Observations From Section 321: A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Blackhawks advance to the 2nd round with a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

Seems like ages ago that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter sat at the podium, in the Xcel Energy Center, announcing they were both coming to St Paul. The move put the rest of the hockey world on notice that the Minnesota Wild were going to become major players. So much so that Barry Melrose picked them to win the Stanley Cup. But, nobody should have put too much stock in the opinion of the man who thought Steven Stamkos wasn't ready for the NHL. Craig Liepold spent $196 million dollars last summer and all he got for his efforts was one playoff win. Hardly worth it, at least at this point. The Wild are going to be a pain in the ass in the near future, but it just wasn't in the cards for them this year. Mike Yeo had a good game plan against the Hawks, but he just did not have the horses to run with them.

While we're talking about things that happened ages ago, it's been way too long since the Blackhawks were on the right side of post series hand shakes. Last night marked the first series win since the Hawks hoisted the Cup in Philadelphia. The Hawks had to withstand another strong start from the Wild, but Corey Crawford was up to the challenge, just like he has been all series long. The Hawks struck first when Marian Hossa picked up his 2nd goal of the series with the assist from Jonathan Toews. The assist was the captain's first point of the series. The Hawks were able to open up the game in the 2nd period with goals from Marcus Kruger, a second goal from Hossa, and Andrew Shaw. Patrick Sharp scored his 5th goal of the playoffs while the Hawks were on a 3rd period power play to finish off the scoring.

* The best two players for the Hawks in this series both had their moments in the spotlight last night. Corey Crawford has been the team's MVP thus far, and if it wasn't for a Torrey Mitchell 2nd period goal, he would have had his second straight shutout. Crow gave up just 7 goals on the 139 shots he faced in the series, finishing with a .950 save %. He has played very well and has silenced his critics, that is until he gives up his next "bad" goal. Marcus Kruger was the best forward in the series and I was very happy to see him get a well deserved goal. Frogger has played his ass of off with his high energy play, his defense and great work on the penalty kill. He may never develop into an offensive threat but he is always welcomed to a spot on my team for everything else he brings to the game.

* Everybody can relax, the first line is just fine. This series just proved what a tough out the Hawks are going to be because even when you shut down their top line, there are 3 more lines ready to beat your ass. The Wild's first line was pretty much invisible this series and they had no answer for it. When I sat down for my breakfast cereal this morning I saw a picture of Mikko Koivu on my milk carton. If you take away his goal in Game 2, Zach Parise had a pretty pedestrian series. If it wasn't for his slash on Jonathan Toews in the 3rd period, his name would not have been mentioned all night.

* Andrew Shaw is really enjoying taking on the role of "playoff troll" isn't he? This will make unloading Dave Bolland even easier this summer.

* The pairing of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson has been great in the post season so far. Their Corsi numbers for the series were off the chart. Last night alone they were a combine +32 Corsi.

* A faceoff violation penalty??? I just wish one of those could have been called against the Canucks just to watch Twitter explode!

* I hope, at the very least, Parise and Ryan Suter are springing for the first round of golf this week. But now that this series is over, I can go back to being a fan of Josh Harding.

* So now the Hawks await to find out who their 2nd round opponent will be, either the Sharks or the Red Wings. I would prefer to play the Wings. Not because of any match up or old rivalry bullcrap, but because there won't be any 9 pm starts in Detroit. Both teams want to play a wide open game, which plays right into the Hawks favor. The Sharks are a bit bigger and have well known turd Raffi Torres these days, but neither team should frighten anyone.

Blackhawks Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 16:46 21 6 +15 0 +15
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 16:37 21 4 +17 0 +17
Brent Seabrook D 18:00 15 10 +5 +5 +3
Nick Leddy D 18:20 16 10 +6 +4 +4
Patrick Sharp R 13:34 10 12 -2 +2 -3
Daniel Carcillo L 9:05 11 4 +7 +1 +7
Marcus Kruger C 11:22 17 5 +12 0 +12
Jonathan Toews C 15:41 17 3 +14 0 +14
Brandon Saad L 14:39 15 5 +10 0 +10
Viktor Stalberg L 13:14 7 6 +1 0 +1
Michal Handzus C 12:28 6 12 -6 +2 -7
Johnny Oduya D 18:08 12 13 -1 -2 -0
Bryan Bickell L 12:32 7 6 +1 0 +1
Michal Rozsival D 18:42 13 16 -3 -3 -2
Andrew Shaw C 15:39 12 10 +2 -1 +2
Michael Frolik R 10:02 14 5 +9 0 +9
Marian Hossa R 15:52 19 3 +16 0 +16
Patrick Kane R 15:29 12 15 -3 +2 -4

Wild Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Marco Scandella D 15:45 5 18 -13 0 -13
Matt Cullen C 13:32 13 10 +3 -1 +3
Mikko Koivu C 15:57 6 16 -10 +1 -10
Devin Setoguchi R 10:58 9 9 0 -1 +0
Zach Parise L 16:44 6 17 -11 +1 -11
Jason Zucker L 12:11 8 11 -3 0 -3
Torrey Mitchell C 11:19 4 16 -12 0 -12
Ryan Suter D 26:24 17 20 -3 -2 -2
Kyle Brodziak C 16:56 9 14 -5 -2 -4
Cal Clutterbuck R 12:11 7 14 -7 -1 -7
Jonas Brodin D 21:43 16 15 +1 -3 +2
Mike Rupp C 5:25 2 7 -5 -1 -5
Jason Pominville R 12:35 7 10 -3 -2 -2
Justin Falk D 8:26 5 12 -7 +1 -7
Jared Spurgeon D 17:31 7 15 -8 -1 -8
Charlie Coyle C 16:43 9 14 -5 +2 -6
Tom Gilbert D 16:48 8 18 -10 +1 -10
Pierre-Marc Bouchard C 13:02 7 9 -2 -2 -1