The Hawks are showing they can win blowouts - and now they can win the close games. There were chances on both sides that could have swung the game either way. Luckily the Hawks were able to ride the great game of Huet (wait.. what?) to a victory and take two points from the Senators.
Huet played a great game blocking all 23 shots he faced and coming up huge several times. Huet grabs his first shutout of the year and played in a way that will make us all feel a lot better about dropping Khabby sometime later this year. It was hoped early on that all Huet needed was some consistent playing time to work out his problems and that may be true. He let in some soft ones against the Wings - but in this game he was outstanding.
The Bolland line along with Keith and Seabrook were able to fully handle the only dangerous line the Senators were able to put on the ice. The top line for the Sens managed only 8 shots on goal, no points and a -3 rating.
The PK team was also great this game killing all 6 chances the Senators had including 4 minutes of shame by Kane who was in and out of the box all night with 8 PIM. The Hawks had shown a lot of discipline about not taking dumb penalties recently but Kane nearly doubled his time in the box for the year in this game alone. You'd think Coach Q would be pissed but in the post-game interview he seemed not to mind since Kane showed up with the game winner and played fairly well despite 8 minutes in the box.
And hey, you know who actually played a pretty decent game? Matt Walker (aka #3 star) and Brent Sopel - our favorite punching bag on this site (and others). Both players were big parts of the PK team (playing 4:22 combined short handed).
Murray gets a great dig in at Gretzky in the postgame show. After showing a clip of Brouwer(who also had a great game) going after Neil for what he thought was a dirty hit on Kane: "See, our star doesn't need his coach acting like mommy".
Like the Senators - I was once again shut out in the Pick SPG contest. But we're up to 21 registered players so we're even with the Avs. One more puts us in the top 4. So really.. sign up.
After the jump is a more detailed breakdown...
Three minutes into the first elder Ruutu brother Jarkko takes a roughing penalty and the Hawks are able to capitalize - In a reverse of roles, Sharp is the one who sets up Kane for the goal. Kane gets the puck and Smith seems to go down to block a shot immediately. Only Kane wasn't shooting and even Gerber seems confused by the move. Kane lifts it to the bar - Goal.
Toews continues to play well all over the ice and has a great steal in the Ottawa zone but nothing happens.
The Senators are definitely coming out playing a more physical first period - they're hitting everyone but it doesn't seem to phase the Hawks.
Havlat plays a good first against his former team but somehow completely whiffs on a wide open net.
Two just unlucky penalties happen almost back to back to give the Senators a 5 on 3 for just over a minute. If you read Mirtle recently, you'd know that's not good. Walker and Sopel both play a great shift and Huet comes up huge blocking a straight-on shot by Fisher. Hawks kill it - huge.
The crowd continues to be loud as a good "Lets Go Hawks" chant starts up after the kill.
With about a minute left in the period we get a good look at Pelletier who starts flying all over the Ottawa zone - guess he doesn't want to go back to Rockford. Sorry guy.
After the First:
Shots – 12-9 Hawks
Faceoffs – 13-5 Hawks
Hits – 10-6 Sens
Very early in the first Chris Neil was looking like he wanted to throw down with Buff - but Buff wisely skates away.
In what's becoming a theme in this game - Kane takes a high sticking penalty and the Hawks are forced to kill another two minutes. Huet continues his good game by coming up huge on a wide open shot by Heatley... no rebound either. key.
Right out of the box Neil goes after Kane with a check but Kane is able to get past it. It amazes me how well he does at just avoiding being hit. Brouwer still takes exception to the hit and drops the gloves with Neil. In what needs to be done more often - both players drop the helmets. awesome.
Brouwer holds his own in the fight but it's probably a draw. Not many punches are thrown and it's broken up early. Good move by Brouwer though to stick up for Kane.
Sharp gets a great steal along the blue line and takes the puck into the zone - tries to stop short of a check but he's still hit and just barely loses his balance and can't get a shot off.. too bad though - that would have been pretty.
After a penalty to the Sens, Fisher is able to get a breakaway towards Huet. Sharp pressures from the left and Huet comes up huge on another block. So far he's having a great game.
Kane takes the puck over the blue line and does a lap around the Ottawa zone but can't find any good options so he decides to get his stick up in the face of Foligno and cuts him to get a 4 minute penalty. This doesn't look like a good penalty as players are going to start getting angry if he gets his stick up like that on legal/clean hits.
Hawks come up HUGE on the kill though and all 4 mintues are gone... period ends.
After the Second:
Shots – 19-16 Hawks
Faceoffs – 17-15 Hawks
Hits – 17-8 Ottawa
INTERMISSION NOTE: I could watch the girl taking the center ice shot for the rest of the game - doesn't hurt that she seems to know how to handle a stick (HEY-OOO)
The Ladd/Bolland/Havlat line continues to hold the Sens top line in check as they draw a penalty early in the third. No dice though.
Spezza gets a breakaway with only Barker between him and Huet - everyone starts to worry about the tied game. Barker isn't though - good job sticking with Spezza and not letting him get a shot off.
Right after the first penalty ends the Hawks draw another penalty. Same thing all game - the Hawks are passing well but the Hawks can't finish anything - it gets killed.
Sens decide to see what it's like with an man advantage when Kelly falls behind the Hawks net after Walker breathes on him - whatever. Walker has been huge so far on the kill but this time Seabrook and Keith along with Huet are the heros.
Sharp does some great backchecking on a Sens rush and kills their chances. Then Neil tries to kill him. Hawks get yet another penalty where they can't do anything.
Towards the end of the game the Sens are flying all over the zone and putting some big pressure on the Hawks. They pull Gerber and the Hawks get a chance but Kane's shot is blocked. A battle near the blue line ends with Brouwer taking a quick shot towards the net. Game.
Shots – 30-23 - Hawks
Faceoffs – 28-24 - Sens
Hits – 21-17 - Sens
TOI Leader: Seabrook - 27:09
3 Stars of the Game:
#3 – Walker (+1, 15:06 TOI - 4:10 SH, 2BS)
#2 – Kane (1G, 3 SOG, 8 PIM)
#1 - Huet (23 SV, Shutout)
Good win for the Hawks against the types of teams they need to beat.