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Blackhawks 4 @ Sharks 3 in OT: Game Recap

January 29, 2010

I will confess: I came into tonight’s game expecting very little, but if you asked me why, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Maybe it’s because I tend not to buy into hype, and if there was anything in excess coming into the game, it was that.

But I’ll be damned if the game didn’t live up to its billing. Though it took the Blackhawks nearly five minutes into the period to take their first shot on goal, Byfuglien found the back of the net off a quick shot after Kane slid him the puck. Less than a minute later, Brouwer beat Nabokov stick side for goal #2, forcing McLellan to call for a timeout early in the game. That may have helped, but not immediately. In a move that can only be described as pure cowardice, Ladd shot a Patrick Sharp rebound between Rob Blake’s legs and into the net.

The onslaught came early, but the Sharks aren’t top in the league for nothing. A few minutes after getting down 3-0, the Sharks started to wake up. Pavelski slipped a puck through Huet’s 5-hole, cutting the lead down to 3-1. At this point the Sharks have only had 3 shots to the Hawks’ 8, but 8 minutes later, when the period ended, the shot totals were 9-7 in favor of the Hawks.

The second period was all about the Sharks. They controlled the period early and though the defense held up for the most part–including an unintentional shot block by Seabrook–a Blackhawks penalty taken with 2:20 left in the period led to another Pavelski tally (okay, a deflection off Hossa’s skate that came from a Pavelski shot) that cut the deficit to 3-2.

It was a tied game by the 5-minute mark of the 3rd period after Manny Malhotra tipped in a Rob Blake shot from the blue line, but somewhere around the 8-minute mark the Hawks started putting pressure on. But it was not meant to be, and the game headed to overtime with both teams accumulating 37 shots on goal. By then, however, the Hawks had wrangled control of the game back from the Sharks, and a minute and a half into overtime, with Kris Versteeg driving to the net, Brouwer found an open lane, took his shot, and ended the game 4-3 in favor of the Hawks, who now own the series against the Sharks 3-1.

Notes:

– Dan Boyle wasn’t around, and the Hawks were in the middle of a godawful stretch of their schedule. Let’s not draw conclusions just yet one way or the other about postseason play, even though some are unable to resist doing so. We won’t know until it actually happens.

– I guess getting called out helped, because the top line of Marleau, Heatley, and Thornton were unable to score with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook matched up against them. (Of course, if you’re going to be nitpicky, Keith was on the ice for both Pavelski goals… /pointless shit-stirring)

– Brouwer’s really coming into his own this season, and it cannot be said enough. He’s gelling well with Toews and Kane, and we have him for this year and next at $1m per year.

– I don’t understand why Sharks fans insist on booing Brian Campbell every time he touches the puck. What do people not understand about the term “rental”? I can maybe give Penguins fans a pass when they boo Marian Hossa because hey, there’s a little bit of history there, a little bit of burned bridges and slaps in the faces, but it’s Campbell. Just last year Hawks fans were booing him (however unfairly) because he was on the team.

– Huet came up big tonight, but hey, that doesn’t fool Ross McKeon of Yahoo! Sports, no sirree. Facing the highest number of shots that the Hawks have allowed so far this season, Huet put in a 34-save performance, keeping the Hawks within the game while they were trying to find their legs. This won’t stop the goalie controversy from raging on, however, but take that with a grain of salt–there’s little else to complain about with the team.

– Hawks have 10pts on the road so far, the goal set forth by the coaching staff before they started the trip. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy with that, but I’d also be lying if I said I’m fine with the team losing in Carolina (which has been on a tear lately–figures), especially since I’m flying out there to watch the game. Andrew will be doing previews and recaps, and I’ll try to put together something about the trip when I get back.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2010 11:13 AM

    Well-written. 🙂

    Huet was huge last night, but I’d agree that at this point, goaltending could still be considered the ‘Hawks shaky area.
    However, hockey writers always seem to neglect that element of luck in the playoffs. I think the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes and the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins are a couple good post-lockout examples of that.
    The ‘hawks, if they are lucky, will find some way around whatever deficiencies in play they may have.

    On a final note, as a young (12-13) year old Blackhawks fan in the mid 00’s, I closely followed the Hurrcanes. Yet there were times in my youth when I felt spited by the Blackhawks organization’s woes and Dollar Bill Wirtz, I would find myself trying to find relief in the southern team. That said, there’s a little part of me that secretly wants Carolina to win, but most of me knows the Blackhawks need as many two-point games as they can gather to solidify their playoff position.

    • January 29, 2010 1:01 PM

      I get that. The Kings are pretty much my second team and I find myself rooting for them when they’re not playing the Hawks, even though it could have potentially bad implications for the Hawks some times.

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