First and foremost, apologies are due for not having a wrap for yesterday's game, or a preview for today's. Sam is out of town, and I was standing in a wedding (not my own), and there was some miscommunication involved.
So now that that's out of the way, what an entertaining ass game, even for someone as unbelievably hung over as I am. From the get go, chances were traded back and forth, with the Hawks jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Troy Brouwer and Patrick Kane. With a minute left in the first, Scum would cut the lead in half on a goal from Nicklas Lidstrom, which immediately preceded an excellent flyweight scrap between Kris Versteeg and Patrick Eaves.
Scum would knot it at 2-2 on a power play goal from Jared Leto, which the Hawks quickly responded to on an excellent redirection by Patrick Sharp of a Duncan Keith slap pass. Keith also tied his career high in points with that assist at 44. Due to an NBC fuck up, no one saw the tying goal from Eaves live, but it was a very well executed set play on Scum's part, getting Eaves a shot from the half wall above the hash marks. The shot whizzed by a screened Niemi, and the game was tied at 3. Things tightened up from there on out until the very end of regulation, where Sharp fed Marian Hossa on a 2-on-1 as the seconds were ticking down. Hossa pulled the shot to hard attempting to go high on the short side, and missed the net completely.
With a point in hand, rather than cinch it up and just cruise from there on out, both teams went fucking loony during the 4-on-4, with too many chances going each way to mention specifically. Even my roommate, who isn't a hockey fan at all commented that it was the most entertaining stretch of a hockey game he'd ever seen. And it was very refreshing to see two teams of that caliber just go for broke when teams normally play very conservatively. None of it resulted in any scoring, however, and it was on to the skills competition.
Scum shot first, and the unpleasant looking Pavel Datsyuk beat Niemi on an admittedly slick move where he basically gave Niemi a change up that he kind of lobbed over his blocker as he cut across the net. Toews would predictably even things up with a laser through Jimmy Howard's five hole. After Leto and Kane misses, a paroled Todd Bertuzzi scored on a spin-o-rama in front of Niemi, but Marian Hossa would send the shootout to extra innings. After Niemi stopped Dan Cleary, Patrick Sharp clinched it for the Hawks, with one move to his right and beating Howard glove side. Hawks win 4-3
- As was mentioned earlier, that was a hell of a fight between Versteeg and Eaves. Solid moves on both of their parts as well for ditching their visored helmets beforehand.
- Cam Barker was an absolute adventure today. If he can't be useful on the power play or at even strength, he's making himself very very disposable, if not entirely tradeable.
- Sam texted me that the Hawks need to stop coughing up leads, which I do entirely agree with. However, I will say that there really wasn't a damn thing anyone could have done differently on the Eaves goal (short of winning the draw). It was defended properly, the shot was just in a perfect enough spot to get by Niemi
- I still think Pierre McGuire sucks
- Four points out of four points on the road is good any way they come I suppose, but the defense could use some tightening up.
- Great to see Troy Brouwer get some national TV plaudits from the clown college that is NBC's commentating crew.
Player of the Game
Today's honor goes to the dreamy Patrick Sharp, who potted his 16th of the season on a great pass from Duncan Keith in the second, and sealed the victory with a shootout goal. That, and his line with Marian Hossa and Andrew Ladd is starting to find some real chemistry as well.