By Brad Vandenberk
The St. Louis Who’s? The Hawks finally tackled their demons and beat the Blues on Wednesday proving that they can beat anyone when they turn it up a notch. Not only did they turn it up, they made it very uncomfortable for a very good Blues teams in all situations. Corey Crawford made some very good saves to obtain his 10th career shutout.
Among all the celebrating, there was a significant loss suffered by the Hawks. Patrick Kane was accidentally landed on while in an awkward position and seemed to twist his knee, leaving during the second period.
It was announced Friday that Kane was shut down for the remainder of the regular season and placed on long term injury reserve. There is method to the Hawks madness. This was one of the only options the Hawks had get Teuvo Teravainen up to the big squad. He sported the Indian head this morning during the morning skate with teammates welcoming him as well as fans as the skate was streamed live.
Tonight’s game sees the Carolina Hurricanes enter the UC with a few key Hawks out of the line up. Brandon Saad did skate this morning but remained out for his 3rd straight game. Michael Rozsival also took this one off nursing his lower body injury. Not only did Kane get injured against the Blues, but Bryan Bickell was also watching this one from the rafters suffering from an upper body injury.
Crawford was back in net trying to add to his sh…ou…streak. Jeremy Morin was recalled and did dress for this one but Teuvo did not due to jet lag as he just arrived yesterday. Sheldon Brookbank was also slated as the extra forward in this game with newly required Carey not arriving until today. Anton Khudobin was opposite Crawford in the visitors net.
The opening period started with the Hawks coming at the Canes hard. You wouldn’t even notice that four of the Hawks starting line up was missing. Patrick Sharp was all over the ice making plays and using his speed to get around the Canes D. Ben Smith was also noticeable having the puck on his stick early in the game. He even had an open look in the slot and just put it wide of the net. Carolina took the first penalty of the game when Eric Staal gets called for tripping. Nathan Gerbe gets a shorthanded chance on Crawford. This was Carolina’s first shot on net. Marian Hossa breaks in along the boards and waits for a trailing Jonathon Toews who tries to make a quick move but Khudobin makes the save and the game remains scoreless. Late in the period Alexander Semin takes a holding penalty. Andrew Shaw has a last second chance. The period ends with the Hawks outshooting the Canes 11-4.
The Hawks start the period with 32 seconds of power play time. Shaw gets a great chance in his office, in front of the net. Jeremy Morin has his first chance of the contest when he receives a pass from Brent Seabrook but Khudobin again makes the save. Finally Patrick Sharp gets the monkey off his back. Nick Leddy blocks a shot in the defensive zone which lands on Shaw’s stick. He finds a streaking Sharp who breaks in all alone. He goes to the backhand and lifts it over the Canes tender making it 1-0. 14 seconds later Johnny Oduya gets called for cross checking and the Hurricanes gets their first chance on the power play. Crawford continues to make saves and the Hawks kill it off. Moments later Toews makes the walk of shame to the penalty box for hooking. Toews needed to take this penalty as the Canes were breaking in on a 2 on 0 with a great scoring chance. Crawford gets a little help from his buddy the goal post when Jordan Staal hits iron. Crawford makes another super save at the side of the net on Eric Staal getting his toe across to rob the captain. Jay Harrison starts to mix it up and gets called for interference. Even Morin gets involved trying to show his tough side. Half way through the power play Toews again is victim of a penalty for slashing. During the 4 on 4 play, Leddy saunters into the offensive zone and finds a wide open Kris Vertseeg who finds the back of the net with a quick shot 2-0. Right after that the Hawks come right back with Keith ringing one off the far post. Crawford’s shutout streak final comes to an end when Eric Staal gives it to Semin who beats Crawford with 37 seconds left in the period. The period ends 2-1 with the Hawks still ahead 20-18 in shots.
The Hurricanes comes out with a push to open the final frame. Patrick Dwyer tries to even the score but Crawford is up to the task. Now the Hawks start to load up on penalties. First Duncan Keith heads to the box for slashing. 18 seconds into the power play Handzus gets called for holding creating a Canes 5 on 3 for a 1:42. Crawford makes all kinds of saves. Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller calls his timeout during the 5 on 3 to try and even this up. It must have worked because the Canes tie it up. Semin is put on the point and snipes a shot past Crawford tying the game at 2. That solves 1 penalty but the Canes still have 46 seconds remaining. While shorthanded, Toews chases a puck down the boards and is all alone on Khudobin. He goes to the backhand and raises it up top giving the Hawks the 3-2 lead with 16:31 remaining. Handzus heads right back to the box for tripping 26 seconds after he leaves the box. The Hurricanes spoil their power play attempt when Eric Staal trips Keith who flies awkwardly into the boards. Leddy and Hossa both get chances on the 1:22 4 on 4. The Canes continue to try and tie the score. The Hawks also get chances to add to their lead. Hawks get a late power play when Justin Faulk gets called for holding. The Hawks realize they have this one wrapped up and play conservatively winning the game 3-2.
Versteeg Toews Hossa Keith Seabrook
Sharp Handzus Shaw Oduya Hjalmarsson
Regin Smith Morin Leddy Rundblad
Bollig Kruger Brookbank
-Hawks get outshot by the Canes 28-25
-Hawks go 0/5 on the power play and the Canes go 1/6
-Keith led all Hawks in TOI with 26:55, Hjalmarsson was next with 23:47 and Toews with 23:46.
-Toews goes 10/22 in the faceoff dot, Handzus 5/11, Smith 4/7, and Kruger 5/7.
-Hawks now are 3 points ahead of the Avalanche who lost to the Bruins tonight.
-Next game has the Nashville Predators visiting the UC on Sunday. Will we see a Teravainen sighting?