It's funny hearing people rant about narratives in sports journalism. It's funny because the story going into the night was the Blackhawks' struggles on the shootout (scoreless in six tries), the shootout drills held during practice, and what happens when the Hawks play against the Ducks the very next game? Boom. Shootout.
To be fair, it was something that felt almost predestined from the beginning. While you'd be hard-pressed to say the teams traded chances like the Avs and Hawks did last Saturday, and the Hawks did outshoot the Ducks at least initially, the ice tilted fairly evenly throughout the start of the game. It was scoreless after one period where the Blackhawks neither looked too dominant nor were dominated by the Ducks. Where the Hawks, however, could previously boast of not getting more than one penalty per game, they were able to amass two within one, the first a tripping penalty by Sean O'Donnell, and the other a slashing penalty in the waning seconds of the period by Dave Bolland. (Little did we know that would be the second story of the night for the Men of Four Feathers.)
Naturally, the Ducks' top line scored 59 seconds into the next period. Another penalty seemed like it might put the distance between the Ducks and the Hawks, but the kill survived, enough to give Kane and Hossa the chance to work their magic and even the game when Kane spun-o-rama'd a pass to Hossa, who was standing right by an open net ready to poke the puck in before Hiller even knew what was going on.
But a Hawks/Ducks game is not a Hawks/Ducks game without a Teemu Selanne goal, who picked Kaner's pocket and, alone in front of Crawford, put the Ducks up by a goal. The Hawks couldn't do much afterward, but the Ducks paid the Hawks back their late-period penalty with another one of their own. Sadly, the Blackhawks did not do as the Ducks did, and were unable to convert on the power play.
Patrick Sharp tied it up after a beauty of a pass by Patrick Kane (Guy's got a future in the league, doncha think? If only he weren't so damn lazy.) with Jonathan Toews screening Hiller. Noticing a bit of a pattern there? Yeah, me neither.
Kaner then went to the box, and then Hossa followed him a few minutes after. Nobody scored on any ensuing power plays, thank goodness, and the game went to overtime, where the best chances came for the Hawks. Unfortunately, the game was determined not to end in those five minutes, and to shoot-out it did go, where finally, Kane and Toews were both able to absolve themselves of their atrocious showings in shootouts past (all of two games--honestly, the nerve of these boys) and scored to win the toin coss.
One narrative down, fifty more to go.
Thoughts, short and sweet because I'm tired:
- One day, Frolik will score again. The man had two great chances and it was just him and Hiller. Alas, neither chance found him with a goal. He's still better than Jack Skille.
- I can probably just watch Dave Bolland check a referee on loop forever and ever.
- Patrick Kane giveth and taketh. But I'll take a minor penalty here and there for continued chemistry with Hossa and Sharp.
- It is probably the inefficiency with which we started the season on shootouts, but I'm happy to see Joel Quenneville experimenting with different players on the shootout, especially those whose names don't rhyme with Shatrick Parp.
Star of the Night:
Gunner Williams, that kid who won the shootout game. Maybe Q should've slotted him in between Tazer and Kane, amirite?