Ah everything is right in the Blackhawks world, well almost everything. There is still a long ways to go but, this game was huge for a several reasons.
The St. Louis Blues lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, which meant the Hawks could pick up some ground and pick up ground they did. At the same time they distanced themselves from these same Winnipeg Jets, who were just three points behind the Hawks coming in. The Hawks gained a valuable point on them and have games in hand on Winnipeg that looms larger and larger as the season goes on.
Coming into the game both teams were struggling. The Jets had lost five in a row prior to this game and the Blackhawks were coming in off...
The Blackhawks came into this game well rested and the Jets came in off of a game the night before in Dallas yet it was the Jets that again had more energy and out worked the Hawks to skate away with their third win this year at the United Center.
The Winnipeg Jets have take six point from the Hawks and are now only two points behind them in the Central Division. Somehow the Hawks are going to have to figure this team out or hope they don’t meet them in the playoffs.
The game started off in the first period with the feel of a playoff game to be sure. There was plenty of intensity with a very physical first period.
The Hawks started the scoring on a Brandon Saad bac...
The Hawks came into this game on the second of back to back games and it looked like as the game wore on the fatigue factor caught up with the team.
The Hawks actually opened up the scoring with a two on one play with Jonathan Toews shooting the puck and a rebound going conveniently right to Brandon Saad who just tapped it past Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens.
Saad had the only other Hawks goal in the second period with a similar play to his earlier goal with another two on one with this time with Marian Hossa. Unfortunately the Oilers were able to muster goals from Pouliot, Roy, Yakupov and an empty netter by Taylor Hall.
The Avalanche had a "goalie win" versus the Blackhawks earlier this week; last night, Chicago did the same versus the Wild.
There's been few games this season where the Blackhawks have been held under 25 SOG; last night, they had just 20 - but 4 of them were goals, including one empty-netter.
Chicago broke the streak they were on by scoring first, for the first time in seven games, a Patrick Sharp goal 5:08 into the opening period. Patrick Kane would stretch the lead to 2-0 by the end of the period with a power play goal on Thomas Vanek's 5-minute penalty.
Jason Zucker put the Wild on the board just 1:03 into the second.
The Hawks came in looking to rebound off of their loss in New York vs the Islander and bounce back they did. Most importantly they worked hard to beat a very hard working team and can take pride in their efforts and skate away with a solid team win.
Coming in the Hawks had to play within less than 24 hrs to a rested Calgary Flames team but somehow the Hawks were able to muster up the energy to put together a win.
The game also so Tim Erixon make his debut in a Blackhawks jersey and played on the third defensive pairing with Rozsival. Erixon had a solid game for his first and looked pretty comfortable on the backend. Welcome to Chicago and good luck with the Hawks.
The Hawks/Canucks rivalry is not what it used to be or maybe the Canucks have matured and realize that regular season points are more important than shenanigans and cheap shots. Other than the constant raining of boos when Duncan Keith handled the puck the temperature of the area and on the ice was anything but heated.
The Hawks were coming into Vancouver with this being the second of back to back games and the third game in four nights and the Hawks looked tired in the first period.
Luckily for the Hawks goalie Corey Crawford who came in playing his eleventh game in the Hawks nets was not tired and fatigued and kept his team in the game.
The Hawks were looking for some young energy from rookies Adam Clendening, Joakim Norstrom and making his NHL debut Phillip Danault. Antti Raanta was supposed to be manning the Hawks nets but due to illness Corey Crawford plugged the pipes for the Blackhawks.
The captain Jonathan Toews lead the way early in the first period when on a beauty of a two on one Saad was able to find a wide open at the far faceoff circle Toews who got it past Oilers goalie at the time Ben Scrivens.
Before the announcer could finish crediting Toews with the goal Marcus Kruger scored from almost the same spot on the ice after much hard work on the boards by line mates Ben Smith and Joakim Norstrom to ...
The Chicago Blackhawks (11-7-1) continue their circus trip with a game at the Oilers tonight in Edmonton.
This season, the Oilers are languishing at the bottom of the Pacific division with a 6-11-2 record. They're having problems scoring, and more importantly, they're having problems keeping the other teams' goals out of their net: they have 3.37 GAA versus 2.53 G/G. Their power play is more like a power pffft and their penalty kill is below 80%. The Oilers have won just 2 of 10 games they've played to date in November, and they're hungry for a win - or even just points. Edmonton is 0-9-1 versus the Western Conference so far this season.
The Blackhawks (10-7-1) are starting off their ten-day annual "Circus trip" tonight with a game versus the Calgary Flames.
Historically, the late November swing - nicknamed the "circus" trip becuase of the circus which sets up shop at the United Center for two weeks, forcing both the Blackhawks and Bulls out on the road - has been a bonding experience for the team, both off and on the ice. The Blackhawks have been 17-7-1 during their past four circus trips.
Calgary has been a pleasant surprise among the Western teams so far this season, going 12-6-2 (26 points) to date, which puts them third in the Pacific, ahead of both the Kings (24 points) and ...
The Islanders (6-2-0) have proved to be a confident bunch and the high scoring offense looked to flex their muscles early on against Winnipeg (3-5-0) at the Coliseum. The upstart Isles team has played well and beaten teams that were challenging cogs on their opening schedule but haven’t faced an inferior opponent since Carolina.
The Jets came into 2014-15 without any lofty expectations to burden them. Now they are expected to do even less with an injury sidelining premiere player Evander Kane. Struggling to score goals and without any reliable sources of sustainable offense, they should be dominated by the Isles on any given night. The Isles are clearly the better team at this junction of the season in every facet of their game.
But as every fan and analyst knows, projections and predictions mean nothing when the teams step on the ice. Hockey is a game with its ups and downs built on emotion, momentum and grit. On any given night, the NHL provides a stage for teams to upset supposed better teams.