Well this game was somewhat familiar, wasn't it? After seeming to cruise for most of the first and second periods on their way to taking a 2-0 lead, the Blackhawks found a way to let the Islanders back into the game to force overtime only to pull it out in the end (something that Sharp doesn't do anymore evidently, HEYO!) so that we can all go home happy.
While the game was pretty even and had a good back and forth going in the first, it wasn't until a mad scramble in front of the net that had Al Montoya employ the classic "just play dead and hope the puck ends up under your pads" routine that the Hawks were able to pull ahead. It wasn't on the scramble but rather off the faceoff. Hossa goes behind the net and seemed to try to pass the puck to Toews but instead the puck bounces off Montoya and Hoss gets #400. Not exactly Jeter hitting a home run for 3,000... but it'll due in a pinch. There's always time for something special when #500 comes.
Early in the second, Hossa enters the ice and finds one Patrick Sharp who once again was able to find soft patches of ice at the top of the circle. Very poor coverage by Jurcina and the rest of the Islanders as Sharp had all the time in the world. Not that he's use it though - he unleashed a bomb of a slapper that I doubt Montoya even saw.
Tides would turn though as the Islanders didn't panic and stuck to a solid if unremarkable game. They were rewarded when P.A. Parenteau found Travis Hamonic entering the zone with plenty of room to fire a slapper. I don't think I heard Pat or Eddie mention it but I thought the puck seemed to bounce off Hammer and take a turn to the left to beat Emery. My computer sucks for watching replays though so I can't see if that's the case... what say you?
In the third the Michael Grabner had his chance to unleash a slapshot that Emery never saw (even long after it was in the net) and the game would go to overtime. Not before other shenannigans.. but we'll get to that later. In the end though, it was dat Horsa guy again who horsed Steve Staios and took a hard low shot that bounced right off Montoya's pads to a charging Shooter... game.
Lets get to the bullets:
- Due to the smaller bench and entrances to the locker rooms, Corey Crawford had a damn near perfect spot to watch Ray Emery chip away at Crow's once rock solid position as starter. I'm in no way calling for a goalie controversy again but if Razor can keep this up we won't worry too much about Crawford taking some time to find his game.
Ray was by no means perfect and got a lot of help.. particularly on the approximately 15 times he slid 10 or more feet away from the crease.. but he still had a close to stellar game and made many key saves, mostly in the first, that kept the Hawks in it.
- One of the things that helped Emery most may have been the play of the top 4 defensemen in front of him. Keith and Seabrook were once again solid but it Hjalmarsson that caught my eye most. There were moments of panic in his game but they were few and far between. Instead, I saw him play a more physical game (huge hit on teammate-for-a-day Marty Reasoner) and even a few moments of patience behind the net despite a forechecker on his back. More of this Hammer.
- There's few things more annoying than a guy who just yells "shooot" at games. The only thing might be a guy yelling "hit someone!". Still, the Hawks do seem just a tad bit too pass happy at the moment. Sure, if those passes get through the 3 defenders between the two Hawks.. boom. But they aren't getting through, are they? The OT goal was a prime example.. a hard low shot.. a rebound and what do you know? A goal.
- I think Pat Foley and Eddie-O only just now realized that Toews is also really really good at faceoffs. I think they mentioned it every time he won a draw, which was only half the time tonight. Only 50% and not a single point... pshh, who said you deserve a night off? Dick
- Michael Frolik had another solid game tonight. His play is stepping up lately and he's thriving with Bolland. His stick check that broke up a solid chance for Tavares late in the game isn't a moment that most of us will remember for the rest of the season but it very well could have saved the game.
- You knew I would come to it eventually right? With the game tied and only about 3:30 in the game, Daniel Carcillo decided to get a little slap happy. It was only a shift prior that he had been hit hard in the corner and shoved to ice, causing me to say this. So when there was a scramble in front of the net and he came charging in, you knew there would be trouble. Sure enough, Carbomb lands a jab on someone (Okposo?) and gets 2 minutes. Absolutely unaccpetable. It was clear that the Isles were trying to entice him and he had no trouble taking the bait. Carcillo has had plenty of good moments but these poor decision ones are quickly adding up.
- But hey! It's ok! Our PK is evidently good again, killing all 6 opportunities. Including the dreaded near 2 minute 5-on-3. It was a phantom bad luck call on Kaner and an obvious high stick from Bolland but the Hawks had the advantage of it being broken up by an intermission.
Player Of The Game:
There were a few options here - Shooter had those two goals and a helper. Emery was solid but it was the Hoss that ended up the big winner with 400 goals and a very pretty steal and helper for the winner. He's Marian Hos...you know it by now..