Tag Archives: Ken Hitchcock

Blackhawks take down league best Blues in a shootout

30 Mar

Needing a win to get closer to a playoff berth against the team with the most points in the NHL, Chicago turned to Dave Bolland.

Bolland, 0 for 3 in shootouts this season before Thursday, responded with a nice fake before scoring the only goal in the shootout Thursday night as the Blackhawks edged the Blues 4-3.

“You’ve got 20,000 fans screaming,” Bolland said. “You’re thinking of so many moves in your head. For me, it was go down and whatever came to my head, try to put it in. You’re not really sure. Should I shoot? Should I deke? Should I just bury my head and put it through him. Halak’s a good goalie.”

Actually it was 21,659 (109.8% full).

Bolland had been 0-7 in his shoot out career before this 8th attempt of his.

“The extra point was important,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who took the advice of assistants Mike Haviland and Mike Kitchen to insert Bolland in the shootout. “We … did a lot of good things.”

In regulation, the Hawks got goals from Bryan Bickell, Andrew Brunette and Patrick Sharp and looked like they would cruise to victory before they coughed up a two-goal, third-period lead when Jason Arnott and David Perron scored for the Blues.

The Hawks dominated most of the play but the Blues sure turned it up in the last 10 minutes of the game.  Shots were 40 for the Hawks and 20 for the Blues.  The Blues only had 11 shots after the 2nd.  That’s impressive play by the Hawks to keep the leagues best team down like that.

“We were outplayed bad. I don’t even know how we got a point, to be honest with you,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We didn’t compete at a high level. It looked like we wanted the game to be easier.

“We jacked it up for about 10 minutes in the third period and got two goals because of it, but . not going to win many games against that team playing like we’re playing. This is two games in a row in this building where we really haven’t competed for 60 minutes.”

But that 2nd goal.  You just can’t have that.  Crawford fell asleep on that one.  I can’t blame him on the first goal, even though I’d like to.  You really want your goalie to bail you out on that.  You score the first goal of the game and the Blues come down and tie it up 9 seconds later.  9 seconds!!!!  However, it was a hell of a shot.  A fast rising bullet to the top corner.  But that 2nd one.  Come on.  That’s garbage.  The third goal was a redirected screen shot.  Can’t fault Crow on that one.  However, if you didn’t let that garbage 2nd goal in we probably would not have seen OT or the shoot out.

But the Hawks got the 2 points.  If Phoenix would have lost last night in regulation the Hawks would have clinched a playoff spot.  But the San Jose Sharks (who were playing against Phoenix)  lost…in a game they HAD to have.  How could they?  What is with that team?  I’ll tell you what is with them.  Mike Smith.  He has been a nightmare for the Sharks this year.  He has beaten them 5 times out of 6 and shut them out 3 times.  Quebec City should love this team.  The loss dropped the Sharks to 9th in the Western Conference standings.  They were in 3rd a couple days ago.  Tight race.

Back to the Hawks.  Strong games from Stalberg, Sharp and Leddy.  Leddy is looking better and better the last few games.  Stalberg has really been rounding out his game.

Only 2 more games left in the suspension on Keith and Toews has been saying all the right things about coming back.   He has been practicing with the team and says he “feels great right now”.  We will see, he has not been cleared by team doctors for anything.

Next up for the Hawks.  Saturday night in Nashville.  The Predators have pretty much had their way with the Hawks this year.  The last time they met was at the United Center and the Preds won 6-1.  You have to think the Hawks will want to send a message.  It’s very possible the Hawks will see Nashville in the playoffs.

Until then,

TTS

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Blackhawks rally, beat Blues in shootout

14 Mar

Quite a change of pace from last week when the Hawks got manhandled by the Blues in St Louis.  Last night the Hawks didn’t allow themselves to get dominated.  Even though the first period ended 3-1 Blues the Hawks never quit.  They fought back.

That actually dominated most of the game and stat totals.  In the first period the Hawks scored first and out shot the Blues 13 to 6.  Problem was the Blues left the period up 3 to 1.  That was all for Ray Emery.  In comes Corey Crawford to start the second period.  The Blues would not score again.  It wasn’t that Ray played that bad.  I would say only 1 goal was really his fault but the Hawks sure played better in the 2nd, 3rd, OT and shootout.  Shot totals were 46 to 24.  When was the last time the Hawks out shot someone by that far of a margin?  When was the last time the Blues gave up that many shots?

The best stat from last night was in the hit totals.  The hits were 29-29.  A far cry from last week when they were out hit 27-11.  They also lost that game 5-1.

Not this time.  The Hawks, as they’ve shown in the last few games, have some fight in them.  They were not going to get pushed around by the Blues again.  They were not going to allow the Blues to have their way.

The biggest hit, as far as momentum, must have come from Patrick Kane.  Yes…number 88 delivered a huge hit on David Backes.  Backes is usually the one knocking the Hawks around.  But the Hawks, playing as a team, had everyone contributing.  When Patrick Kane is joining in the hit parade you know this team is all pulling on the rope at the same time in the same direction.

Kane has really picked up the mantel of Leader on this team in Toews’ absence. Oh yeah, and Kane was the only skater who scored in the shootout for both clubs.

“I was talking to (Marian) Hossa on the bench and said, `I think I’m going to go backhand top shelf.’ He said, `No, go backhand, five-hole,”’ Kane said. “I listened to Hoss. He knows a thing or two.”

You guys still want to trade him for a past his prime goalie?

At this time of year points are at a premium and to take two points from the league leading Blues is H U G E.  The Blackhawks passed a huge test last night and this team is rounding into form.  Good time of year for that to be happening.  There are still holes on this team but at least we’re seeing some fight from them.  That’s encouraging.

Even when down by a couple of goals against the best defensive team in the league they fought back and won.  That’s not easily accomplished against teams coached by Ken Hitchcock.

The Blues were going for a record of 53 consecutive kills of a power play.  The Hawks scored a power play goal leaving the Blues 2 short of the NHL record.  Sorry.  That will make any Hawks fan warm and fuzzy inside.  Want another fact to make you feel better?  The Blues have now lost in their last 6 visits to Chicago.

I’ll tell you what.  Back in the old Norris division days this was a pretty nasty rivalry.  The last few games have indicated that this feud might be back on boil.  Nothing wrong with that.

Next up for the Hawks – a trip to American Airlines Arena to face the red hot Dallas Stars.  Even if the Stars weren’t red hot right now (they have won 6 in a row and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games) they have given the Hawks fits this year.  Tough match up but the Hawks have shown a lot of fight recently.  Hopefully the bring their A game at the start of the game.

TTS