Caught, Cleaned, And Mounted: Sharks 3 - Hawks 4
I feel like I have to be guarded here, because it feels weird to gush about a one-goal win.
But that wasn't a one-goal game, or it certainly didn't feel or look like one. Honestly, for a lot of this game it felt like one where we might have to place a call to the bullpen to get you-know-who up and warm. Such was the Hawks dominance, puck support, and speed.
The CORSIs tell a far better story than I could. In fact, they're straight up porn. Look at those. Vik +23. Toews +21. Crawford a +43?! That's obscene. I think the most impressive thing about tonight is that the league's leading team in shots per game only attempted 34 shots. They average 35 per game on net. That's how suffocating the Hawks were in the defensive zone. It's play like that that make you really want to believe in this team.
I'm sure the Sharks and their fans will point to a let's-just-get-the-fuck-outta-here effort from the Sharks, and they still were only a shot away. That's true. But still, it didn't feel like that. Maybe I'm wrong.
-I tweeted this during the game, but what made McGinn's goal from below the goal line so disheartening was that the 1st period was as good as Crawford has looked since...October? He wasn't stabbing, his movement was smooth, he was sucking shots in and leaving nothing. But credit to him, he responded after a bad goal. More importantly, the team in front of him responded, didn't panic or press, and left Crow with basically nothing to do. Even the 6-on-4 to end it only required a couple good saves, not a credit to Zeus save. Something to build on.
-Over the past couple years, there were games where we thought Q should fight fire with fire and throw Toews out against the other team's big guns. He so rarely did. Tonight, we got to see what could happen. Needless to say, Toews is wiping his mouth after feasting on Joe Thornton's line with Jumbo Joe's intestines. And then dessert is Douglas Murray's heart.
-Doug Murray. It's just so funny to say and think about.
-Ok, naysayers. I know there can't be too many of you left, but I don't see what else Viktor Stalberg has to do to win all Hawks fans over. Both his points were a result of diligent forechecking and physical work. His goal a result of going to the net hard. That's pretty much it, right?
-Ok, don't take this the wrong way. I know plenty are already in love with Andrew Shaw. He's given you plenty to fall in love with in his short stint. But that's all it is, a short stint. All we know is that Shaw has looked great for less than 10 games. We don't know what he'll look like at games 20 and 30. That doesn't mean I don't think he'll be effective at those marks, I'm just waiting for them before I declare him a genuine piece. That said, if he continues to win draws, it may be worth a look to toss him at center on the 4th line to get Jammer back to the wing.
-Whatever I think Chicken Hawk is right now, there's no question the kid's got NHL balls on him.
-At this point, to break this slump and luck, the slumpbuster Kane's going to have to take home is probably a dude.
Three of four from the weekend. Before, that probably would have been enough if you were offered that. Maybe the style of it wasn't the most encouraging, but after getting rolled for one period against one Conference power, the Hawks basically treated the Sharks tonight to a Catherine the Great like death. Feels much better.