Oh, THERE you are.
None of this is to say that the Oilers didn't have their chances early, where the Hawks were frequently running around in their own zone, both at even strength and during the tripping penalty taken by Dave Bolland. But the Oilers seemingly refused to hit the net, and the four times they did, Marty Turco was there. A suddenly ambulatory Jonathan Toews jabbed a rebound home against old pal Nikolai Khabibulin about 15 minutes in after numerous chances on previous shifts where his line in particular was buzzing. With less than a minute to go, Toews banked a goal in from the goal line off Tom Gilbert's skate to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead going into the first break and holding a 20-4 shot advantage.
Toews completed the natural hat trick with a bullet from the slot a hair over a minute into the second on a feed from Patrick Kane, and the Hawks pretty well cruised from there. Patrick Sharp, who had numerous opportunities beforehand rifiling shots at Khabibulin, finally put one home dekeing him down and out after an Oil turnover for a shorty. Early in the third, Bickell unleashed a weapons grade slapper at the top of the left circle in transition to round out the scoring, as the Hawks held on to give Turco his first whitewash as a Hawk. Hawks 5, Oilers bagel.
- From the get-go, the Toews, Kane, and Stalberg line was absolutely flying, and it seemed almost inevitable that they'd dent the twine. And while Khabby was yanked after 2 periods, had he not made a few really solid stops the game could have been completely out of hand before the first was even over, as he received no help from the skaters in front of him.
- It looked like Khabby would have Sharp's number for the entire night, but Shooter finally broke an 8 game goal scoring drought with a pretty nifty deke in close quarters to get his second shorty of the year, which still only brings him up to -10.
Marian Hossa actually had an "I'm Marian Hossa and you're not" shift in the first, corralling three different loose pucks and taking them to scoring areas. Let's see more of that, please.
- Congrats to Marty Turco, not just for the shutout, but for finally getting what he signed up for this off-season. Turco had very little to do, and was up to the challenge when he did, notably a sliding pad save on Ryan Whitney on an Oiler advantage in the second.
- While it resulted in a great chance for Bickell leading a two on one in the second, just what in the name of Pavel Bure was he thinking cherry picking the instant prior to that? Hammer once again had to throw the puck up the boards in desperation to clear it, and it fortunately landed on Bick's tape.
- This is a question that's often asked, but I never get a satisfactory answer for: If the ice is so awesome at Rexall Place in Edmo (and by the looks of things, it is), then why in the hell can't the Hawks get that at the UC, instead of the sludgefest we're usually accustomed to seeing? Baseball groundskeepers tailor their park to the strengths of their team, and getting quality fast ice should be a far bigger priority for the United Center operations staff. Maybe they should get Roger Bossard on the job.
- Loved Pat Foley very diplomatically effectively saying "If Jim Vandermeer is on your power play, then your team sucks" in the third. He's right, but really, couldn't the same thing be said about the Hawks and Fernando Pisani earlier in the year?
- And speaking of the power play...I still don't know if the current configuration is going to amount to a heap of anything in the long run, but the first unit has put in 3 in two games.
- Oh, and speaking of Jumbo, his Movember 'stache looks really really molester-y. Leave that shit to the pros.
Player Of The Game
Were there ever really any other choices?
But that's not why you're still here. Even though it's the Oilers and it's what you're supposed to do, it's nice to see DLR made the trip. And that he still likes the way the lines run up the back of those stockings.