The Blackhawks came into tonight coming off a huge win against the Wild that earned them a much needed two points. With Q still out and Hossa & Crawford surging, two points were a big goal against the Blue Jackets tonight.
Just over five minutes into the game, after some fantastic sustained pressure from our first line, a point shot from Keith bounced off a set of shin pads and broke whoever the hell Matt Calvert is on a breakaway. He outmuscled Nick Leddy and beat Crawford to give the BJ’s an early 1-0 lead.
A few minutes later, a neutral zone turnover by the BJ’s was picked off by Patrick Kane who sprung Patrick Sharp for a breakaway and just squeaked it past Steve Mason. 1-1.
Yet another couple minutes later, Patrick Kane won a board battle that allowed Jonathan Toews to take the puck behind the net. Patrick Sharp streaked into the slot, received a perfect pass from Toews and buried a one-timer for his 30th of the season. 2-1, Blackhawks.
The first period would end with the score still 2-1, but with the Blackhawks still having to kill off one minute of a minor penalty. With the exception of the first couple minutes and the first BJ’s goal, the Hawks were absolutely dominant.
Halfway through the second, Antoine Vermette was able to tie the game up on the powerplay by cashing in on a rebound off a Rick Nash shot from a tough angle. 2-2.
With seven and a half remaining, a 2-on-2 into the Hawks zone resulted in a shot that Crawford stopped awkwardly, with it landing down in between his legs, but loose. Derek MacKenzie would eventually poke it into the net to give the BJ’s a 3-2 lead.
After a Nick Leddy penalty with five minutes remaining, the BJ’s would again convert on the powerplay with a screened slapshot from the point from Anton Stralman getting past Crawford. 4-2 BJ’s.
Scant seconds after that goal, Toews would lead a 2-on-1 with Kane into the zone. Toews would make a gorgeous saucer pass to Kane who made no mistake burying the chance to get the Hawks within one. 4-3 BJ’s.
The second period would finish with the 4-3 Blue Jackets lead. The Blue Jackets stepped it up that period and responded like a team in the playoff hunt should. Thankfully, the Hawks eventual started to respond in the same fashion after the fourth BJ’s goal.
Despite many chances on both sides, the score would remain 4-3 through the entire third period, resulting in a frustrating loss by the Hawks. I thought the effort was there for most the game, but the two BJ goals in the second period, both on the powerplay, winds up defeating the Blackhawks and possibly spelling doom for our playoff aspirations.
The first line certainly came to play and they played extremely well. We’re lacking that kind of effort and world beating from the other lines. Granted, the fourth line, appearing once per period, will have a harder time making an impact, but I don’t see the same fire as the first line. The physical effort seems to be there, but the mental I WILL NOT LOSE TO YOU state doesn’t seem to be there for more than 4-5 players and that won’t cut it. Time for ALL of us to realize, this team very possibly could not be a playoff team.
- The first line was a fireworks show tonight.
- I don’t know where he got the idea, but Crawford was playing the puck a bit more tonight and it almost cost us a goal in the first.
- Steve Mason’s helmet is pretty awesome.
- Kane was a monster tonight.
- I’m starting to agree that Leddy is looking way outmatched out there. It might be more due to his massive minutes skating with Keith rather than his skills.
- If Kane/Toews/Sharp is ever split up after tonight, I’ll hurt someone.
- Brouwer’s celebration after Kopecky buried the puck in the off-the-moorings net was funny.
- Patrick Kane: Kaner regained the swagger and fire from last season that we’ve all been yearning for. But is it too late?
- Patrick Sharp: Two goals in the first, both on great plays.
- Jonathan Toews: Another complete effort from the Captain. Two helpers on the night.
ToewsFace of the Game
You can also find this picture in Webster's Dictionary next to "outmuscled."
Ohhhh, ouch Soupy.
This man deserves some type of award. Maybe not season MVP, but something. All heart.