Observations From Section 321 : Niemi Says D'oh

Thearon W. Henderson

The Blackhawks fall behind early but rally for a 5-3 win over the Sharks to improve to 8-0-2.

It sure didn't start out very well but the end result was exactly what we were looking for. The Blackhawks fell behind 2-0 and then 3-1 before settling down and securing their 8th win of the year. The first 12 minutes of last night's game was like playing NHL 13 on Playstation. I knew the pace of the game was favoring the Hawks since they had two days off and the Sharks played the night before.

The 1st period got off to a quick start. It took all of 2:54 for Joe Pavelski to knock in a Ryan Clowe rebound for his 5th goal of the year. Crawford gave up the juicy rebound while Sheldon Brookbank seemed mesmerized by the puck and did not do much to prevent Pavelski's goal. Just over two minutes later Brookbank dicked the dog again by not getting the puck deep at his own blue line. This lead to a San Jose rush the other way and Tommy Wingels was able to snipe a wrist shot past Corey Crawford for his 1st goal of the year and a 2-0 Sharks lead. As "Sleepy" Steve Konroyd pointed out on the broadcast, Crow was playing far too back in his crease on the play.

About half way through the 1st, Brent Seabrook made a beautiful pass to Brandon Saad who was finally able to lift the Jack Skille curse on the number 20, and score his first NHL goal. Saad has been so close on quite a few occasions so it was nice to see him finally crack the score sheet. I've got a feeling he is going score in bunches now that the first one is out of the way. Jonathan Toews picked up an assist as well on the goal. The buzz of Saad's first goal did not last very long as the Sharks were quick to respond. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane fumbled around with the puck in the neutral zone instead of getting it deep and it lead to another rush for the Sharks. Wingels made a great cross ice pass to an open Michael Handzus who blasted the puck past Crow for a 3-1 San Jose lead.

It took the Hawks all of 8 seconds to fire back. Bryan Bickell took the puck behind the net and found an open Andrew Shaw out in front who converted for his 2nd goal of the year. Viktor Stalberg was credited with the secondary assist. Marcus Kruger was able to tie the game just 42 seconds later with an unassisted goal, his first of the year. Kruger showed his willingness to get to the dirty areas and his knack for being in the right place at the right time on the play. Wingels tried to clear the puck put his attempt hit Justin Braun's skate and went right to Kruger in front of the net. With the way both Crawford and Antti Niemi have been playing, I didn't there would be six goals scored in the game, let alone in the first 12 minutes!

Things began to settle down a bit once the Hawks tied the game. In the 2nd period it was Toews who victimized Douglas Murray in front of his own net. During 4 on 4 play, which seemed to be a theme of the night, Tazer lifted the stick of Murray and found Patrick Kane who was able to give the Hawks their first lead of the night at 11:52. Kaner would add an empty net goal to seal the win late in the 3rd period. Kane now has 6 goals and has 5 multiple point games on the year.

* I still don't think Andrew Desjardins' hit on Jamal Mayers was a dirty one at all. It sure as hell wasn't a hit to the head and did not warrant the match penalty which the league quickly rescinded after the game. Kudos to Duncan Keith for sticking up for Mayers, considering it is usually Mayers defending his team mates. It is a move that goes a long way in a locker room. But, I wasn't too thrilled about losing our top defenseman for 19 minutes in a close game.

* Joel Quenneville is having a good season so far behind the bench. Coaches, just like players, can have bad seasons and last year was a bad season for Q. He has been pushing all the right buttons so far this season. His use of the time out last night seemed to work wonders and his decision to stick with Crawford when the easy choice would have been to pull him, was the right call too.

* Hey Antti, you can't play the puck there!

* The Hawks are now 8-0-2 without the aid of one of Patrick Sharp's patented hot streaks where he seems to score every goal in a 3 game span. Any time you want to join the rest of the team Sharpie, that would be nice!

*Despite Kaner's two goals the 2nd line was terrible for most of the night. Thankfully the kids were able to bail them out.

* Douglas Murray had himself a rough night, huh? He finished a -3 and looked really bad doing it too!

* Stan Bowman took a lot of heat when he traded for Johnny Oduya and more heat when he resigned him to an extension over the summer. Not hearing too much about that now are we?

* Joe Thornton is still a fake tough guy. I loved seeing Tazer get in his grill late in the game last night. Don't think for a second that Captain Serious has forgotten about No Show Joe punching him in the back of the head last year.

* I really hope Michal Rozsival can return soon, I am done with Sheldon Brookbank. But, he still is better than seeing Sean O'Donnell and John Scott out there!

The Blackhawks get another crack at the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow night. It will be the first time we get to see the skid mark on the underwear of life that is Raffi Torres since his attempted murder of Marian Hossa last spring. The perfect scenario would be for Hoss to put a Johnny Upton and wiggle his dick at the Coyotes fans after he scores a hat trick!


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