Observations From Section 321 : Rocky Mountain Five

The Blackhawks put up a five spot to get their "revenge" on the Avalanche as they improve to 3-0 on this four game road trip.

Boy oh boy, the Hawks new division next year is going to be full of suck, isn't it? The last two games the Blackhawks have easily handled two future divisional foes, the Stars and the Avalanche, by a combined score of 13-3. They pretty much made it look easy last night with their stars being stars and their tremendous depth showing up once again.

The first period saw the Hawks do two things that have been doing pretty well this year; quickly scoring goals in pairs and giving up a late period, momentum killing goal. Jimmy Hayes got his first goal of the year at 3:47 on an assist from Patrick Kane. Dave Bolland should get credit for an assist because it was his forecheck behind the net that caused the initial turnover. Andrew Shaw added his 7th goal of the season just 57 seconds later with assists from Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg. The 3rd line used their speed to take advantage of a terrible decision by Erik Johnson to pinch in at his own blue line. The Avs cut the lead in half with a short handed goal from Gabriel Landeskog with just 34 seconds left in the 1st period.

The Hawks were shorthanded to open up the 2nd period as Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook were not on the bench. Hossa suffered a upper body injury late in the 1st period after taking a hit from Ryan O'Byrne. Seabrook seemed to be in Q's doghouse after is horrible effort on the Landeskog goal. He returned to the bench but wasn't called on for a shift for over half the period. Patrick Kane continued his MVP push with his 16th goal of the year at 7:49. Kaner was able to take advantage off a sprawled out Semyon Varlamov and cash in on a wide open net. Johnathan Toews and Duncan Keith assisted on the play. Brent Seabrook redeemed himself with his 5th goal of the season at 14:40 with a nasty one timer from the left hand face off circle. Kane and Toews picked up the assists on the goal. The Hawks once again gave up a late goal, this time to Milan Hejduk at 18:34. Hejduk scored on a pretty wrist shot over the shoulder of Ray Emery, a shot he's been making since Fred and Barney were "just friends."

The Hawks could have easily scored three or four goals in the 3rd period but it was apparent that Varlamov had eaten his Wheaties during the second intermission. He made a couple of really good pad saves on back to back shots from Brandon Saad early in the frame. He also stoned Kaner on a breakaway attempt that was made possible by fantastic pass by Duncan Keith. Captain Serious added his 14th goal of the year at 16:30 to seal the 5-2 win. Tazer started the play by digging the puck out of his own corner and racing down the ice where he buried a nasty wrist shot from the right hand dot. Toews was in serious "f&*k you" mode all night long. Saad and Seabrook were credited with assists on the final goal of the game.

* Patrick Kane racked up his 4th 3 point game of the season last night and has been on a tear. He got stuffed on breakaways in each of the last two games. I guess it's a little bit harder to score at full speed as opposed to being able to slow it down and fake the goalie out of his jock. Watching the new and improved "mature" Kane has been a blast.

* I really hope Stan Bowman can figure out a way to resign both Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell. I wanted Bickell to rot away in Rockford most of last season but I have to give him credit, he has improved by leaps and bounds this year. Playing in Europe really seemed to help him. He is in better shape and is a much better skater than he has been in years past. He still falls in love with the wrist shot from the top of the circle too much for my liking but I will take it as long as the improvements keep coming.

* Pat Foley was in rare form last night. First he ripped on Cody McLeod when a loose puck came to him in front of the net but he missed wide. Foley's comment on the play was "good thing it was Cody McLeod.' Ouch. Then he took the time to rip the Blues for picking Erik Johnson over Jonathan Toews which we are all thankful for. I got a kick out of it because he pretty much said the same thing I Tweeted just a few moments earlier. Any time the Blues get ripped on a broadcast is a good night.

* Every time I see Greg Zanon I can't help but think of the Family Guy episode where Peter raises three baby birds in his beard.

* I have to give Q some credit for really take charge of his team this season. He has scratched one of his favorite players, Daniel Carcillo, the last three games and last night he had the stones to bench Brent Seabrook during the 2nd period. Seabrook has not been good this season. He has shown flashes of being the Biscuit we have come to know and love but then he has moments like the shorthanded Landeskog goal. He did score a goal and add an assist when he was allowed to return to the ice, which is nice, but I want Seabs to worry more about his defense than the offensive side.

* Ray Emery has 11 wins which is more than the Sabres, Panthers and Avalanche have as entire teams. The Hawks 26 road points is greater than the point totals of the Avs, Panthers, Sabres and Capitals right now.

* Niklas Hjalmarsson had another solid game. Hjammer is another guy I wanted shipped out of town but am now glad StanBo never made a move. Nik finished with 3 hits, 2 takeaways and 4 block shots. He isn't making the glamorous plays that get you the highlight shows, but he is doing the dirty jobs that need to be done to win hockey games. I am thankful that Stan Bowman had more patience with Hjammer than I had, but that is why he is the GM and I am blogger.

* Hopefully we will get an update on Marian Hossa today, but indications are his upper body injury is not serious. The Hawks have four days off after tomorrow night's tilt with the Ducks, so he should have plenty of time to rest up.

Blackhawks Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 19:05 21 14 +7 -2 +8
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 19:50 16 15 +1 +2 +0
Brent Seabrook D 13:18 16 7 +9 -2 +10
Nick Leddy D 18:43 20 9 +11 +5 +9
Marcus Kruger C 12:51 12 10 +2 +1 +2
Jonathan Toews C 15:21 21 11 +10 +3 +9
Brandon Saad L 15:18 21 11 +10 +3 +9
Viktor Stalberg L 15:27 13 9 +4 +1 +4
Johnny Oduya D 20:27 16 17 -1 +2 -2
Bryan Bickell L 15:03 13 10 +3 0 +3
Michal Rozsival D 20:37 19 14 +5 +5 +3
Dave Bolland C 12:57 7 7 0 0 0
Jimmy Hayes R 13:25 7 10 -3 0 -3
Brandon Bollig L 12:06 12 7 +5 +2 +4
Andrew Shaw C 15:25 15 10 +5 0 +5
Michael Frolik R 13:49 13 11 +2 +2 +1
Marian Hossa R 5:14 4 6 -2 +2 -3
Patrick Kane R 21:04 24 12 +12 +1 +12

Avalanche Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Ryan O'Byrne D 19:18 11 18 -7 -6 -5
Greg Zanon D 21:51 14 25 -11 0 -11
Shane O'Brien D 15:35 14 12 +2 +1 +2
Erik Johnson D 18:33 12 25 -13 0 -13
John Mitchell C 18:09 15 16 -1 -2 -0
Jan Hejda D 17:01 12 10 +2 +1 +2
Matt Duchene C 16:57 8 13 -5 -2 -4
Jamie Mcginn L 12:38 6 8 -2 -2 -1
Chuck Kobasew R 8:23 2 15 -13 +1 -13
Pa Parenteau R 17:21 10 13 -3 -1 -3
Aaron Palushaj R 13:41 14 19 -5 -1 -5
Matt Hunwick D 20:12 12 19 -7 -6 -5
Milan Hejduk R 10:11 8 10 -2 0 -2
Paul Stastny C 16:39 9 14 -5 -2 -4
David Jones R 13:42 7 11 -4 +1 -4
Cody Mcleod L 7:48 4 12 -8 +1 -8
Ryan O'Reilly C 16:47 18 17 +1 -4 +3
Gabriel Landeskog L 15:14 14 13 +1 -4 +3