Observations From Section 321 : Coming Up Rozes

Blackhawks steal a shootout win after another lackluster 3rd period.

Stop me if you've heard this one before; Blackhawks dominate the first 40 minutes of play and then sleepwalk through the 3rd period. The Hawks out shot the Predators 18 to 4 in the 2nd period and looked to be in a different league than them. The 3rd period was the exact opposite, and it made me swear at my television more than I have since the Bears season ended. These 3rd period shit shows need to stop. If the Blackhawks pull this crap in the playoffs there are going to be a lot of disappointed Chicago hockey fans. You need 100% for 60 minutes, and sometimes more, to win in the post season. Not 40, not 50, not 58 minutes but a full 60.

The Blackhawks were able to wake me from my neutral zone trap induced sleep at 19:48 of the 1st period when Brandon Saad notched his 7th goal of the season. The play started with a Jonathan Toews faceoff win, Tazer got the puck to Niklas Hjalmarsson and headed straight to the net. Meanwhile, Hjammer quickly passed the puck over to Saad who fired off a sneaky wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. The puck appeared to clip off Jonathan Blum's skate and got past Pekka Rinne. It was sure nice to be on the right end of kick to the nuts goal in the final seconds of a period, for a change, wasn't it?

Patrick Kane continued to embarrass Western Conference goalies with his 19th of the year at 12:10 of the 2nd period. The play started with Nick Leddy forcing a turnover behind his own net that sprang Kane and Toews on a 2 on 1 rush. Not much a goalie can do while staring down DDN on a 2 on 1, except get into the fetal position and hope the puck hits him. Kane snapped just a sick rising shot that Rinne had no chance at.

The Hawks had a 2-0 lead on the offensively challenged Predators and just dominated the 2nd period, life is good right? Wrong! The wheels started to fall off when Corey Crawford allowed an extremely soft goal due to a brain fart at 3:56. Crow tried to cover up a long dump in but mishandled the puck initially. David Legwand was able to poke the puck away from Crawford and into the net. It was the type of play that usually gets a quick whistle but the referee was in the right position and saw that Crow never had full possession of the puck. No excuse for that goal. Why does Crow always seem to let in the worst goals against the Predators?

The weak goal was the shot in the arm Nashville was looking for because for the next few minutes they controlled all facets of the game. It looked like the Preds were playing 5 on 3 for an extended period time as the Hawks could not clear the zone to save their lives. Just 3 and a half minutes after their first goal the Preds were able to tie up the game. Patrick Hornqvist was able to come off the right hand boards, after the Hawks lost another puck battle, and had a 2 on 1 with Taylor Beck. Hornqvist passed over to Beck who kicked the puck to his stick and fired on the net. Crawford made the initial save but the puck got caught up in the lip of his glove, rolled off of Crow and just over the goal line. The Predators got off 10 shots before the Hawks were able to get their first of the period.

The Hawks were able to play a bit better the second half of the period and force overtime. After a scoreless 5 minutes the game was to be decided by the shootout. Jonanthan Toews made Rinne look silly with the Hawks first attempt. The man with the most boring name in hockey, Craig Smith, converted on Nashville's 3rd attempt to extend the silliness a little longer. After misses by Kane, Andrew Shaw and Saad, Coach Q called on Michal Rozsival to save the day. And just to prove how dumb the shootouts are, Rozsival looked like Waybe Gretzky with a sweet top shelf, backhand shot. Crawford stopped Beck on the final attempt to secure the extra point for the Blackhawks.

* Crawford certainly gave his haters a lot ammo last night with the two goals he gave up. Never mind all the solid saves he had to make in the 3rd period just to keep his team in the game. The first goal was all on Crow, you can't have those type of gaffes. I will not throw him under the bus for the second goal. Yes it was weak, but he was getting zero help in front of him and it was only a matter of time before one went in the net with the way the Hawks were playing in their own zone. Bottom line is Crow is still your starting goalie in the playoffs, even though I think you will see him and Ray Emery alternate starts from here on out. It was just about this time of year, in 2010, that many people doubted the Hawks could win a Cup with Antti Niemi in net and that worked out pretty well. Before yelling to run Crow out of town please look at his whole body of work this season, not a few bad plays.

* The power play looked a lot better last night in the limited action it saw. They pretty much did everything right except score a goal. The movement within the zone was much better and they were able to create a couple of really good scoring chances. More of this please.

* The Hawks were also much better at the dot winning 60 % as a team. All four regular centers were at least 50%. Toews was unreal per usual going 17/22, Marcus Kruger was 6/12, Shaw 7/13 and Dave Bolland was 6/8 before leaving with a lower body injury. Was it being worried about the acquisition of Michal Handzus or just dumb luck that lead to Bolly's improvement?

* Bad things happen when Bradon Bollig gets sent down to Rockford. The last time it happened Marian Hossa got injured the same night. Yesterday it was Bolland. Bollig must have one hell of a collection of voodoo dolls.

* Remember when many people were down on Stan Bowman for not getting Paul Gaustad at last year's deadline? How's that looking now? He has 1 goal and 7 assists in the 35 games he has played in Nashville. Hardly worth the 4 year/13 million contract he got in the summer and the 1st round draft pick given up at the deadline.

* The 4th line did a really nice job in the 3rd period after the Preds tied the game. They seemed to be the only line that could sustain any pressure in the Nashville zone. Daniel Carcillo played his best game of the season and made a few quality plays.

* I never thought I could ever have a man crush on someone as much as I do for Brandon Saad right now. Every night he improves and gives you at least one "Oh wow!" moment. Early in the game he skated right through a Shea Weber check, which is no small feat. His vision of the ice is remarkable and his backhand passes are just unfair.

* I don't know why I thought it was so funny when Steve Konroyd thought he saw 6 Preds on the ice late the 3rd period, but I could not stop laughing. I propose that the next time Edzo is on assignment, the Hawks use the team of Pat Foley and Harvey Wittenberg. That would be much see TV!

Blackhawks Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 22:38 23 14 +9 +1 +9
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 19:56 17 9 +8 +1 +8
Brent Seabrook D 18:22 15 24 -9 +1 -9
Nick Leddy D 18:33 15 20 -5 0 -5
Daniel Carcillo L 10:25 13 7 +6 +1 +6
Marcus Kruger C 14:00 14 10 +4 -2 +5
Jonathan Toews C 21:42 16 12 +4 -4 +6
Brandon Saad L 18:24 11 15 -4 -1 -4
Viktor Stalberg L 14:36 17 5 +12 +2 +11
Jeremy Morin L 9:14 13 6 +7 0 +7
Johnny Oduya D 19:33 22 9 +13 -3 +14
Bryan Bickell L 13:03 18 5 +13 +1 +13
Michal Rozsival D 20:30 22 10 +12 -4 +14
Dave Bolland C 5:14 3 5 -2 -1 -2
Jimmy Hayes R 11:49 8 13 -5 +1 -5
Andrew Shaw C 18:13 17 13 +4 +2 +3
Michael Frolik R 14:52 11 11 0 -2 +1
Patrick Kane R 19:23 14 22 -8 -2 -7

Predators Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Shea Weber D 28:34 21 24 -3 0 -3
Jonathon Blum D 10:07 4 8 -4 +1 -4
Kevin Klein D 22:20 19 23 -4 +1 -4
Martin Erat R 22:01 18 15 +3 -2 +4
David Legwand C 15:51 17 8 +9 +3 +8
Nick Spaling C 14:24 5 22 -17 0 -17
Craig Smith C 13:17 8 17 -9 +1 -9
Rich Clune L 12:05 5 10 -5 +1 -5
Brandon Yip R 9:14 5 19 -14 -1 -14
Matt Halischuk R 9:01 6 17 -11 0 -11
Patric Hornqvist R 14:31 14 7 +7 +3 +6
Paul Gaustad C 23:06 18 22 -4 -3 -3
Taylor Beck L 10:59 9 6 +3 +4 +1
Gabriel Bourque L 4:31 2 2 0 +1 -0
Roman Josi D 27:19 21 27 -6 0 -6
Victor Bartley D 19:31 18 19 -1 +1 -1
Sergei Kostitsyn L 21:55 19 16 +3 -2 +4
Hal Gill D 11:41 3 13 -10 +1 -10