Observations From Section 321 : Wild Panda

Marian Hossa tallies the only goal of the night, as the Blackhawks take home a 1-0 win over the Wild.

The Blackhawks finished their season series with their future division rival by taking 5 out of a possible 6 points from the Minnesota Wild. Ray Emery looks to be making a solid case to be the number one goaltender for the playoff run as he picked up his 3rd shutout in his last 5 starts. The Hawks held a big advantage in shots for the game and dictated the play for most of the night. The Wild needed a great night out of goaltender Niklas Backstrom, a quick whistle and a goal post to keep the game 1-0. Emery did not see much action, having to make only 20 saves, but did have to make a couple key stops in the last few minutes of the game.

The night's only goal came thanks to a horrible play by Clayton Stoner. While skating up the right boards, the Minnesota defensman decided to pass the puck back to the middle of the ice. The only problem was he hit Marian Hossa right on the tape, who blasted a slat shot by Backstrom from in between the circles. It was quite the appropriate turnover from a guy named Stoner. The unassisted goal was Panda's 14th of the season and his first since returning from an upper body injury. This was also the second straight game versus the Wild that Hossa scored the game winning goal.

* Q is a genius for getting everyone talking about which good goaltender he is going to play while overlooking how pitiful his power play unit has been! Hopefully with both Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp back, and the addition of Michal Handzus' giant body in front, we will see some improvement from the PP unit. This is also the only statement I am going to make about the goalie situation today. I have a post coming up tomorrow all about it so we all will have a reason to yell at each other on an off day.

* Patrick Sharp looked very good in his return to the lineup, as the Hawks remain undefeated in regulation with #10 on the ice. He took 5 shots, won 6 of his 9 faceoffs and even dumped Zach Parise on his ass early in the game. We all got a scare late in the game when Ryan Suter hit Sharp from behind and sent him awkwardly into the boards. Sharp did not return to the ice and was favoring his bad shoulder. I guess it's pretty easy to become a $90M defenseman when you are allowed to board people. Sharp spoke to the media after the game which is good. Normally injured players are not allowed to speak to reporters. Sharp said it was just a "stinger" and he will be fine. I have seen "stingers" develop into long term upper body injuries in the past, so I won't put my mind at ease until I see Sharpie play on Friday.

* The Q Line Blender was in full force last night. Andrew Shaw played all over the place last night. After Q took a puck to the head, I was pretty sure we were going to see Shaw in goal for a shift or two. The only complaint I have about Shaw, besides his dumb cross check, is why was he taking a draw on the power play? Was Sharp thrown out of the circle? When Bolland returns 65 should never take another draw.

* I see some pretty good potential in the Wild and Hawks becoming bitter rivals in the next few years. They will never replace 96 years of hatred that the Red Wings had with us, but a couple of playoff series can really get the bad blood going. They have just the right amount of turds on their team, with guys like Zenon Konopka and Cal Clutterbuck, to get under your skin. And speaking of Clutterbuck, he is a pair of mirrored sun glasses away from becoming the cop from The Village People.

* What did Viktor Stalberg do this year to draw the ire of Pat Foley and Eddie Olcyzk? Did he use all of Foley's Bloody Mary mix and not replace it? Did he have really bad gas on the longest team flight of the season? Or has the front office told them to point out his flaws so when they don't resign him the fans won't be outraged? Whatever the reason, it is pretty clear that Pat and Edzo are not fans of Stalberg, or really hot chicken wings.

* Many of us have wondered what Patrick Kane would look like of he gave a crap all season long. We don't have to have that concern any more. The offensive numbers have been there but its his defense that has been the most impressive facet of his game. About 8 minutes into the 3rd period, Mikko Koivu had a wide open net after an Emery rebound but Kane was there to prevent the easy tap in goal.

Blackhawks Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 21:52 22 19 +3 -3 +4
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 20:01 20 18 +2 -3 +3
Brent Seabrook D 17:54 16 13 +3 +2 +2
Nick Leddy D 19:07 16 13 +3 +2 +2
Patrick Sharp R 15:49 14 7 +7 +6 +5
Daniel Carcillo L 7:11 4 7 -3 0 -3
Marcus Kruger C 15:27 12 14 -2 +4 -4
Sheldon Brookbank D 15:28 11 9 +2 +3 +1
Jonathan Toews C 17:19 17 11 +6 -6 +8
Brandon Saad L 16:21 16 13 +3 -6 +5
Viktor Stalberg L 11:49 11 9 +2 +2 +1
Michal Handzus C 11:41 9 9 0 +1 -0
Johnny Oduya D 13:50 9 8 +1 +3 -0
Bryan Bickell L 12:33 10 9 +1 +2 +0
Andrew Shaw C 9:45 7 6 +1 +2 +0
Michael Frolik R 8:28 6 11 -5 0 -5
Marian Hossa R 15:24 13 7 +6 -6 +8
Patrick Kane R 18:16 19 15 +4 +6 +2

Wild Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Clayton Stoner D 12:48 6 13 -7 +3 -8
Mikko Koivu C 19:16 12 14 -2 +6 -4
Devin Setoguchi R 10:21 12 11 +1 0 +1
Zach Parise L 19:38 14 17 -3 +6 -5
Torrey Mitchell C 10:10 7 8 -1 -3 +0
Ryan Suter D 29:02 23 23 0 -2 +1
Kyle Brodziak C 16:13 11 12 -1 -3 +0
Cal Clutterbuck R 12:55 7 11 -4 -4 -2
Jonas Brodin D 22:13 18 17 +1 -4 +3
Mike Rupp C 10:47 7 10 -3 -3 -2
Zenon Konopka C 10:22 6 7 -1 -3 +0
Jason Pominville R 18:56 12 16 -4 +6 -6
Nate Prosser D 10:40 7 16 -9 -2 -8
Justin Falk D 11:49 11 9 +2 -2 +3
Jared Spurgeon D 21:34 15 16 -1 +3 -2
Charlie Coyle C 13:04 7 11 -4 -4 -2
Mikael Granlund C 9:20 12 13 -1 0 -1
Pierre-Marc Bouchard C 10:24 12 8 +4 -1 +4