By Michael Calvert
The Hawks came into St Paul riding a one game losing streak after dropping one in heart breaking fashion to the Stars.
Aside from the first, the lines looked much different. Kris Versteeg played center for the second line, and I thought played fairly well. Recent call ups Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom played on the third line with d man Sheldon Brookbank; you know Harding was shaking in his skates looking at that line. The Hawks kept the 4th line of Bollig, Krüger and Ben Smith intact.
Defensively the Hawks put Hjalmarsson out with Keith in an attempt to make sure that Hjalms and Oduya took the top scoring line against Minny; good idea, Keith and Seabs were a -2 in this game.
1st period: Two minutes into the game and Joakim Nordstrom sets up Parise with a beautiful dump pass, one can only hope that wasn’t his intention. Parise fortunately didn’t pot the silver plattered pass and the game remains even. Nordstrom stunk in this game, I wonder how far into the doghouse Pirri really is? No sooner than I thought to myself “oh great that asshole is on the Wild,” Matt Cooke buries a wrister past Crawford 1-0 Wild. Nice play by Cooke, he was checked off the puck by Toews in the Wild zone but hustled back, found open ice and was left uncovered and put in a pretty nice goal.
At this point in the game, it is all Wild, controlling large chunks of time in the Chicago zone. Right in the midst of a long Wild possession in the Hawks D-zone Patrick Sharp gets a breakout pass and has Harding one on one. Sharp puts a nice move, lousy shot on Harding and he makes a nice save. Sharp looked like he belonged on the Wild yesterday he was all over the place in the 1st and if not for Harding’s great play easily could have had one or two goals.
Hopefully the Hawks could come away with one message from this period: The D zone is a lousy place for pretty drop passes. Multiple Hawks spoon fed Minny the puck in their zone on a no look dump that didn’t work.
2nd period: The game gets it’s first penalty real quickly into the second when Keith is called for interference at the 0:11 mark. Minny’s pp sucks and it was no better on this attempt. At the end of the pp Keith got a partial break but looked awfully d-manish on it and Suter easily broke it up. I suppose this is why d-men don’t take penalty shots, he almost looked like a power forward in basketball trying to dribble the ball down the court, not hilariously bad, just not pretty.
On the second Hawks pp the Wild fare a little better and Parise easily deposits a loose puck from doorstep to twine. Oh yeah, the Blackhawks penalty kill sucks as bad as the Wild pp. THIS HAS TO END. Stanley Cups are won with good penalty kills.
Call it the Hawks fan in me, but at this point I honestly thought to myself here we go and fully expected a comeback.
It looked like the Hawks would be going into the 3rd down two, but Morin put in a nice bounce with an equally nice shot to beat the mostly unbeatable Harding with :17 seconds left. Seriously, 17.
3rd period: Almost right off the bat and Brandon Saad beats Harding with another high wrister, beautiful shot all tied up.
The Hawks got their second pp of the game and this time made it count when Hossa put a high roofer past Harding (maybe there’s a book out on Harding now?) In Harding’s defense the Saad and Hossa shots were into the upper 90, you just don’t hit that spot a lot.
Hawks are up 3-2 Minnesota’s unusually quiet stadium is even quieter, this one’s in the bag.
Well, wait hold on the Wild get another penalty and they score on it. Can you believe that? Jonas Brodin, the man it seems all announcers have pegged for the hall of fame in just his second year. Seriously every time they play the wild, Brodin this Brodin that. Anyway, he beat the shitty pk of the Hawks and the Wild tie it up.
This game looks destined for ot.
Nope, wait, Marco Scandelli and his deadly sniper stick pot one from 55 feet out or so and that’s the f’ing game.
Pretty good game for the ol’ entertainment factor.
Cooke looked pretty good in this game and I’ve grown to hate him simply from the highlights I’ve been shown. He had an opportunity in the second to destroy a Hawk who wasn’t looking coming through the middle and didn’t. I actually rewound it to see if the line was as good as it looked, and it was, he held off. Good for him, he’s actually one of the top pk players in the league if not off being a career ruining d-bag. Cooke’s going to be a great Wild addition. That sucks.
Harding’s #’s are ridiculous. He’s got to be the leading Vezina candidate at this point. 1.45 gaa? That’s silly good.
Nordstrom was bad.
The second line looked good with Versteeg. What if he was the second line Center we’ve all been clamoring for the past 3 years? That’d be hilarious.