Blackhawks Win A Wild Game 1
Sometimes having players who can do things that virtually no one else can do is pretty nice.
The Blackhawks held a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period after Bryan Bickell tipped a Brent Seabrook shot from the point in for a goal. After a strong first period of hoarding the puck for over 60% of the shots, the Blackhawks sat back a bit and the Wild pushed hard. The Wild massively out possessed the Blackhawks in the 2nd period and started the 3rd period that way as well. The 2nd period was awful for the Blackhawks with one exception. Nick Leddy made a lovely pass to Brandon Saad who then showed off his slick hands to get the puck to Marian Hossa. Since he is Marian Hossa and we are not, he went ahead and did what we cannot, namely, put the puck in the net.
Corey Crawford was amazingly dialed in during this game. The 1st goal scored by the Wild was a weird one. You could see it coming. There is only so long a goalie can get peppered with puck before one gets loose. Johnny Oduya actually swept the puck off of the line, but it bounced off of Crawford, hit Oduya's skate and went in. The Wild's second goal looked to have deflected off of Brent Seabrook before getting past Crawford. The first Wild goal was credited to Clayton Stoner, he of the nasty hit that had Andrew Shaw limping around before heading to the dressing room and remaining there for the rest of the game. The second goal was by Kyle Brodziak.
With the score tied and the fans getting tense because the Wild had taken the game over, someone else decided to take the game over. Someone magical. Someone amazing. Someone every single hockey fan should thank their lucky stars they get to watch. Patrick Kane.
Kane got the puck in the 3rd period and took the game over. Frankly, it's almost unfair to the defensemen in the league to have to play against Patrick Kane. Gap control against him is impossible. Close the gap and he just leaves you in tears behind him. Give him too much room and he skates around like it's the Icecapades so he can pick the spot from which he will seal your horrible fate.
Kane cruised through the entirety of the Minnesota Wild straight to the net and executed a completely ridiculous backhand shot to the roof of the goal. You know the spot. It's that cabinet above the refrigerator where you hide the candy from the kids. At that point, it was game over for the Wild. It was Show Time. Kane added another goal to the score sheet in the 3rd as did Bryan Bickell.
Crawford kept the well rested Blackhawks in this game long enough for the skaters to get things going the way they should. Unfortunately, with a short bench, Coach Joel Quenneville's plan to limit the ice time of the Bollig, Handzus, Nordstrom line did not go as planned. That line was eaten alive on the ice. Neutral zone turnovers were a huge problem for them. Hopefully, once more is known about Shaw's readiness to play in Game 2, Quenneville can do something about that line. It's simply dreadful.
But hey, how bout that Patrick Kane fella?
The fancy numbers are here: Extra Skater
I hope you will forgive the lack of a stat table this evening, but all of the information is in the game page linked above.
5 wins down, 11 to go.