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Not the prettiest.. but it's still two points.

Three different wins in three different ways - A blowout against Phoenix, a close shutout against Ottawa, and a come from behind win against the Avs.  The Hawks didn't play their best hockey in this game but it's enough for another two points and on the road against a hot team - it's a great win.

The Hawks started the game really well scoring just minutes into the first - it was shit-city after that though.  The first period was some of the sloppiest hockey we've seen from this team in a while.  They had no pressure, the passes were going to no one and they were losing all the battles.  There were some lucky breaks and Khabby looked good after missing 6 games.  The Hawks entered the first intermission down one but it could have been much worse. 

Second period started much the same way but the Hawks were able to tie it up on an amazing pass by Toews and a good finish by Buff.  From then on the Hawks started to pick up their game and start denying any chances from the Avs.  Despite a momentary lapse in play that lead to them going down a goal again, the Hawks were able to rally around some solid play from all lines and take another two points in regulation.

The biggest change from the first to the rest of the game was the pressure put up on D.  After the first both teams were tied at 12 shots a piece.  In the last two periods the Hawks only allowed 9 shots.  When you're not shooting you're not scoring - and when you've got a goalie coming off an injury, preventing shots is a great way to get him up to speed.

Not that Khabby really needed much help - He looked bad after the slapshot by Stewart but was solid throughout the game and came up huge on several chances by the Avs.  Q didn't make a mistake by giving him the start this time though I still wouldn't be surprised to see Huet start on Sunday. 

The Hawks continued to get great games from surprising players as Bolland and Walker both played great games.  Walker logged some huge minutes and definitely won some points in the "Don't drop me when Wiz comes back" contest against Sopel.  Bolland was all over the ice causing problems for the Avs and playing a huge role in the Hawks 3rd goal.

Great to see the Hawks get a come from behind win after an ugly first period.  Hit the jump for more...


The game started off great as Adams is able to grab a rebound of his own shot and put the Hawks up 1 just two and half minutes into the game.  Fraser was standing right on top of the crease - I was able to see if he was able to get a stick on it to clear it back out in front of the net but he was certainly a big part of the goal.  Hawks up 1-0. (Fraser gets an assist.. so I guess he did touch it)

Hawks start the bad play in the first as they kill any momentum they could have built after the quick goal when Seabrook gets his stick in the skates of Wolski and takes a tripping penalty.  Khabby shows he's not too rusty initially as he makes a great save going right to left to keep the Hawks kill alive - Penalty killed. 

Off a good clear, the Hawks get a breakaway that looks like it could be a straight shot to the net.  I see an 8 on the back of the jersey and immediately hope it's Kane.. turns out to be Adams and nothing happens..

Our boy VERSTEEG! gets a chance as he cuts towards the net with a defender right on his back and puts the puck on net but can't/doesn't stop and flies right into and over Budaj.  I thought we might get a call our way but VERSTEEG! goes in for goalie interference.  Bullshit.. but it's killed.

Right off the kill though Stewart takes a slapshot from about 50 feet out and it manages its way through traffic and past Khabby.  There might have been a screen but it looks like Khabby just gets beat - maybe he is a little rusty afterall. 1-1

Once again it looks like the Hawks may get their first power play as McLeod takes down Barker behind the Hawks net - but instead we get a 4 on 4 since Barker got his stick up before the play. 

The Hawks start to get some help from outside sources as Smyth looks like he could get a break away but skates right into the linesmen (who Pat mentions are giants).. Later as the Hawks contine some very sloppy play the Avs take a shot that beats Khabby but smacks off the pipe. 

6 minutes left and Liles gets the puck behind the net and shows some serious speed and takes the puck deep into the Hawks zone, throws it towards the net Laperriere is able to knock it in.  Khabby never had a chance.  I don't know if Liles really is that fast, or if skating away from Buff in his own zone just makes him look like a speedster.

Finally, the Hawks go on the power play as Toews breaks into the Avs zone and gets hooked by Hejduk.  The final 36 seconds tick away and the Hawks start the third on the power play with some clean ice.

After the First:

Shots – 12-12
Faceoffs – 18-6 Avs
Hits – 6-4 Hawks


It looks like Kane just gives away the puck at the start of the second period but his hand was knocked off his stick by a slash by Laperriere.. 5 on 3 for a full minute...

Havlat is playing in front of the net where he doesn't belong on the 5 on 3 but it doesn't matter as the Hawks take another too many men penalty...really?? when you've got two extra skaters?...  fuckers

Hawks continue to play too cute with the puck as a drop pass goes to no one in black and the Avs get a rush... nothing.. another quick rush that beats both Seabrook and Keith.. Khabby comes up huge... at least the Hawks kill the penalty.

BUFF! (as he'll be known for this play thanks to Pat originally calling VERSTEEG!) grabs an amazing leading pass from Toews deep in the Hawks zone... Pat calls "BIIIIIIG SAVE! - but BUFF! was actually able to go five hole on Budaj and the game is tied up - not Pat's finest moment really

Hawks seem to be playing better hockey while at the same time just throwing the puck wildly at the net.  The passes are a little crisper, the pressure is better, they're winning more of the 50/50 battles and simply controlling the puck better..

And when you play better you can get calls like the one Sopel was able to sell.  Dupuis pulls up on a check but Sopel basically throws himself into the boards.. Dupuis goes to the box for boarding.  Doesn't matter.. Avs kill

Right at the end of the kill the Avs clear it out and there's a battle at center ice.  Keith gets his arm up for a holding call and the Avs control the puck for ages before the whistle blows.  I always hate seeing a team kill a penalty.. then get a power play of their own.  Bad news written all over it.  Khabby keeps the Hawks in the game though as he goes left to right and blocks a point blank shot.

I wasn't the only hoping for some Toews heroics when he had the puck at the end of that kill, right? 

After the Second:

Shots – 20-15 Hawks
Faceoffs – 25-12 Avs
Hits – 13-7 Hawks


Hey... Toews wins the faceoff - that's a good sign, right?

"We welcome all of you who were watching the Bulls get beat by the Grizzlies"... nice one Pat. 

4 mintues in Wolski flies through the neutral zone, splits the defenders (including Campbell) and goes in alone on Khabby.  Goal.  3-2 Avs.  How the hell does Campbell give up on that play so easily?

6 minutes in and VERSTEEG! battles hard along the boards.  For a little guy he doesn't give up on plays very easily.  Buff comes in to help him and is rocked in the back by Foote.  The look Buff gives Foote says he wants to send him right back on IR - but he's called for a penalty.  No dice - killed.

Bolland has a great play as he holds the puck forever and is able to feed Ladd who puts it through Budaj's legs... 3-3.  Great play by Bolland to not panic and wait for something to develop. 

Bolland continues his great play in the third as he brings the puck towards the net on a good cut and draws a hook from Leopold.  There's some good passing and shots by the Hawks and a full 90 seconds without a clear - which means the Avs are getting tired.  Buff plants himself in front of the net and Havlat puts it towards him.  Budaj goes down to block the shot but the puck was on edge and Buff lifts it over him 4-3 Hawks.

With 1:15 left they pull Budaj - the Avs get some good chances but there's no luck as Khabby makes a huge right pad save. Hawks keep the chances low for the Avs.  Victory.

After Regulation:

Shots – 30-21 Hawks
Faceoffs – 31-20 Avs
Hits – 18-12 Hawks

TOI Leader: Keith 24:49 - although Walker's 22:26 is impressive and third for the Hawks.


#3 – Wolski (1G)
#2 – Laperriere (1G, 1A)
#1 – BUFF! (2G)

Your thoughts?