Blackhawks Can't Get The Extra Goal For Crow

Thearon W. Henderson

Corey Crawford can't come up with a save in the shootout after making quite a few big saves in regulation.

Saturday night's game between the Sharks and Blackhawks was a prime example of why ties are ok.  Two highly skilled teams played a great game for 65 minutes but  a silly skills competition decided the winner.

Neither team was able to light the lamp during the opening 20 minutes of play.  Both Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford were able to make some big saves during the period. The Hawks and Sharks each had a power play but could not convert.  The Blackhawks received a scare at the end of the 1st period when Jonathan Toews fell and crashed awkwardly into the goal post.  He looked as if he injured his arm or shoulder as he skated off the ice but was out there for his first shift of the 2nd period.

The 2nd period was more of the same with both teams generating quality chances but the opposing goaltenders were able to stand tall .  The  Blackhawks got two more power plays in the 2nd period but they had their clown shoes polished and in full effect.  The Hawks only got off two shots on goal and nearly gave up a shorthanded goal in their four minutes with the extra attacker.  On the other hand, the Sharks got four shots on goal on their lone 2nd period power play and could have easily had a goal of it wasn't for the big saves by Corey Crawford.

Shortly after killing off a Niklas Hjalmarsson hooking penalty the Hawks would get another power play thanks to a hook from Brad Stuart.  The Hawks would lose the initial faceoff and the puck would end up in their own net a few moments later.  Scott Hannan jumped on a neutral zone turnover and got it ahead where Joe Pavelski beat Duncan Keith to the puck and flicked it over Crawford's glove for his 29th goal of the year at 6:10.  The Hawks did not take long to answer as they were able to tie the game before Stuart got out of the box.  Brent Seabrook started the scoring play with a nice keep in at his blue line.  After the puck bounced around , Kris Versteeg settled it down and got it across to Brandon Saad who had just enough on his one timer to get it past the glove of Antti Niemi.  Marian Hossa picked up the secondary assist on Saad's 18th goal of the year and third in his last two games.

The went to overtime which we all know doesn't end well for the Blackhawks.  The Sharks outshot the Hawks 3 to 1 in the extra five minutes of four on four hockey.  Jonathan Toews scored on his shootout attempt but Patrick Sharp was stopped by Antti Niemi.  Corey Crawford was unable to stop shots by Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.  Whatever, shootouts are dumb.  The Blackhawks don't have to worry about them come playoff time and have four points in the first three games of this six game road trip.

* Kris Versteeg has seemed to get a bounce to his step since being reunited with Patrick Kane.  He now has back to back games with a nice assist on the power play.  Versteeg was used quite a bit at the faceoff dot Saturday night.  He won four out of his six draws including four out of five in the offensive end.

* Speaking of faceoffs, Jonathan Toews and Marcus Kruger struggled all night long.  Toews went 6 for 19, which makes me wonder about his arm, and Kruger went 4 of 12.  Not a good showing from our top two faceoff men.

* The penalty kill has now killed off 24 straight power plays.  Corey Crawford is the biggest reason that this streak remains in tact.  The Sharks' power play never stopped moving which opened up the shooting lanes in the Hawks' kill.  They got off 12 shots but Crow was there to make all the saves.

* The has to be a clause in the new CBA that doesn't allow a team to have both sides of its special teams clicking at the same time.  The penalty kill has become good again which means the power play has polished off their clown shoes.  Yes, they have three goals in the last two games but they just don't look as crisp as they did earlier in the season.  It seemed like the spent half of Saturday night chasing the Sharks down in their end and failing  miserably with their puck entries.

* You'd think after 21 seasons that San Jose hockey fans would realize the word Sharks only has one syllable.


* I think Brent Burns has fully adapted to playing forward.  He attempted 18 shots last night, with seven getting to the net, five were blocked and he missed on four of them.


Player of the Game


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Photo credit: Rich Lam


Corey Crawford came up with 38 saves against one of the top offensive teams in the league but couldn't get the win.  His vision and rebound control was fantastic all night long.  The Sharks had plenty traffic on front of the net but Crow was able to keep his focus on the puck and swallow it up at every turn.  He didn't look good in the shootout but the Hawks had plenty of chances to prevent the game from getting to that point.

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF% Close

CF% Rel Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

17:58

62.5

4.8

75.0

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

18:23

55.2

-6.6

41.7

Seabrook, Brent

D

16:29

55.9

-6.1

75.0

Leddy, Nick

D

12:51

70.0

13.8

88.9

Sharp, Patrick

R

16:28

42.3

-24.9

60.0

Kruger, Marcus

C

10:26

85.0

33.4

33.3

Toews, Jonathan

C

16:30

37.0

-33.1

60.0

Saad, Brandon

L

09:35

73.3

16.8

57.1

Versteeg, Kris

R

11:18

62.5

3.7

100

Handzus, Michal

C

07:31

53.8

-6.7

71.4

Oduya, Johnny

D

18:41

50.0

-15.4

41.7

Smith, Ben

R

10:07

76.5

21.2

33.3

Rozsival, Michal

D

14:43

71.4

15.9

88.9

Pirri, Brandon

C

11:43

62.5

4.2

87.5

Bollig, Brandon

L

10:06

69.6

13.8

33.3

Shaw, Andrew

C

09:31

69.2

11.5

66.7

Hossa, Marian

R

15:31

48.3

-17.2

60.0

Kane, Patrick

R

14:39

58.6

-1.4

100

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Stuart, Brad

D

15:44

24.1

-25.0

50.0

Pavelski, Joe

C

15:12

28.0

-17.8

60.0

Havlat, Marty

R

12:57

26.3

-18.3

37.5

Desjardins, Andrew

C

07:33

31.3

-11.4

33.3

Marleau, Patrick

C

16:26

32.3

-13.0

66.7

Sheppard, James

C

12:20

46.2

8.2

25.0

Brown, Mike

R

04:58

33.3

-7.7

0.0

Thornton, Joe

C

15:33

64.0

33.5

27.3

Boyle, Dan

D

15:29

46.4

8.9

12.5

Hannan, Scott

D

14:48

32.3

-13.0

57.1

Kearns, Bracken

C

10:23

36.8

-4.7

28.6

Vlasic, Marc-Edouard

D

18:12

45.2

7.4

11.1

Irwin, Matt

D

16:13

50.0

13.8

50.0

Wingels, Tommy

C

13:59

26.9

-19.6

75.0

Braun, Justin

D

18:45

43.5

4.1

40.0

Hayes, Eriah

R

05:42

25.0

-17.1

50.0

Nieto, Matt

L

12:04

52.0

16.4

37.5

Burns, Brent

R

16:16

65.4

36.1

25.0

*all data retrieved from www.nhl.com and www.extraskater.com

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