By Michael Calvert
The Hawks stole at least one point from the Blue Jackets last night. The Jackets came into the game clinging to a one point lead for the second wild card spot in the East, and with one game in hand. With that being said the Jackets needed these points badly and came within 2.5 seconds of getting at least one. This, two days after Colorado erased a 2-goal BJ lead in the 3rd period and beat Columbus in the shootout. I suppose it’s a tough week to be a BJ fan, tougher than usual anyway.
Typically sporting the IceHogs jersey, Jeremy Morin and Jokim Nordstrom suited up for this game. I suppose we can count on the Hawks not burning a contract year on Teuvo Teravainen. I am a little disappointed personally, but it’s likely for the better.
A bright spot for the Hawks in this game was getting contributions from the top and bottom of the lineup, also Raanta got the win over reigning Vezina winner Bobrovsky.
1st period: The BJ’s struck very early in this game when Seabrook got horsed by RJ Umberger, Umberger after beating Seabrook like only one of them was skating with concrete blocks, fired a nice wrister that Raanta could only stick save away. Derek MacKenzie was quick to pounce on the rebound and deposit it in the back of the net, Raanta didn’t have a chance on the rebound, allowing the rebound is debatable but certainly not a terrible play.
The rest of the 1st period was spent trading off penalties until Jeremy Morin made a very nice play to put a wrister past Bobrovsky. Morin froze the dman and Bobrovsky with a fake wrister followed up by the real thing top shelf, very nice play, showed a very nice scoring touch. Non goal scorers certainly score goals, but not with that type of flair, very impressive and very encouraging work by Morin.
2nd period: Not to be outdone by themselves, the BJ’s only took 30 seconds to score in this period. Johansen, who is turning into a very nice player, put a wrister just under the pipes. I’d say it was more a great shot than poor play by Raanta, the puck had eyes.
The Blackhawks responded well when the cream as is it’s way rose to the top. Patrick Sharp put a rocket past Bobrovsky 4 minutes into the second on a power play courtesy of Jared Boll being more of a meathead then Bickell and earning an extra two for their tangle.
Just two minutes later Artem Anisimov tied the game up with a rather unimpressive trickler across the line.
Into the third we go tied at 3.
3rd period: “tree tree in the turd.” Or so it goes. The Hawks essentially out played Columbus for most of the second and the third was no different. Hawks outshoot the BJ’s 12-6 in a 3rd period where Columbus should have been full balls to the wall. This, after the Hawks outshoot Columbus 18-8 in the second period. Basically, Bobrovsky made a game out of one that otherwise could have been a laugher.
Then Smith happened. Ben Smith has a lot of Andrew Shaw in his game, and that’s just not a bad thing, he also appears to have a lot more between the ears as he is not a permanent fixture in the penalty box like Shaw.
With just under 4 seconds left in the game, Ben Smith fought for a rebound and put in the game winner.
I admit, though I’m sure they’d tell me to take my sympathy and shove it up my ass, I feel bad for the BJ’s. They play a good tight game, they hit hard, but don’t really seem to take a lot of unnecessary runs at the opposition. They just don’t have IT, whatever IT is, they are certainly void of it.
The Hawks came into a game that the other team had to be looking at as a playoff game with half a deck and still pulled out a win scoring late on a “greasy” goal. I found it all very encouraging. I’m a bit worried about Varlimov, but if the Hawks can beat a better Bobrovsky playing without two of the best 5-10 players in the world, well hell bring on the girlfriend kidnapper.
I sort of hate to pile on and he’s one of my favorite players but Seabrook sucked. Even as Rotzival was out to prove that skating is indeed not like riding a bike, Seabrook stood out as absolute rubbish on the blue line. For a period of about two minutes in the beginning of the 1st period, Seabrook looked like an NHL version of Chuck Knoblauch, he appeared to have forgotten how to play the game. I don’t know what’s going on with him as I rarely look at him specifically to see how he’s playing, he just was that obviously terrible.
Another two points, and the Av’s are catching up with the Blues. I’d personally rather wait for world war whatever to occur in the second round, I’m just not ready for that kind of emotional rollercoaster pain just yet, I haven’t prepared myself.
Damn it feels good to be a Hawks fan.