The fans at the UC ended up receiving treats on Monday night (BECAUSE IT WAS HALLOWEEN IF YOU HAVEN'T FIGURED IT OUT YET FROM ALL THE OTHER PUNS ON HOCKEY SITES) after the Blackhawks beat the Predators in Super Fun Extra Hockey Time. It was a nerve-racking game from the get-go and stayed hotly contested until the last goal was scored, but alls well that ends well, right?
Before I could even sit down on my couch, the Hawks were losing. CrawDaddy misplayed a puck behind his net, which led to an easy goal for the Preds just 26 seconds into the game. For those of you who do not know much about strategy, giving up a goal early to a trap team is usually a poor idea. The Hawks continued with the craptastic play until about the 5 minute mark of the first period. The Predators took a few penalties, but the Blackhawk power play looked absolutely dreadful. This would become a recurring theme. So much so that I was playing the Benny Hill theme music during every power play for the rest of the game.
After some back and forth play mixed in with some faily power plays throughout the rest of the period, Patrick Kane levelled the score. With under a minute to play in the first, Kane picked up a (pretty lucky) bounce in the low slot and fired one five-hole on Rinne.
Craig Smith took advantage of a Hawks defensive breakdown 6 minutes into the second period that gave the Predators a 2-1 lead. Montador and Lepisto misplayed a puck and Brunette set a nice little screen on Craw to create the goal. Leddy scored on a one timer from Kane halfway through the second. Then Patric Hornqvist scored his obligatory goal against the Blackhawks on a 5-on-3 with a minute to go in the period. The Hawks went into the second intermission down 3-2, being outshot 20-14.
I wouldn't say the Hawks dominated the third period, but they definitely controlled the flow of play. Kane picked up his second goal of the night just five minutes in. When you have Hossa, Sharp, and Kane coming in 3-on-2, there should be a congressional subcommittee investigating for unfair competitive advantages. The Hawks took their first lead of the night on a quick wrister from Bickell. Frolik fought through a few checks to keep the puck and then dished to Bicks to create the goal. Very nice play to highlight a solid night overall for Taters.
Before Gene Honda could get done announcing Bickell's goal, the Preds tied it right back up on a goal from David Legwand. Breakdowns in the defensive coverage in addition to rebounds in the slot will usually mean red lights going on. On to Super Fun Extra Hockey Time we would go.
Not wanting to leave anything in doubt, the Hawks didn't even let Nashville get a shot on goal in the extra frame. Just 2:16 in Viktor Stalberg skated the puck out of his own end and then surprised everyone in the world by cutting to the middle. Its surprised Rinne so much that he must not have seen the shot as it beat him five-hole for the OT GWG.
- Patrick Kane dominated this game with two goals and an assist.
- Duncan Keith took a puck to the left wrist and didn't return to the game. That'll be cause for concern going forward. Let's all just hope that it isn't broken.
- Remember how we traded Jack Skille and got Michael Frolik in return? What an awesome trade.
- Normally when two goalies both have save percentages of .857 it means they had sub-par games. I think both goalies played well, especially Rinne. He made some ridiculous saves that kept the final score from being in double digits.
- I've hated Jordin Tootoo for a long time, so I was very, very happy when Crawford made the breakaway save on him.
- Jonathan Toews wins faceoffs. It is what he was built to do.
We've finished the first month of the season, so now is as good a time as any to look back at what's happened in the first 11 games.
- 16 out of a possible 22 points is good for second best in the NHL in point percentage.
- 3.27 goals per game is good for third in the NHL and first in the Western Conference.
- The Hawks are tenth in the NHL in goals against. Edmonton is in first and they're allowing less than two goals per game on the back of Khabibulin. Yeah, THAT will last reaaaaalllll long.
- If the season were to end today, everybody would be wondering what the hell happened to the other 71 games we were promised.
- The Blackhawks have the best goal differential in the Western Conference.
- How can a powerplay unit with Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, and Keith be so awful? Why can't Mike Kitchen design a breakout that doesn't end in the Hawks turning the puck over? And most importantly, why aren't any of the beat writers asking these questions?
- At least the penalty kill has been totally awesome.
- Hooray for not having goalie problems for the first time since I can remember!