By Michael Calvert
Well it can be said the Blackhawks own the Stars in their barn. If the Dallas players give a darn, they should all be embarrassed.
The Hawks rolled out with the usual on the 1st line on Tuesday night in Dallas, and then everything thereafter was scrambled around. Old man Zus and Versteeg joined Kane on the second line. Saad, Shaw and Morin made up a 3rd line that would make most 2nd lines blush. Smith, Kruger and Bollig round out the dirty line. Mike Kostka was back in the lineup for the Hawks and appears to have come back a better player – convenient.
1st period: It was pretty clear early on Kari Lehtonen wasn’t going to steal this game, as he did last week at the United Center. Early on he dropped what should have been an easy glove catch, nothing came of it, but it was an eye opener, Pat Foley sounded surprised calling it. Then lo and behold a Mike Kostka shot deflected off pretty much everyone on the ice and slipped through slowly. The mystery men of Toronto viewed the play, but a cliffhanger it was not, the puck clearly crossed the line and 1-0 it is.
Not long after the first goal off of Kostka’s laser stick (didn’t he play QB at Northwestern?) the Stars got their first pp. Assuming our readers pay attention to hockey, no one should be surprised that the Stars are awful on the pp and the Hawks kill it swiftly.
Very shortly after killing the Star’s first power play, Brent Seabrook’s inability to stay upright forces Neanderthal-skating Roussel to trip him up. Within 5 seconds the Star’s, as if they are trying to lose are now on a long 5-3 pk. The Hawks control the puck for 1:40 seconds of the 2 man advantage but are unable to find the net, or at least the important back part of it. Star’s fans are excited. Why wouldn’t they be? Now here’s an interesting thing, if you’d believe Foley and whatever Q allegedly said, this games over. Star’s kill off a very long 2 man advantage and apparently at some point in time Q told Foley, or Foley eavesdropped on Q saying whoever wins the 2 man advantage usually wins the game. It’s like clockwork the guy is going to say that, and it’s like clockwork it doesn’t matter. The killing of the 2 man advantage was such a boost for the Stars that they went on to lose the remainder of the game 5-2. Enough of that story Foley, you probably actually have some good stories to tell.
Anywho Kaner picks up a pass that springs him on the breakaway and a forehand to backhand later, the Hawks are up 2-0. At this point I’m actually rooting for the Stars to get their shit together and make a game of it, because this one smells a lot like a blowout.
Hawks end the period outshooting overmatched Dallas 14-4.
2nd period: Its worth noting, Jonathan Toews does not start the period out with his linemates on the first line. Toews doesn’t actually come out of the locker room until 2:00 into the second, but he does and looked fine, don’t know what the issue was. I can’t imagine twenty minutes wasn’t enough time to re-tighten his skates.
In the actual game, at 2:46, Brandon Saad tips in an easy one off a series of rebounds first from a Kostka shot then from a Shaw shot. The play was set up when Saad went all Marian Hossa on Jamie Benn stealing the puck from him and forcing the play he eventually scores on. Dude’s a stud.
Patrick Sharp puts in a really nice slap shot on the pp at 9:20. Very nice shot, that’s why they call him shooter. Lehtonen out Ol Danny Ellis in. Lehtonen sucked, but he’s good and if the Hawks get the stars in the playoffs, I doubt we’ll be chuckling often about his early exits. I doubt the Stars would win one game, but I don’t think Lehtonen will be this bad again, he’s a great goalie and a Hawks thorn.
At this point I’m watching the game on ff 1. It’s a laugher and you can really only hope for no injuries. I actually wish the NHL would allow for a bigger bench to put in scrubs at garbage time. Or I guess the Stars could have played the Stars, same diff.
Duncan Keith put a great slap pass to Sharp 2/3 down the ice to spring him on the hawks 17th breakaway of the game; goal 5-0. This one is even more over?
Just to annoy Hawk nation further, skating French sounding ape Roussel scores an ugly tap in to break Raanta’s not hard earned shutout. Not to be outdone Saad scores an even uglier on at 19:15. Go away Star’s you bother me.
There is actually 3.5 seconds of this game left and damn it, NHL I want them. The game clock was basically run off so the two teams wouldn’t kill each other for no reason at the end of the game. We complain about the knuckleheadedness of the NHL, but you gotta love it. The passion still existing between the two teams in total garbage time is fantastic. In most sports the home team on the end of that kind of beating can’t get off the field/court/pitch of play fast enough. The Star’s on the other hand wanted to stick around and get punched in the face. Actually just about the only heart the team showed all game.
I guess it’s still early enough in the Antti Raanta era where every start is a big deal. He was solid, didn’t have to be anything more than average. This guys going to be a real player real soon. It truly is an embarrassment of riches these Hawks.
I think it’s more of an NFL thing labeling players i.e. “elite,” but is it too early to call Saad a star? Superstar?
The Stars outshot the Hawks 15-5 in the third, I hadn’t really noticed, hard to tell shots in fast forward. If not for that, the shot total would have been as lopsided as the scoreboard.
It’s hard to really make observations on a game where one team is so much better than the other, I suppose that’s an observation in and of itself.
Raanta lost a shutout he didn’t really have to work for, so I can’t feel too bad, but shutouts do feel nice.
Damn it feels good to be a Hawks fan.