Observations From Section 321 : Taking Care Of Business

Blackhawks beat the Kings 2-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference F and it wasn't that close.

Well that was a hell of a way to start a Conference Final, wasn't it? The Blackhawks did pretty much everything they needed to do to grab an 1-0 series lead on the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The Kings are big and they are physical but my God they are slow! The Blackhawks showed that speed kills and they were allowed to skate circles around anyone and everyone in a white sweater. The Hawks were given a ton of room on the ice today, something they have not been used to. and took full advantage of it. I have seen two things I have never seen before in the last two games; a 3-1 overtime win and a game where the Hawks scored 3 goals and won 2-1.

The Blackhawks dominated the opening period of play and out shot the Kings 17-2. In fact the Hawks had the first 9 shots of the game and it took LA nearly 12 minutes to finally get some rubber on Corey Crawford. It was the Kings second "shot" that gave the Kings a 1-0 at 14:23. Crawford tried to play the puck behind the net but got trapped by both Colin Fraser and Brad Richardson, who got the puck out in front of the net. Dave Bolland tried to pass the puck across the crease to Nick Leddy but Justin Williams got his stick on the puck and it deflected off Leddy's skate for the goal. We've all been waiting for Dave Bolland to score a goal but I don't think this is what we were hoping for.

The Hawks did have 17 shots in the 1st period but most of them were of the run of the mill variety and Jonathan Quick pretty much saw everything that came his way. In my series preview I stated that the best way to beat Jonathan Quick is by shooting hard and low to create rebounds and getting traffic in front of the net. The Hawks executed both of those methods to score their two goals in the 2nd period. The Blackhawks were able to tie up the game at 12:29 with Patrick Sharp's league leading 8th goal of the playoffs, and what a handsome goal it was! Michal Handzus got the play started with a nice break out pass to Sharp. Once over the blue line, Shooter left the puck for Johnny Oduya and went straight to the net. Oduya fired off a low and hard shot and Sharp was there to put the juicy rebound back into the net. Marian Hossa would give the Hawks the lead less than 4 minutes later. Hoss tried to stuff the puck in from the right side of the net but Quick denied him. Bryan Bickell scooped up the rebound and got the puck out to Duncan Keith at the blue line. Keith blasted a shot from the point and Hossa deflected the high shot out of the air and past Quick for the eventual game winning goal.

The Kings were able to generate a few chances and sustain some pressure in the 3rd period but the Hawks kept them off the board. The majority of the Kings chances started from behind the Hawks net, so they will need to be aware of this Sunday night. The fast turnaround for Game 2 could help or hurt the Kings. It could be good for them in the sense that they don't have long to dwell on the loss. But, on the flip side, they won't have much time to work on adjustments which could play into the Hawks favor.

* Jonathan Quick is as good as advertised and was the only reason the Kings didn't blown out of the building. The Hawks spent the 1st period getting as many shots as possible on him from every angle known to man. The Hawks did a good job adjusting after the opening 20 minutes by getting traffic in front of Quick and getting him to move side to side.

* Bryan Bickell had himself another good game. He was tied with Brent Seabrook for the team lead in hits, with 6, to go along with his secondary assist on the game winning goal. I really wish there was a way he can return to Chicago next year but every solid game adds more money to his next contract. I have to give Bicks a ton of credit considering I was screaming for him to be sent back down to Rockford for the majority of the season last year.

* Word has come down late Saturday night that Dave Bolland will not face any disciplinary action for his late hit on Mike Richards.

* Duncan Kieth was spectacular on Saturday. He has been so good since being paired back up with Brent Seabrook. He looks fresh and is skating great. He was the ice for 23:55 today, had an assist, 5 shots, 1 hit, 1 takeaway and 2 blocked shots. It looks like Duncs has been hanging out with Doc Brown and found his way back to 2010.

* Brandon Saad is on the verge of exploding and my man crush on him keeps getting bigger and bigger. Watching him undress Drew Doughty of the puck was downright sexy.

* Dustin Brown is pretty much Andrew Shaw with a little bit more talent and a C on his sweater.

* And speaking of Shaw, lets not get into the habit of negating power plays by taking terrible penalties. Ok, thanks!

* Holy crap look at these Corsi numbers!!!

Blackhawks Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 19:26 22 0 +22 -5 +24
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 19:43 13 0 +13 -1 +13
Brent Seabrook D 18:07 21 0 +21 -5 +23
Nick Leddy D 13:07 14 0 +14 -1 +14
Patrick Sharp R 14:27 11 0 +11 0 +11
Marcus Kruger C 10:23 5 0 +5 -5 +7
Jonathan Toews C 14:32 21 0 +21 -3 +22
Brandon Saad L 11:52 11 0 +11 -2 +12
Viktor Stalberg L 11:31 9 0 +9 -2 +10
Michal Handzus C 13:51 8 0 +8 0 +8
Johnny Oduya D 19:17 13 0 +13 -1 +13
Bryan Bickell L 14:56 24 0 +24 0 +24
Michal Rozsival D 13:45 14 0 +14 -1 +14
Dave Bolland C 9:56 5 0 +5 -2 +6
Andrew Shaw C 12:28 12 0 +12 -2 +13
Michael Frolik R 9:46 4 0 +4 -2 +5
Marian Hossa R 15:07 22 0 +22 -2 +23
Patrick Kane R 14:57 13 0 +13 0 +13

Kings Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Matt Greene D 14:59 0 15 -15 +1 -15
Jake Muzzin D 14:39 0 13 -13 +2 -14
Rob Scuderi D 19:00 0 10 -10 +3 -11
Drew Doughty D 19:56 0 25 -25 +4 -27
Mike Richards C 14:49 0 11 -11 +3 -12
Anze Kopitar C 14:14 0 19 -19 +3 -20
Kyle Clifford L 9:04 0 10 -10 0 -10
Justin Williams R 13:26 0 12 -12 +2 -13
Brad Richardson R 8:56 0 11 -11 0 -11
Trevor Lewis C 12:25 0 12 -12 +1 -12
Dustin Brown L 12:30 0 19 -19 +3 -20
Colin Fraser C 9:26 0 8 -8 0 -8
Dustin Penner R 14:41 0 7 -7 +3 -8
Slava Voynov D 16:52 0 9 -9 +2 -10
Jarret Stoll C 13:47 0 11 -11 +1 -11
Robyn Regehr D 18:08 0 26 -26 +2 -27
Dwight King L 15:16 0 13 -13 +1 -13
Jeff Carter C 15:03 0 11 -11 +3 -12