Well - that really wasn't the team I hate to see the Blackhawks play against. Eddie-O mentioned it about half way through the 3rd period but with their current struggles the Predators can't play their normal physical style. Having Jordin Tootoo, one of their leading pests and hitters out doesn't help them keep that normal tempo but nothing was really going to the Predators way tonight. Their passes weren't sharp and they seemed hesitant to shoot.
Of course once again the Blackhawks played an all-around solid game and took away just about every chance the Predators had anyway. This is the kind of game we've been talking about when we say Huet really won't "cost" the team anything when the 5 guys in front of him play their best.
And that's not to take away anything Huet, who had a good game. He came up huge right off the bat with a save off Jason Arnott's first shot of the game. Duncan Keith may have gotten a piece of the pass but Huet was right where he needed to be to take away what looked like it could be the first goal of the night. Later in the night Huet showed a quick glove - knocking away a re-direct from J.P. Dumont just a few feet out. A solid game from Huet who would have had his first shutout of the year had it not been for Niklas Hjalmarsson's skate knocking in a puck for the second game in a row... and a lucky post towards the end of the game.
On the other end of the ice we saw Pekka Rinne improve his game, just not well enough. Dustin Byfuglien has continued his great start to the year and put himself in front of the net on the Hawk's first power play and knocked home the rebound to start the scoring. I've read more than one criticism of Byfuglien that gets on him for not showing emotion, especially after he scores, so I guess he's going to try something now but all he could think of was that one outstretched-arms move Scott Stapp does in every Creed video... I'd go back to the drawing board on that one there. Not even 30 seconds later, the Hawks dented the twine again. This time the play started when the Hawks lost a draw but Jack Skille fights in the corner and forces a turnover which is picked up by Colin Fraser, knocked over to Tomas Kopecky and the Hawks were up two.
Tell me if this sounds familiar though, the puck is kept in the offensive zone on a great move by a Hawk blue liner. It then ends up on Toews' stick who dishes it to another charging player who knocks it home. This time it was Seabrook on the blue line and Toews pushed it to a charging Keith who fired a rocket to finish off the scoring. This play can happen every game and I don't think I'll get sick of it, you?
- CORSI Numbers are here. Brent Seabrook had a very solid game and his +9 shows it.
- Sam wanted me to mention that despite all the noise about how the Hawks can't win anything with this team... they're on pace for 128 points... not that they'll actually keep up this pace of course.
- Foley's story on Waite's re-programming of Huet really made it sound like he's read all the comments around the internets and was trying to offer a defense of Cristobal.
- What will get you drunker - drinking every time Toews wins a battle along the boards? Or drinking every time Toews wins a face off (60.3%)?
- How horribly sexist is this "Hockey 101" thing? "For ladies only"? I've heard plenty of morons with a dick that could use a little refresher on the basics of this sport.
- The Blackhawks once again dominated the shot totals - taking 30 while allowing only 13, including just 2 in the third period. They can't score if you don't let them shoot.
- The totals for faceoffs were much closer but the Blackhawks once again took the edge. The only weak link tonight was Madden who went 2 for 8. Toews won 60%, Bolland won 59% and Kopecky won 100%. Fraser didn't win any though.
- Finally, Brent Sopel led the team with 5 blocked shots, including one that may have prevented a goal on the Predators first power play.
Player of the Game:
Biscuit once again had a solid physical game - he absolutely destroyed a Predator who was in almost alone one Huet (Chris Hansen would be proud). He also factored in on the first and final goals of the game and continues to improve his game. Plus, it gives me a chance to run the picture with the mustache again.
Blackhawks vs Predators coverage