First off, big ups to Whale4ever for visiting us on the Game Thread. May the Lord smile upon any Whalers fan.
Well, the Hawks have marched through the Southeast like Sherman to the sea. The 4-0 scoreline is a bit flattering. This was a very close game until Toews's empty-netter (speaking of which, pulling your goalie with four minutes to go? I appreciate aggressiveness more than conservatism but christ, hold your wad! Your wife will be appreciative). It was always going to be close, with two very good teams playing on a mish-mush of a surface. Do I complain about ice surfaces too much? I just think it can really ruin a spectacle. I know it's South Florida, but in a world where we can build a rink on Wrigley Field and they want to play an outdoor game in Vegas or LA, I'm sure we can figure out a way to put a decent surface in Sunrise.
In the first, the Hawks scored early through some diligent work by Andrew Ladd, or Nails as we've dubbed him in The Indian. Good to see Laddy get on the 'sheet, because he deserves a higher goal total than 10. Huet made some big saves in the 1st to keep it right there, as did Vokoun.
The following two periods pretty much followed the same pattern. Dynamic play at both ends, some choppy play at both ends, and Huet making some big saves. Game could have been easier if Barker doesn't hit the post, or the power play managed to dent because it did everything else. We've heard a lot about how Kane improved his shot in the summer, but we don't see it enough. When he curls off the half-boards he needs to shoot a couple times just so teams respect it. He keeps looking for the killer pass but all lanes are shut off. However, Brouwer's been doing a great job of creating screens in front of the net, hopefully he'll be rewarded with more goals soon. Seems to blow his share of chances, though.
Huet's best save was either on Booth in the 2nd or Horton in the 3rd, after Horton turnstiled 51 Phantom. I really hope it's true that he'll be available, that's quite a player. In fact, the Panthers a fun bunch, they're D play with their hair on fire. Unfortunately, not too many of them seem to have a clue what's going on in their own end. You wonder if they won't get found out quickly in the playoffs. But I suppose it would be enough for them to get there They'll also have to cut out some of the silly penalties they committed tonight.
Once again, as you'll see in the Corsi, D-Ladd Soul was the best line all night. It's becoming a broken record. Here are your shift charts as well. But, and I'm going to try and start this now, your Second City Player of The Game is none other than: