Sharp's Hat Trick Leads Blackhawks Over The Devils

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Sharp's second consecutive Friday night with a hat trick helps the Blackhawks earn two points in Newark.

Patrick Sharp likes to play on Friday nights. The Blackhawks and Devils played a bit of a goofy game that had many momentum swings.  In the end it was the Blackhawks who able to hold off a late Devils comeback attempt to return home with three out of four points on this quick two game road trip.

The opening frame was a tale of two periods; the first half and the second half.  The first half went mostly the Blackhawks' way.  The Devils, who came in as the least penalized team in the NHL, took two minor penalties in the first three and a half minutes of the game.  The Hawks didn't get a single shot on goal during the first power play but had some good pressure on the second attempt that included Patrick Sharp ringing one off the post.  The Blackhawks had a 3-0 lead in shots 11:30 into the game but the Devils would out shoot the Hawks eight to three in the final 8:30.  The Devils had a couple of extended shifts in their offensive zone that were aided by the Hawks inability to clear their zone.  The Blackhawks had a good scoring chance with about four to go in the period when Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and Nick Leddy had a great three way passing play but Leddy looked to get crossed up on the pass and could not finish the play.

For the second straight night the Blackhawks were able to score an early period goal immediately following a successful penalty kill.  Patrick Sharp forced Michael Ryder into a turnover and Jonathan Toews quickly got the puck back  to Sharpie in the slot where he ripped a snap shot over Martin Brodeur at 1:34 for his 23rd goal of the season.  The lead would only last 43 seconds as Andy Greene would tie the game after getting behind the Hawks defenders.  Sheldon Brookbank got caught pinching in and Nick Leddy was caught on the far boards so Greene was able to slip in between a back checking Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus for his seventh goal of the year.

The 3rd period was much like the 1st period, where the Hawks flexed their muscles in the first half but the Devils answered in the second half.  The Hawks stopped being cute and Patrick Kane just flicked the puck towards the net.  Brandon Saad, who was skating hard to the crease, deflected the puck past Brodeur with his skate at 1:20. Brent Seabrook had the secondary assist on Saad's 15th goal of the year.  Patrick Sharp made it a 3-1 game with a snipe from nearly the same spot of the ice in which Kaner won the 2010 Stanely Cup .  Seabrook made a great diagonal cross ice pass to find Sharp and Duncan Keith was given credit for the apple.  Marian Hossa shot a wrister over a sliding Bryce Salvador and into the net for a 4-1 Hawks' lead at 5:34.  Jonathan Toews and Keith assisted on Hossa's 15th goal.

Much to the Devils' credit, they did not mail it in after going down three goals.  Brent Seabrook had a rough shift as first his clearing attempt was kept in and then he took a slap shot to the leg that had him down on the ice for a few moments.  Marek Zidlicky streaked towards the net and was able to score his sixth goal of the year 7:09.  Zidlicky would strike again at 13:37 on the power play after a bad offensive zone hooking penalty on Patrick Kane.  The Devils had a ton of traffic in front of Antti Raanta and he never saw the slap shot from the New Jersey defenseman.  Sharp would add the exclamation point with his third goal of the night at 18:32.  Duncan Keith sprang Sharp on a breakaway with a nice pass from below the goal line all the way to the red line.  Once in the zone, Sharp got Brodeur early and easily put in his 25th goal of the season.

* Q's blender was on puree mode for most of the night.  He swapped Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell even got a couple of shifts on the second line.  If the second line is struggling it isn't because of the left winger, it might have to do with the paperweight in the middle.  And it was no surprise that Saad got his goal without Michal Handzus on the ice.  Handzus is not a useless player, he is just useless as the second line center.

* Sheldon Brookbank was awful on Friday night.  He got caught pinching in on the Devils' first goal and then took a delay of game penalty on his very next shift.  After coming out of the box he was nowhere to be found during a Stephen Gionta breakaway that, thankfully, Antti Raanta stood tall on.  I will chalk this one up to Brookbank being a scratch in the last six games.  I am not a fan of having a three man rotation for the seventh defensive spot.  I say send Mike Kostka down to Rockford and use Brookbank and Rozsival in a regular rotation.  It has to suck for Nick Leddy to have to play with a different partner every night.  The defensemen, as a whole, had two rough nights.  If they play like they did in Uniondale and Newark against the Sharks on Sunday it will be an ugly night.

* Marcus Kruger had a rare off night. He took two defensive zone penalties, one for hooking and one for holding.  He had no stats on the score sheet; no shots, no takeaways not even a block.  He only went three for eight on his faceoffs.

* Antti Raanta was good again as he came up with some big stops to keep the Hawks in the game early.  I said it in Thursday's recap and I still think the best thing for Raanta is to play every night in Rockford.  He has been great in net but his growth as a goaltender will be stunted sitting on the bench in Chicago.

* It was nice to see Marian Hossa light the lamp for the first time since December 15th.  Everyone knows Hossa brings much more than just goals and he has been so good in every area of the ice that it made me smile to see him get his well earned 15th goal of the year.  Hoss was a big part of the top line's dominance.  Hossa, Toews and Sharp finished with a combined six points, 11 shots, two takeaways and was a collective +11.

* The Blackhawks have now played 44 games; they have scored five or more goals in 19 of them.


* Pat Boyle, during the CSN post game show mentioned that the Hawks would rather play a team with speed in the playoffs rather than a "frustrating" team like Minnesota.  Um Pat, the Hawks have actually struggled against teams that can match their speed this year.  Did you not watch Thursday's game versus the Islanders??

Player of the Game
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Photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

All you need to know is contained in this Tweet from Laz


Blackhawks Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

17:22

57.7

18.7

56.3

10.8

42.9

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

19:20

42.1

-5.8

41.2

-11.9

45.5

Seabrook, Brent

D

17:07

56.7

18.8

64.7

24.1

50.0

Leddy, Nick

D

12:34

44.4

-2.5

53.3

6.3

60.0

Sharp, Patrick

R

14:07

66.7

26.3

75.0

31.1

100

Kruger, Marcus

C

10:58

62.5

18.4

57.1

9.5

0.0

Brookbank, Sheldon

D

12:50

33.3

-17.7

40.0

-12.9

60.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

14:03

68.4

30.9

81.8

42.3

100

Saad, Brandon

L

14:58

50.0

5.8

55.6

10.4

80.0

Versteeg, Kris

R

7:53

23.5

-30.5

28.6

-28.6

60.0

Handzus, Michal

C

14:52

36.4

-14.7

37.5

-17.0

75.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

18:18

34.8

-17.5

38.9

-16.0

40.0

Smith, Ben

R

12:11

42.9

-3.8

40.0

-10.0

0.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

8:16

16.7

-40.5

20.0

-41.8

50.0

Bollig, Brandon

L

11:53

50.0

4.2

50.0

1.2

0.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

7:44

31.6

-20.5

37.5

-17.0

50.0

Hossa, Marian

R

12:14

75.0

37.7

80.0

39.0

100

Kane, Patrick

R

16:14

46.4

0.3

52.4

6.0

66.7

Devils Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF%Rel

CF%Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Zidlicky, Marek

D

18:22

72.0

29.1

68.4

28.4

73.3

Greene, Andy

D

14:53

52.9

-1.1

45.5

-7.2

20.0

Fayne, Mark

D

14:12

36.8

-23.6

40.0

-15.9

0.0

Zubrus, Dainius

C

15:16

44.4

-10.7

37.5

-16.2

50.0

Sislo, Mike

R

8:29

72.2

25.3

66.7

22.5

100.0

Gionta, Stephen

R

10:59

60.0

8.1

63.6

16.3

50.0

Henrique, Adam

C

13:17

33.3

-29.7

30.8

-27.6

16.7

Boucher, Reid

C

8:57

84.2

42.5

76.9

35.3

100

Ryder, Michael

R

12:41

33.3

-29.7

30.8

-27.6

20.0

Bernier, Steve

R

12:09

61.1

10.1

64.3

18.6

33.3

Zajac, Travis

C

15:14

54.5

1.0

44.4

-8.1

50.0

Carter, Ryan

C

11:32

52.6

-1.5

53.3

3.3

40.0

Loktionov, Andrei

C

9:43

70.0

23.2

62.5

17.0

100

Gelinas, Eric

D

19:39

63.0

15.5

57.9

11.2

70.6

Salvador, Bryce

D

15:11

50.0

-5.8

50.0

-1.6

0.0

Clowe, Ryane

L

12:35

30.0

-33.8

30.8

-27.6

20.0

Merrill, Jon

D

15:28

40.9

-19.1

37.5

-20.1

0.0

Jagr, Jaromir

R

14:17

50.0

-4.4

28.6

-26.2

66.7


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