No Panic in the MTS Centre

Despite PK, Toews carries Blackhawks in another win at Winnipeg.

By Michael Calvert

Both starting goalies came out looking strong in this game, although Corey Crawford only saw two shots on net during the first 10 minutes of the 1st quarter.  Ondrej Pavelec had to face quite a bit more pressure but was up to the task, at least in the early going.

1st period:  The Hawks came out with a familiar looking lineup Ben Smith playing in replace of Bickell, or you could say Ben Smith playing significantly better in place of Bickell, either way works really.  Rozsival is D man #6 and Steeger is down on the 3rd where he belongs.

The Losipeg fans really don’t care for Kaner, they gave him the business usually reserved for rental players returning or dudes who just physically destroyed one of their stars.  I know Kane is not the former, and he really hasn’t got any track record of the latter.  I guess the fan’s like to boo?  How could you blame them?

Crawford continues what seems to be a pattern of really bad puck playing by serving one up to Winipeg and a good defensive play keeps the puck out of a goalie-less net.

The game goes on as a fairly well played game in the neutral zone, both teams had d-zone turn over issues, especially Losipeg. The Jets d-zone deficiencies would really come to bite them in the ass.  However, in the first they just made Pavelec look really good. Eventually as it is wont to do, talent rose to the top.

Kaner shut the boo birds up at 17:26 with what I guess could best be described as textbook Kaner.  With Buff and Shaw screening the net Kane fires a perfectly placed wrister past Pavelec on the pp.  Kane reminds me of Young Dr Frankenstein playing darts with police officer Kemp, just really nice placement.  Like Dr Frankenstein he makes it seem so smoothly effortless, again just a real treat to have the guy in the Indian head.  It’s funny because Kane did literally shut up the fans, they really didn’t boo him much more after that.  Kane 1-Losipeg fans 0, ironically the same score of this game.

2nd period: Hawks get an early pp that really looks more like a Jets pp and Keith takes a heady penalty to stop an open net opportunity for lone Jet scoring threat Brian Little.  On the ensuing 4-4 Marian Hossa dominates off the wall beating two Jets twice to secure the puck get a clean break off the wall and feeds Saad for a one time beauty.  2-0 Hawks.  The play by Hossa was pretty marvelous, it’s one of those things that makes you forget to worry about his contract, when he’s on he’s dominant like no one on the Hawks.

This lead would last literally 40 seconds.

Less than 20 seconds later Andrew Ladd rips a catch and shoot wrister past Crawford, nice all around play.  I miss badly Andrew Ladd, he’s the only guy from the 10’ team I really hoped not to lose and would love back.

Again, no more than 20 seconds later the Jets score again, who are these guys?  The Jets now have some jump in their game and any thought about an easy ass kicking handed out to the home team should be reevaluated.

After a minute with 3 goals, 2 for the Jets, the game gets back to a fairly tight checked game played a lot in the neutral zone.

With a little less than 9 minutes gone in the second Toews decides to take over the game.  Toews beats Ellerby to the outside and then outworks him into the goal area and puts one short side over Pavelec; sweet.  The Jets however were not interested in going down early and really big Buff puts a wrister past crow two and a half minutes later and we go into the 3rd tied.

3rd period:  Continuing with the Jonny Toews showcase, he puts a great , long backhand pass on the tape of Hossa for an easy tap in the Hawks take control of the game from here.

At 5:32 the 4th line scores a dirty 4th line type of goal on a pretty nice all around play by Ben Smith.  Smith takes the puck from behind the net to the dot then as he cuts into the middle hits Krueger who has his shot blocked by Pavelec but Smith pounces on it to put the Hawks up 5-3.

Yadda Yadda Patrick Sharp scores on the empty net and the Hawks beat the significantly lesser Losipeg Jets 6-3.

Notes

Crawford looked alright, which is good by me.  Generally it seems like he’s on or off, great or bad, rarely just so-so.  Most of the Jets goals were pretty decent, but there were 3 of them and they are the Jets.

Ben Smith looked good, take away his great all around play on his goal and he was still noticeable, a difference maker.  Yeah, Bicks was good last playoffs…

Crawford is really bad at playing the puck.  I would have thought he’d at least have some stick handle from pond hockey.  Do these guys just get put into a position at like age 2 and that’s it?  Anyway, Corey please keep in net and away from a microphone.

Damn it feels good to be a Hawks fan.

Michael Calvert

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