Observations From Section 321 : Same As The Old Hoss

Blackhawks score 3 unanswered goals in the final period to roll to their 6th straight win.

The night began with Chicagoans showing their love for our brethren in Boston and it ended with the Blackhawks 6th straight win. Both teams came in riding 5 game win streaks but it was the Hawks who flexed their muscles in the 3rd period. The Hawks took a page out of Dave Bolland's playbook by trolling the Red Wings and their fans and making them sweat it out for a few moments. In the end the Hawks moved within 2 points of clinching the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs and gave the Stars a giant blow to their playoff hopes.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring at 12:54 of the 1st period with a pretty goal from the ultra sexy top line. Brandon Saad make a sick cross ice pass through 3 Dallas defenders to Marian Hossa. Hossa fired a shot that was tipped in by Jonathan Toews for his team leading 21st goal. Toews headed straight for the net after winning a puck battle in the corner and ate Stephan Robidas' lunch in the crease.

The 3rd line regained some of its magic as it used its speed and size to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead at 12:14 of the 2nd period. Viktor Stalberg got the puck at center ice and blew the doors off of Aaron Rome and Phillip Larsen and it was one of the rare times where his hands and feet were on the same page. Michal Handzus made a great give and go feed that sprang Stalberg into the zone and Andrew Shaw picked up the apple on the play.

Jamie Benn was able to cut the lead in half a little less than 2 minutes later. Benn picked off a Patrick Kane pass at the top of the left circle which lead to a 3 on 1 rush going the other way. Watching the play live it looked like a rare brain fart from Kaner, but after watching the replay it was a heck of read by Benn.

Benn continued to be a pain in the ass when he tied the game at 3:07 of the 3rd period. Handzus made the right play by getting the puck up the boards but it got caught up in the linesman skates and the Stars took advantage of it. Benn sniped a wrister from the top of the right circle that got by Ray Emery on the short side.

It didn't take long for the Hawks to respond. Andrew Shaw continued his big night with his 9th goal of the year at 4:31. Kane made up for his turnover just moments before with a great pass to Shaw. Kaner gained the Dallas zone and was quickly surrounded by 4 Dallas players. He was able to make a nice little drop pass to Shaw who was quick to convert.

Niklas Hjalmarsson gave the Hawks some insurance with his 2nd goal of the year. Jonathan Toews got the play started by making an across ice pass that got Marian Hossa into the Dallas zone. A sliding Brenden Dillon prevented Hoss from getting a shot off but he recovered and hit a trailing Hjammer who pounded home a slap shot over Richard Bachman's shoulder. Panda would cap off his 3 point night with an empty net goal in the final seconds to cement the Hawks 6th straight win.

* The power play continues to drain my will to live. Mike Haviland took the fall for last year's terrible power play and this year's version is just as bad. First and foremost, take Dave Bolland off the point, that is just a really bad idea. Q used 16 different players on the power play and still couldn't find any magic. So that just proves it's not the players but rather the philosophy that is the problem. But I am not going to lose too much sleep over the lack of production with the man advantage. The Blackhawks have won 6 in a row with no help from the PP unit. As long as they keep dominating teams at full strength and killing off penalties, I can live with a crap power play.

* Ray Emery was good in net, as he has been all season. He had another light work load as he only had to face 18 shots last night. I am middle of the road on the Stars second goal. Yes, Duncan Keith did provide a bit of a screen but I still think he could have had that one. I fully expect Razor to get at least 2 starts out of the final 6 games. I am hoping one of those is the final game of the year St Louis so he can be on the ice with Barrett Jackman.

* I have a lot fun at the expense of Viktor Stalberg on Twitter just because his inability to finish plays has been flat out comical the last couple of years. But don't take that as me hating on him. I like Stalberg a lot and wish we could keep him, but I would rather have Bryan Bickell resigned at this point. I would have loved to see Stalberg look right into the camera, after his goal, and mouth the words "kiss my Swedish ass, Edzo!"

* I think I am starting to get to the point where am I no longer getting blown away by Brandon Saad and starting to think the exceptional is the norm. He is almost like a hybrid of DDN which is down right scary.

* Rough night for the D pair of Aaron Rome and Phillip Larsen who were victimized on the Stalberg goal. Larsen was on the ice for 3 of the Hawks goals and Rome was in the dog house after Vik flew right by him. Stars coach, and Marty McFly doppelganger, Glen Gulutzan only played Rome for about 4 1/2 minutes after that 2nd period breakdown.

* Speaking of Stars who had a rough night, Trevor Daley and Stephan Robidas were a combined -27 Corsi. Woof! And yes Eddie, we all know Robidas used to play for the Blackhawks.

* Dave Bolland was 15 of 19 from the dot last night. Let that sink in for a moment. I still think Bolland should be dropped to the 3rd line with Bickell and Stalberg. Marcus Kruger seems to be gelling with Kaner and I would like to see what he can do in between the two Patricks. The 4th line of Andrew Shaw, Michal Handzus and Michael Frolik would cause a ton of match up problems in the post season. After all, isn't that what playoff hockey comes down to, match ups?

* Here's a fun stat, the Blackhawks are 15-0-1 within the Central Division this year and are currently 15-1-2 against teams who will be their division rivals next year.

Blackhawks Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 18:56 16 14 +2 -4 +4
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 18:28 15 15 0 -4 +2
Brent Seabrook D 14:53 14 11 +3 +2 +2
Nick Leddy D 15:40 15 11 +4 +2 +3
Marcus Kruger C 13:32 8 14 -6 -6 -4
Jonathan Toews C 15:14 18 5 +13 +2 +12
Brandon Saad L 14:43 17 3 +14 0 +14
Viktor Stalberg L 11:32 12 7 +5 0 +5
Michal Handzus C 8:41 11 6 +5 -1 +5
Johnny Oduya D 15:08 15 6 +9 -1 +9
Bryan Bickell L 12:35 11 9 +2 0 +2
Michal Rozsival D 16:12 17 5 +12 -1 +12
Dave Bolland C 12:46 5 14 -9 -6 -7
Brandon Bollig L 8:16 7 4 +3 +2 +2
Andrew Shaw C 13:46 13 8 +5 0 +5
Michael Frolik R 10:08 10 4 +6 +2 +5
Marian Hossa R 14:18 17 4 +13 +2 +12
Patrick Kane R 14:00 10 15 -5 -4 -3

Stars Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Stephane Robidas D 18:28 9 20 -11 0 -11
Brenden Dillon D 18:33 14 10 +4 +1 +4
Trevor Daley D 19:00 10 25 -15 +2 -16
Alex Chiasson R 5:07 2 7 -5 +2 -6
Ray Whitney L 17:12 13 15 -2 +8 -5
Jamie Benn L 19:07 12 17 -5 +8 -8
Cody Eakin C 12:14 10 9 +1 -1 +1
Loui Eriksson L 18:52 15 12 +3 +5 +1
Tom Wandell C 5:41 3 7 -4 0 -4
Eric Nystrom L 14:13 5 15 -10 -4 -8
Matt Fraser R 12:38 11 11 0 -1 +0
Aaron Rome D 10:37 5 11 -6 0 -6
Alex Goligoski D 19:03 15 11 +4 +3 +3
Philip Larsen D 13:52 9 15 -6 0 -6
Vernon Fiddler L 13:25 6 14 -8 -4 -6
Ryan Garbutt C 11:33 9 11 -2 0 -2
Antoine Roussel L 5:51 2 7 -5 0 -5
Erik Cole L 15:36 9 15 -6 0 -6