By Michael Calvert
Chicago came out with their backup goalie Antti Raanta and the Devils rolled out spot starter, future hall of famer Martin Brodeur.
I think it can be proven fact that the Hawks and Patrick Sharp are on fire. The Hawks are 9-1-3 in their last 13 games boast the top star of the month for rookies and the last two top stars of the month player in Patrick Kane. Patrick Sharp now leads the Hawks in goals with 25, that’s really saying something when the two time reigning player of the month is another goal scorer on your team. Sharp now has two hat tricks in the last 4 games.
1st period: The Hawks came out with the usual first line of forwards and the d line whose job it is to face the opposition’s top line, Oduya and Hjalmarsson.
Saad was moved back up to the second line, where he belongs, along with Kane and old man Handzus playing the role of center/anchor.
The Devils were living up to their name early spending 4 of the first 5 minutes in the box. Chicago’s 3rd ranked pp was challenged by NJ’s 3rd ranked pk. On the first pp, the Hawks didn’t muster much of a challenge. The second pp while yielding the same result was full of opportunities including a Sharp bomb of the left post.
The Devil’s really start to jump on the Hawks around 11:00 minutes into the first. The Hawks struggled to clear their zone and when they did Jersey forced it right back in, sustaining possession and getting off one good chance after another. Alas, neither team mustered a goal in the first period.
2nd Period: The Hawks have to kill off the last 1:10 of a penalty from the end of the first period. At the end of the Devil’s pp the Hawks got control of the puck and as soon as the play went even Toews put a shot/pass to the stick of Sharp and Brodeur came up with a save one would expect of a Brodeur. That didn’t matter, Toews collected an errant attempt to clear the zone went to Sharp yet again and Patrick puts in goal #1 on a beauty wrister high.
Not a minute later the Devils even up the score (this seems to happen a lot to the Hawks) Offensive D-man Andy Green scores a really nice goal on Raanta. Green entered the zone with the puck and a head of steam, got Raanta down, held the puck and potted a nice patience goal. He looked a lot like an offensive forward on this play.
At 8:19 looking to give the Devils the lead Stephen Gionta got a clean break away on Raanta. Gionta put a very nice looking wrister high glove side but Raanta makes the save, Raanta made it look routine no less. Interesting..
3rd period: Going into the 3rd even at one this game looked as though it would be hard fought and close the whole way through, nope.
Kane feeds Saad a backhand pass a minute and a half into the third that went off his skate. The goal was originally credited to Saad, then changed to Kane during the game and now it looks as though it has been credited back to Saad. Whatever it was a weird softy, I doubt either goal scorer will be battling it out for the rights to the puck.
A minute and 10 seconds later and Patrick Sharp again beats Brodeur on a close to no angle wrister at the goal line. A man who pays less attention might call it lucky, but on fire is on fire, the goal was a straight up beauty by a dude on top of his game.
Another two minutes go by and another Hawks star scores again. This time it was Marian Hossa. Where do these guys keep coming from? Three goals in four minutes and you can put a fork in this one.
Someone from the Devils was still trying apparently and scored a goal with 13 minutes left. To make things interesting the Devils score again this time on the pp with a Marek Zidlicky goal.
Suddenly we’ve got a game again. With a minute and a half left in the game, Patrick Sharp strikes again on a breakaway and pots his hat trick. Hawks win.
As mentioned, the Patricks are on fire. It was odd, Saad’s goal was given to Kane as it was announced as Kane’s 24th goal, within 3 seconds Patrick Sharp scored his 24th.
Raanta’s glove save on the Gionta breakaway was spectacular. Crawford does some haphazard looking windmill thing which looks awesome, but gives the appearance of fighting it. Raanta’s was more like a movie villain or good guy catching someone’s bullet between their fingers right in front of their nose, as if to say “ I don’t think so, son.” Just something I noticed.
Duncan Keith was credited for 3 assists, I haven’t looked, but I’d assume he’s now the league leader in that stat.
The Hawks are looking head and shoulders above the rest of the league at this point.
Damn it feels good to be a Hawks fan.