Apparently the moral of the NHL season so far is don't mess with Marian Hossa. The Smoke Monster is been in full on beast mode for the first two games of the Blackhawks season. He is proving that not only is he healthy but he is still one of the top players in the game.
Last night's game at the Jobing.com Arena was far from a masterpiece but there was plenty to be excited about. The start was very sloppy for the Hawks, who seemed to be having issues with a terrible ice surface. David Moss converted a Brent Seabrook turnover into his first goal as a Coyote at 3:39 of the opening period. The Blackhawks used the power play to tie up the game with the King of the Trolls, Dave Bolland, tipping in an amazing pass from Patrick Kane for his first goal of the year. I can already see some great chemistry between Bolland and Kane which will be beneficial to both players.
Antoine Vermette took advantage of a complete defensive collapse to give the Yotes a 2-1 lead at 5:48 of the 2nd period. As pointed out on the broadcast Kane did not follow his man after losing the initial draw. Seabrook and Duncan Keith where too late in trying to pick up Vermette and he has an easy tip of a rebound for his first goal. Patrick Sharp tied the game after taking a great pass from Bolland at 9:50. Sharp wristed an absolute laser over the right shoulder of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. Hossa scored his 3rd goal of the year, to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead at 17:34. Hossa and new defenseman Michal Rozsival worked a pretty give and go play to perfection. Viktor Stalberg got another past Smith just 50 seconds later to give the Hawks a 4-2 heading into the second intermission.
The 3rd period was a very ugly period for both goaltenders. Hossa slipped the puck in between Smith's legs and it just trickled across the goal line before the official's whistle blew. It seemed for a moment that the Hawks had let off the gas by allowing the Yotes to score two quick goals to make it 5-4. Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan were able to take advantage of Ray Emery rebounds less than a minute apart to make all of us a bit itchy. Coach Q called his timeout to calm his team down and it seemed to work. Just 22 seconds after Doan's goal, Bolland got one over Smith to give the Hawks a well needed insurance goal.
- Brent Seabrook was by far the worst of the 6 defensemen last night. He was a turnover machine and seemed a step slow all night. Everyone has a clinker now and then so I wouldn't worry too much about Seabs.
- Michal Rozsival made a very good first impression. He made some very solid defensive plays and added two assists on the offensive end. In fact, his pass to Hossa on the third goal of the game might have ended Sheldon Brookbank's Blackhawks career.
- Nick Leddy and Niklas Hjalmarsson have both been impressive to start the year. They are both playing a more physical style of play than what were are used to seeing from them. Leddy is skating much better and has 2 assists so far. I think playing 3rd pair minutes is helping him quite a bit. If we get this from these two all season good things will happen.
- Q is doing a good job in spreading the minutes among the three blue line pairings. It doesn't look like he wants to run 7-2 into the ground which will be nice.
- Watching Ray Emery's lack of rebound control almost made my eyes bleed. He looked extremely nervous and lost all night long. I am hoping it was due to Emery not playing anywhere during the lockout but lets not do that anymore.
- Well it looks like Mike Smith has lost that golden horseshoe he had up his ass during the playoffs last year. I'm sure fans in Tampa and Dallas were saying "there's the Mike Smith we know!" His temper tantrum after his Statue of Liberty impression was priceless. He has given up 10 goals in his first two starts. Ouch!
- I am sending Brandon Bollig and Paul Bissonnette an invoice for the minute and a half of my life I will never get back.
- I thought Andrew Shaw made the team out of camp. Anyone seen him?