Were this last year's team, that late penalty by Seabrook would have been an absolute death sentence. But this doesn't appear to be your emo, bad hair-cutted, younger brother's Blackhawks. In a back and forth game, the Hawks found a way to gut out a win on the road against the hottest team in the league, with timely goals from the names that matter.
With both Corey Crawford and Semyon Varlamov putting on a clinic, it appeared that Toews' first period marker might end up being enough, but a fluke bounce off Ryan O'Byrne's stick/fist finally solved Crawford to knot it up. In the midst of both teams trading chances, Patrick Sharp picked his corner short side on Varlamov after Andrew Brunette had a Brouwer-esque gaping net whiff job. And during the aforementioned penalty, Marian Hossa iced it with a shorthanded empty netter. Hawks 3, Avs 1.
- Pat and Edzo couldn't wait to fall all over themselves to praise the Keith and Leddy pairing, and for good reason. Both mobile defenseman regularly denied entry by the Avs into the offensive zone with active sticks and quick feet. But the Avs game plays right into that pairing's hands. As we've seen against a team like the Bruins, that pair will still struggle with teams that want to dump and chase, particularly into Leddy's corner. But if these two game help to get Duncs back on track, I'll certainly take it, even if I still disagree with the fundamental composition of that pairing.
- What better way to gum up the league's best power play than to only give them two opportunities, both on kinda iffy calls. But the Hawks PK is turning out to be nails so far this year, with Crawford anchoring the unit, seeing everything that isn't cut off by the men in front of him. For those keeping score at home, even though it was an empty netter, Hossa's shorty now gives the Hawks 2 short handed goals for and only one power play goal against. And if I'm being offered my choice (and the Hawks braintrust never gives it to me), I'd much rather have a dominant PK over the power play, even if the power play is fucking clown shoes (which it is).
- The Hawks got porked at the dot tonight, 31 to 23. Tighten that up at home, which they should be able to, and that will drastically limit the Avs chances.
- Any time the Hawks walk away with 4 points with Patrick Kane held off the score sheet entirely is two wins everyone will take. And with the way he's playing this year, look for him to come out on Saturday with his dick swinging.
- What a game from both Crawford and Varly. While Varlamov gave up a lot more second chances, he made a few spectacular saves, specifically on Seabrook, Frolik, and most criminal of all on Marcus Kruger. The Plan All Along must think at this point he's never going to dent the twine in the show after that. But Crawford limited rebounds, and made the saves he needed to. So this is what a #1 goalie looks like.
- Best game of the year from 10-19-15 so far. Brunette still can't move at all in transition, but he's still a tremendous asset below the rings shaking d-men and making smart passes. And tonight the Avs were more than happy to concede anything below the goal line, which proved to be their undoing.
- I know he only had an assist, and I shouldn't bash a kid for having a sincerely joyous reaction to a goal, but Matt Duchene's ear to ear grin irritates me. And the unfortunate thing for me and the rest of the western conference is that it's not going anywhere for a long, long time.
- I think Kyle Quincey just got another shot through from the blue line.
Player of the Game
For the first time this year, we're proud to bestow this honor on the Hawks' very own Mouseketeer, Corey Crawford. Thirty-one saves on 32 shots in a one goal game will get you that.