Observations From Section 321 : One Banner Down, Two To Go

The Blackhawks clinch the 2013 Central Division title with a 3-2 shootout win over the Red Wings.

The Blackhawks tried their hardest on Friday night to give the Red Wings a nice going away present with two points. But, for whatever reasons, the Wings just wouldn't take the nice gesture from their old rival. The Blackhawks looked sloppy and uninterested for most of the game but were still able to find a way for the two points in the end.

The Hawks had quite a few chances in the first few minutes of the game, many of those thanks to an early power play, which helped them out shoot the Wings 8-2 in the opening 5:36. Momentum changed when the Hawks started a parade to the penalty box with three straight minors, two by Michal Handzus and one from Patrick Kane. The Hawks' PK unit was up to the challenge and the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes.

Viktor Stalberg was finally able to break to the scoreless tie at 6:11 of the 2nd period. The play started with Duncan Keith pinching in and chipping the puck to Stalberg behind the net. Keith avoided a hit from Kyle Quincey and headed to the net where Vik got him the puck and he fired a shot off the side of the cage. At this point, Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard had no idea where the puck was and Pat & Edzo's favorites was able to complete a wrap around for his 8th goal of the year.

The lead would last about 8 minutes until the Wings finally cashed in on a power play chance. At 15:40, Johan Franzen redirected a Carlos Colaiacovo slap shot past Corey Crawford. Both Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson did absolutely nothing to prevent Franzen's redirect. Hjammer used the "stare at him and hopes he just skates away" defensive strategy, but that one has yet to actually work in a game.

The Wings took the lead just 2 minutes later on a sequence that probably should have never happened. While Cory Emmerton took the puck off the left hand boards, Drew Miller obviously held the stick of Michal Rozsival which prevented him from making a play. Miller could have been called for goalie interference just moments before that but the refs must feel bad for him for being cursed with gray hair before he was old enough to drive. A sliding Nick Leddy was able to block Emmerton's first shot but the rebound came right back to him for an uncontested goal.

The Hawks were able to tie the game late in the 3rd, when who else but Jonathan Toews was in front of the net to clean up a mess. You have to give all the credit for this goal to Michal Frolik for working his ass of to keep possession of the puck twice during this sequence. He got the puck to Johnny Oduya whose shot got caught up in the skates of Quincey. Toews was able to pounce on the loose puck and tie the game up with his 20th goal of the year. The play reminded me a lot of Patrick Kane's late goal against Detroit that sent the March 3rd game to OT. The puck got caught up in Kyle Quincey's skates on the that play too.

The Hawks had a great chance to end the game in the final seconds of overtime when Viktor Stalberg used his speed to create a rush. He was able to center the puck to Kane but Howard made a great save on the play. This was the kind of play that is going cause some team to overpay for Stalberg's services this summer. In the 5th round of the shootout, Brandon Saad was able to nail down the final X in the game ending round of Tic Tac Toe, after both Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa were able to score earlier.

* Corey Crawford was solid in his return to the ice last night. He played big in the net and was able to stop 27 of Detroit's 29 shots. Despite giving up a power play goal, he was the best penalty killer on the ice last night. He made six saves while his team was a man down and you can't fault him for Franzen's goal. Crow looked much better in the shootout than he did the last time out when he gave up 4 goals on 6 attempts. I wouldn't be surprised if Crawford gets the start tomorrow in St. Louis since he had very good success against the Blues in his career.

* Not that anyone was questioning it, but taking extra time to get Patrick Sharp healthy was very smart on the Hawks behalf. He looked very good against Minnesota on Tuesday and was fantastic again last night. Winning 7 of 8 faceoffs is a nice addition for sure.

* What happened to the Johnny Oduya from January and February? I really like that guy and want him to return soon. Until further notice Oduya and Andrew Shaw should be not on the ice together at the same time. Those two guys are just turnover machines right now. The Hawks had 11 giveaways as a team last night which is damn ugly.

* It is so odd watching a Red Wings team that plays such poor defense. To think there was a time when I was pissed that the Wings got Kyle Quincy. Not so much any more.

* How about Nick Leddy dishing out 4 hits? Only Bryan Bickell had more with his 5. Everyone gets excited to watch Leddy skate with the puck but you have to give him credit for improved defensive play this year. Really excited to watch this kid mature and get even better over the next few years.

* Al Jourgensen was the best thing to pop up on my TV for most of the night.

* Any body preorder their Drew LeBlanc jersey yet?

Blackhawks Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 19:24 16 16 0 -1 +0
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 16:17 13 18 -5 -2 -4
Brent Seabrook D 18:14 13 14 -1 -3 +0
Nick Leddy D 20:23 14 19 -5 -3 -4
Patrick Sharp R 14:28 16 12 +4 -1 +4
Daniel Carcillo L 6:09 3 7 -4 -2 -3
Marcus Kruger C 12:01 16 10 +6 -1 +6
Jonathan Toews C 14:49 9 16 -7 -2 -6
Brandon Saad L 13:34 6 13 -7 0 -7
Viktor Stalberg L 14:23 11 5 +6 +1 +6
Michal Handzus C 8:19 4 7 -3 -2 -2
Johnny Oduya D 13:19 13 7 +6 0 +6
Bryan Bickell L 14:07 13 3 +10 0 +10
Michal Rozsival D 16:42 15 10 +5 +1 +5
Andrew Shaw C 14:47 15 11 +4 0 +4
Michael Frolik R 7:56 9 9 0 -2 +1
Marian Hossa R 15:22 14 17 -3 -2 -2
Patrick Kane R 15:10 8 11 -3 0 -3

Red Wings Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Jakub Kindl D 13:57 6 12 -6 -1 -6
Justin Abdelkader L 16:09 18 13 +5 +2 +4
Daniel Cleary R 15:03 13 9 +4 +2 +3
Pavel Datsyuk C 16:18 17 14 +3 +3 +2
Gustav Nyquist C 8:33 5 5 0 0 0
Drew Miller L 10:55 4 13 -9 -1 -9
Jordin Tootoo R 8:31 3 7 -4 -1 -4
Damien Brunner C 8:56 8 8 0 0 0
Cory Emmerton C 8:16 4 11 -7 -1 -7
Kyle Quincey D 13:14 10 15 -5 0 -5
Carlo Colaiacovo D 18:39 20 21 -1 +2 -2
Henrik Zetterberg L 16:08 18 11 +7 +2 +6
Valtteri Filppula C 17:36 16 15 +1 +2 +0
Jonathan Ericsson D 20:41 17 10 +7 +3 +6
Niklas Kronwall D 19:56 16 12 +4 +3 +3
Joakim Andersson C 8:40 5 6 -1 0 -1
Danny Dekeyser D 18:46 15 14 +1 +1 +1
Johan Franzen C 15:18 12 12 0 +3 -1