Injury Without The Insult - Hawks 4, Flames 2


Tonight's contest with the Calgary Flames certainly was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. But two points is two points, which is a result that's been disconcertingly difficult to come by at the United Center this season.

Things got off to an ominous start as Patrick Kane was helped off the ice after oddly twisting his left leg while being checked by Cory Sarich along the boards. I'll have more on this down in the bullets, but the initial appearance of this did not look good. Kaner's absence made 4 power play markers this evening an even more shocking result, but it's one we'll take. The first of the four came off the stick of Bryan Bickell in the high slot, as he snapped a shot past Miikka Kiprusoff after being given about 8 seconds to wind up for it. Six minutes later Dave Bolland finally put the puck in the back of the net, potting a back-door tap in on a goal mouth feed from Jonathan Toews. Calgary responded with two power play goals of their own, the first of which came from Jarome Iginla, who himself was left alone in the slot as Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews had some miscommunication at the blue line. Anton Babchuck unleashed a bomb from the left point, and suddenly the game was tied up. A late penalty by David Moss for whacking Jack Skille across the face with a high stick resulted in Jonathan Toews poking home the puck in a scrum in front, and the Hawks would not relinquish that lead. 

The second and third periods were quite a bit calmer, but the Hawks certainly tried to make things interesting by taking three straight penalties in the third, and Corey Crawford was helped out by the post on an Iginla bid that had been tipped by Olli Jokinen. A late penalty by Jay Bouwmeester forced the Flames to pull Kiprusoff while short handed, and Bolland iced the game with an empty netter from behind the center stripe. Hawks 4, Flames 2.

Observations

  • Patrick Kane's injury did not look good at all. It appeared that he was putting weight on his left leg when he was helped back into the tunnel, but the twisting way in which he went down is something that will make us hold our collective breaths. My guess is a sprained MCL and out for a couple of weeks, but we'll see if we get any information. Keep in mind he suffered a similar injury two years ago at the hands of Dan Cleary, and came back after only two games, albeit at a diminished capacity. Needless to say, if Kane is out for a prolonged period of time, the sledding is going to be that much tougher for the Hawks.
  • That said, Jonathan Toews finally resembled the captain we all know he can be with arguably the team's best offensive threat out hurt. Toews had a goal and an assist, and his goal was ended up being the winner. He also went 19 for 26 at the dot in 23 minutes of ice time, and was +7 in Corsi. More of that, please. 
  • Hey, a Dave Bolland sighting! After appearing ambulatory for the first time in months on Friday, Bolls finally dented the twine twice, though both were essentially at empty nets. He also was dead-on 50% at the dot, going 13 for 26, and was +1 in Corsi, while facing the Iginla line the majority of the evening. Perhaps things are trending up for Dave, but he'll need at least another week straight of this sort of play for me to even kind of buy in.
  • While I've been impressed by Jake Dowell thus far this year, and he normally picks his spots well when he scraps, it was a dumbfuck move of him to give Steve Staios that fight late in the second. With the Hawks essentially at 10 forwards with Kane out and Scott in the lineup, they could ill afford to have another one sit for 5 minutes. Things got even dicier when Patrick Sharp then took a hooking penalty, leaving the Hawks with only Toews and Bolland to take draws on the ensuing penalty, which the Hawks were fortunate to kill off.
  • Corey Crawford was once again solid this evening, allowing nothing at even strength again. While he arguably could have had both Calgary goals, both were the result of blown coverages elsewhere, and he stood tall when he needed to. He's now won his last 6 starts, and we may have just watched him usurp the starting position. Stay tuned.
  • I think another penalty just got called.
  • Don't look now, but the Hawks have outshot opponents in 8 of their last 10 games, by an average 34.1 to 25.6 margin. Those are the types of numbers we're used to seeing. 
  • Update:  Friend of SCH Tracey Myers is reporting that Quenneville stated that Kane's injury is "not serious" but will be "out for a bit", so it looks like my initial prognostication was correct.
Player of The Game
Toews_captain_marvel_medium
As was noted above, Toews put the team on his back tonight when they could have very easily packed it in after Kaner was hurt, or after Calgary scored two quick goals. Toews now has 24 points in 29 games, which is right about the pace we expect him at. He'll need to shoulder even more of the load  if Kane is out for any lengthy stretch of time.
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