Blackhawks vs. Ducks: 3 stars of the game
We interrupt my continued love-fest over John Gibson to bring you this important message: In a tightly contested affair against a fellow Western Conference power, who stood out for the Chicago Blackhawks?
In what was one of the larger early season contests for the Chicago Blackhawks, we were treated to a real snoozer for the better part of 60 against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. It was a tightly contested affair throughout, with both teams looking stout defensively, and neither looking extraordinarily dangerous in terms of scoring chances, despite plenty of weapons at both ends.
These types of games are the toughest to pick out the three most notable players on the Hawks' side of things, not necessarily because of the loss, just because everything just tends to wind up in one big blob in a tilt like this. Especially when you take into account some extremely questionable coaching decisions and continued incompetence with the man advantage, but that's a story for another day. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. With minimal points to go around and the game so close between the two teams, in terms of Corsi, who could we possibly find to label as Tuesday's three stars?
3. Patrick Sharp
Tonight's Corsi Effort Award goes to the handsomest (surprisingly a word) of all of the Hawks: Patrick Sharp. He finished with a Corsi% just a touch over 74 for the game, good for a relative Corsi of nearly 17. When he was on the ice, the Hawks created more opportunities (Kris Versteeg was third among forwards in Corsi%, while Brad Richards was fourth). He spent the night dragging Richards around and took care of a handful of faceoffs for him as well. He has eight points in nine games, but it sure will be reassuring to see him catch fire in the goal department (just three on the year).
2. Scott Darling
It was another strong outing for the new fan favorite in his quest to unseat the usurper to his backup spot in Antti Raanta. The only goal he allowed was a shorthanded chance by Devante Smith-Pelly that trickled in after a mysterious faceplant by Brent Seabrook. Darling finished with 24 saves on 25 shots. He's allowed just a single goal in each of his two starts. That's hardly a sample size to make anything of, but he's big and he appears more confident back there, just in terms of movement, than Raanta, meaning that this question isn't going away anytime soon. At least it's not Corey Crawford that fans are calling for Darling to replace.
1. Jeremy Morin
Morin finally got himself some playing time, with his presence in the lineup only thanks to the injury to Dan Carcillo to begin with. Regardless of that fact, Joel Quenneville threw him out there much more than we're used to seeing, even mixing in a couple of offensive zone starts. He just barely hit double digits in ice time (a crazy figure, given how much his coach so obviously hates him) and really generated one of the only notable scoring chances of the night for the Hawks, when he made an excellent defensive play and skated in to fire a shot on John Gibson. He finished tied for the team lead in shots for the game, with four.
It was nice to see him with that extra step in his game and we'll see if it translates to more playing time down the road. Until he commits a foolish minor penalty and is forced back into his trap door under the bench.
Oh hey, good game John Gibson.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.