By Brad Vandenberk
After a Wild weekend splitting a home and home series with Minnesota, it was time to head back to the Madhouse on Madison to take on the visiting Ottawa Senators. This will be the last eastern conference test until December 8th when the Florida Panthers visit the UC.
On Saturday night the Hawks were given a rude awakening when they were beaten badly on home ice by their central division rivals, the Wild, 5-3. Coach Q made some changes to the line up heading into Monday’s game putting Brandon Pirri as his second line centre, between Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. This line combined for 6 points, thumping Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Centre 5-1. This will be the second time this season that the Hawks play back to back games. The Hawks proved that if the Sens want to run with the big dogs, they have to get off the porch.
It was Nikolai Khabibulin’s turn to take the crease, while Illinois native and ex Hawk Craig Anderson got the call for the Senators. Sheldon Brookbank remained in the line up after scoring his first goal of the season in Minnesota. He has been a very good compliment to Nick Leddy on the back end of late. The scratches for this game were Ben Smith, Michal Rozsival and Michal Handzus, who will miss the next 3 games with an upper body injury.
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to pick up where they left off from their domination the previous night. Niklas Hjalmarsson sends a shot on net early which Anderson has trouble seeing but manages to save. Marian Hossa walks out from behind the net and again Anderson stands tall. Brookbank and Zack Smith litter the ice with equipment just as the linesmen come in and break it up. Both players receive 2 minute roughing penalties. During the 4 on 4 Johnny Oduya clears a puck from the crease after it beats Khabby but not the goal line. Bobby Ryan catches Brent Seabrook after he clears the puck; Seabrook slowly heads off but remains in the game. Khabby looks shaky early, but once a shot hits him between the eyes he began to smarten up. Hawks get their first power play of the game when Chris Neil gets called for a high stick on Pirri.
Just 9 seconds into the PP, Patrick Sharp fires a puck from the point and it goes in off Andrew Shaw, cue Chelsea Dagger, the Hawks lead 1-0.
Hossa finds a wide open Sharp at the side of the net but Anderson makes a quick save. Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad break in on a 2 on 1 and Khabby returns to form, making the awkward save. Kane shows off his flare trying to dance through the entire Sens team. He barely manages to get the shot off with one hand. Leddy, Kane and Pirri break in on a pretty passing play but Anderson continues his strong period making the save in close. Toews and Sharp break up the ice on a 2 on 1 and Toews gets stopped.
Just as the period’s last minute is announced, Milan Michalek grabs a loose puck from between Ryan’s feet and beats Khabby glove side. The period ends with the Sens outshooting the Hawks 15-12 and the score tied at 1.
In the second, the Senators come out pushing the Hawks deep in their zone. Erik Karlsson makes a great move at the blue line getting a great chance on net. Seabrook takes the first Hawks penalty of the game for tripping. During the penalty kill, Brookbank, blocks a shot off the knee and hits the ice quickly. He would remain in the play.
With just 6 seconds left in the PP, Clarke MacArthur makes a strong move to the net and Turris is there to put home the rebound 2-1 Sens.
50 seconds later Toews and Hossa break in on a 2 on 1 and Hossa slides his 100th Hawk goal under Anderson’s pads tying the game at 2.
Just under 3 minutes later, Joe Corvo throws a puck at the net and it beats Khabby giving the Sens the lead again 3-2.
55 seconds after that, Zibanejad cuts across the crease and rips a shot past Khabby making it 4-2 Sens. The crowd began to cheer after Corey Crawford jumps the boards and takes his crease back. Khabby hits the showers.
The Sens begin to dominate the Hawks and Crawford is tested early. Sharp takes a drop pass from Toews and fires it over the net, Anderson gets hit by his own teammate giving Toews enough time to come out from behind the net and tuck it in, reducing the Sens lead 4-3.
The Hawks get another chance on the power play when Derek Grant heads off for tripping. Jason Spezza has a shorthanded chance and Crawford makes an incredible save. The Hawks continue to come at Anderson with another chance by Sharp who can’t beat a sprawled out Anderson. Kane is all alone in front of the net and still can’t solve the Sens net minder. The period ends with the Hawks regaining the shot lead 27-26.
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to tie the game. Just 1:20 into the final frame, Toews receives a pass from Oduya and tips it past Anderson.
Crawford finds his groove after entering half way through and robs Cory Conacher point bank in the slot. Brookbank gift wraps a pass to Smith who can’t beat Crawford. Brookbank was all over the ice with a big blast from the point minutes later.
At the half way mark of the period, Sharp enters the zone and sends a pass over to Hossa who leaves it for late man Seabrook. He shots puts the puck on net and Captain serious is on the door step to tip home his 3rd career regular season hat trick. The UC ice is littered with hats!
The Hawks continue to push when Brandon Bollig, Kane and Oduya all get great chances to add to the lead. Youngster Jeremy Morin works hard along the boards and comes out with a great shot, Anderson makes the save but Andrew Shaw is on the edge of the crease to whack home the rebound 6-4.
Just 13 seconds later Smith gets another gift wrapped past on a Kane clearing attempt. He wastes no time and sends it to the top shelf cutting the Hawks lead to just one.
Toews still hungers for more, breaking in with Hossa, the puck is fluttering and Hossa’s shot is off the mark. The Sens pull Anderson with 45 seconds in the period. Sharp just misses the empty net and the Hawks win a wild one 6-5.
-Hawks outshot the Sens 40-37
-Hawks go 1/2 on the power play with the Sens going 1/1
-Toews 9/23 in the faceoff circle. Shaw 8/15, Pirri 7/15, Kruger 3/7
-Duncan Keith led all Hawks with 24:08 of TOI, Next closes Hawk was Seabrook 22:38
-Hawks now have 3 days off before and 3:00 EST game on Saturday in Toews home town of Winnipeg.