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Blues 3 @ Blackhawks 2: Game Recap

February 4, 2010

Well, that was quite a clunker. A turd sandwich, even–two Blackhawks periods thin on goals and a 3-goal second period that was all the Blues needed to come out of the United Center with 2 points.

Patrick Kane started it off with a shot that beat Chris Mason plain and simple–from the Hawks zone, he somehow got ahold of the puck and, with Brouwer muscling past the Blues, skated all the way down to the Blues end to put one up for the Hawks. Then, during a penalty kill early in the 3rd period, Toews delivered a gift of a pass to Hossa who hammered the puck right into the a basically empty net.

The second period, though, is quite a different story altogether.  It started with a Backes goal, created when Keith tried to pass an errant puck behind the net to Seabrook. It was a soft pass, however, that Kariya managed to chase. He then passed it to Backes, uncovered, who made no mistake. He took his shot and it went in. His second goal of the night came in the last 2 minutes of the period during the power play with a shot from the point. The 3rd goal, and the Blues’ game-winner, happened in the last 30 seconds of the period. From a 3-on-1 with Bolland and Sharp, Ladd decided to take a shot that ricocheted off the boards and retrieved by the Blues’ Jackman, who took it down to the Hawks’ zone. Both Campbell and Hjalmarsson went down to try and block his shot but the Blues kept it in, and when Ladd attempted to clear the puck out of the zone it only landed on Polak’s stick, who happily shot it toward the net where McClement was in position to give the Blues a 2-goal lead.

Despite the shorthanded tally and a rally of sorts in the third, the Hawks could not come up with a way to tie the game. It is just their 6th regulation loss on home ice.

Notes:

– Hossa now leads the league in shorthanded goals. I take delight in this only because he has usurped the lead from Burrows, who has the same number of shorties but in more games played.

– I can’t be the only one surprised that this was a surprisingly low-penalty game, right? It got a little chippy towards the end but for the most part, the boys were behaved.

– It was Bolland’s first game after missing the last 41, and the United Center sure missed him. They cheered when his name came up on the jumbotron during warm-ups, and cheered some more when he took his first faceoff. (He lost it, by the way.) Quenneville started inserting him into the 2nd through 4th lines throughout the game and he saw 13:46 of ice time. He even managed to survive a cross-check and hit a guy. Attaboy, Bollie.

– Someone tell Sharp that Bolland’s not quite the 2nd line center yet. Sharp won 1 of 6 faceoffs, good for 17%.

– I’m sure it’s been said already, but tonight was not one of Keith’s better games, despite the bobblehead giveaway.

– Hammer’s stick should be glued to his hands. He dropped it at least thrice tonight.

– I know we’ve been wailing about defense the last few games, but tonight the problem could also be due to an anemic offense. Maybe Chris Mason stood on his head, but it seemed to me that there were quite a few nice chances that just didn’t get finished. There was a moment last night, for instance, when Kopecky streaked down the ice and was, I believe, all alone with Mason, but he didn’t even whiff, or flounder, or whatever–he just didn’t take a shot. There were other moments as well, last night, or at least this was my impression of it, when the offense generated decent scoring chances that just didn’t get converted one way or another. In the end, the shot totals were 34-19 in favor of the Hawks, but the score was 3-2 to the Blues. This will even out, though, as it is wont to do in the course of a season.

Up Next: The Blackhawks face the Coyotes tomorrow. I will probably mention this again in tomorrow’s preview, but the Coyotes now have the chance to hand the Blackhawks their first three-game losing streak of the season. We’re the only team without one. Yeah, we’ve been a little spoiled, but hopefully it stays that way a little bit longer.

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