Observations From Section 321 : The Crow Returns

The Blackhawks survive the Blue Jackets with a 1-0 win thanks to the return of their #1 goaltender.

The Blackhawks were able to pull out the victory in a game that was more suited for the Razzies than Oscar night. Not even Seth MacFarlane could have made last night's game entertaining. Today's recap is going to be pretty short because, well there just isn't a whole lot to talk about from the game. The Blackhawks played down to their competition and were able to get away with.

The 1st pretty much came and went like a fart in the night without much excitement. The Blackhawks got an early power play but couldn't even get a shot on goal. Steve Mason earned himself the Best Supporting Actor award at 8:55 by acting like he'd be hit by shrapnel after a snow job from Marcus Kruger. Kruger went to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, but Mason still has a long way to go until he can be ranked up there with the Daniel Day Lewis of the NHL, Mike Smith. The Hawks got a late power play after Nick Foligno boarded Johnny Oduya but the Hawks could not convert. At least they got a shot off on their second man advantage, baby steps.

The 2nd period brought more of the same "bore you to tears" hockey. We did get a mini replay of last Tuesday's game against the Canucks when both teams failed to convert on breakaway chances. At 5:47, Marian Hossa clowned James Wisniewski at the blue line and got a one on one chance versus Mason, but could not put the pick past him. About 10 minutes later, Wisniewski hit a streaking Vinny Prospal with a great pass to give the Jackets forward a breakaway chance. Thankfully it was Vinny Prospal, who hit the crossbar and the game remained scoreless.

The Hawks would score the only goal of the game with a nice play from their 3rd line at 18:33 of the 2nd period. Johnny Oduya got the puck deep along the left boards. Andrew Shaw showed some great offensive presence by heading straight to net, with his stick down, as soon he saw the puck heading towards Bryan Bickell behind the net. Bickell made a great no look, behind the back pass toward the front of the net and Shaw was their to finish it off for his 4th goal of the year.

The 3rd period started with 2 minutes of 4 on 4 hockey with both Matt Calvert and Jonathan Toews in the box for roughing. Toews took exception to a late hit from Calvert with caused a bit of a scrum at the end of the 2nd period. The Hawks did their best at trying to gift wrap this game for Columbus by giving the Jackets three 3rd period power plays. The penalty kill unit did it's job and the Hawks were able to stay undefeated in regulation with the 1-0 win. The Edmonton Oilers come calling tonight in the final game of this extended seven game home stand.

* Welcome back Corey Crawford. Crow did not look like a goalie who had not played in 12 days, that's for sure. He looked very confident in the net and had to make some key saves. Crawford was the best penalty killer on the ice for the Blackhawks. He stopped all 10 shots he saw with his team down a man, including 5 in the 3rd period. Crow has been great this season and it looks like his days of being a bit of head case are behind him. Look for Ray Emery to get the start tonight with Crow getting the call in St Louis on Thursday.

*Patrick Sharp put up 8 of the Hawks 27 shots on goal.

* The Hawks had a decent night a face off dot winning 48% of the draws (24/50). Johnathan Toews, per usual, lead the team at 50%. Marcus Kruger improved winning 44% (7/16) of his draws but was only 2 for 7 in the defensive zone. Most of Kruger's defensive zone draws are going to come while on the penalty kill so he needs to improve on these numbers.

* The Blackhawks blocked 16 shots last night, 6 of them by Niklas Hjalmarsson alone. Those are the kind of stats needed in order to win one goal games. I have been a big critic of Hjammer the last couple of years, but the kid has been great this season. It looks like Stan Bowman, once again, has made the right move be being patient and letting things on the ice work out, before shipping Hjalmarsson out of town like many of us wanted him to.

* The Hawks also had a big advantage in the takeaway department as well. They had 16 compared to just 7 for the Blue Jackets. Marian Hossa lead the team with 4, followed by Brent Seabrook, Marcus Kruger and Patrick Kane all with 3. Even though they didn't really pass the "eye test" these numbers show the Hawks were doing the vital things that are needed to succeed in close games.

* This was a bad week for the sacks of Blackhawk players. Brent Seabrook took a slap shot to the pills last Sunday against the Kings and last night Andrew Shaw was speared in the junk by notorious dirtbag James Wisniewski. Hey Wizzer, just because you have no balls it doesn't mean you can go around hitting other players in theirs! I still can't believe he makes only slightly less money than Keith and Seabrook.

*Yes Eddie, we get it, keeping your stick on the ice is good! Shut the fuck up already!! For Christ's sake, players with their sticks on the ice for Edzo is like scotch was to Dean Martin.

As mentioned earlier, the Hawks get their first look at the Oilers tonight at the United Center. Game preview and all that fun stuff will be up later today. Don't forget to give us a follow on Twitter @2ndCityHockey.