fun hockey at the end,” Kane said. “These points are huge, especially against one of the best teams in the league.”

Andrew Shaw continued to make himself a fan favorite.  The kid got checked really hard in this game a couple of times.  He even went head to head with King Henrik….literally!  They collided behind the net and smashed their faces together.  Except Hank had a goalie mask on and Shaw needed 10 stitches to close his face back up.  But Shaw picked himself up and kept playing the way he does….face first!  He comes back after getting sewn up and scores a nice goal.  There is no quit and no fear in this kid.

“Shaw had a strong game,” Joel Quenneville said. “Had the puck a lot. Smart player, he‘s tenacious. He’s effective and competitive. He finds a way to get the job done.”

High praise for the 5th round draft pick.

Strong games from Sharp and Kane too both ending the game with 1g and 1a.  Kane’s goal ended up being the game winner.  Nice presence of mind on that goal.  Sharp sent a pass to his feet, Kane was in the blue paint (the Rangers had pulled the goalie) and with two defenders on him he kicked the puck towards the open net but managed to get his stick on it first.  Great hand – eye coordination.  He is so skilled.

The Hawks are now 11-0-2 this season when Kane delivers a multi-point effort and 71-8-12 in his career.

Kane to Hossa to Sharp.  Pretty.

 

But let’s talk about Johnny Oduya.  He picked a fine time to get his first goal in a Hawks uniform.  His goal gave the Hawks their first lead of the game.  He also added an assist and was named the number 1 star of the game.  Sometimes a player just really fits into a teams system.  This appears to be the case with him.  He is playing very solid back there and taking huge pressure off Keith and Seabrook.  The whole back-end looks much more solid since his arrival.

“On a team like this with such high skill you kind of get into that flow a little bit,” he said. “You try to feed pucks to the forwards as you can. On the other hand you try to play good defensively and be responsible and use my skating on the defensive end.”

It’s working for him on both ends. With the return of Niklas Hjalmarsson to the lineup, the defense fits like a glove. Each pair can have a skating D-man coupled with a more stay-at-home type.

“Add hammer [Hjalmarsson] to the mix it really enhances our team defense,” Quenneville said. “You have three pairs and you’re comfortable with matchups and even icings. You have guys that are dependable and reliable. He was a nice fill in a needed area.”

Oduya’s goal should have been the game winner but with just under a minute left Brad Richards of the Rangers scored a goal to make the score 4-3.  That was some impressive hand eye coordination too.  The puck was bouncing and Duncan Keith couldn’t corral it.  But Richards locked his eyes on it and batted in a one time shot.  Impressive.  I’ve been a fan of his from watching the Lightning Stanley Cup run.  There is a reason he won MVP of the playoffs that year over St Louis and Lecavalier.

This is the first time New York has lost 3 in row all season long.

That was a quality win.

Hats off to Blackhawks fans.  Last night’s game was a franchise record 180th straight sell out!  They continue to lead the league in attendance.  That feels so much better than the dark days at the end of old man Wirtz regime.  Check out this stat.  http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance

Keep it going Hawks fans!!!

Next up for the Hawks – the Los Angeles Kings come to town on Sunday.  In a bit of irony that game is Patrick Kane Mouthguard giveaway night.  That’s funny since he can’t seem to keep his in his mouth.  If you haven’t noticed, watch him on the ice and you’ll see 4/5 of the guard sticking out of his mouth.

TTS

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