P.S. New York Is Burning - Hawks 4, Rangers 3
By now if you really wanted a game narrative for last night's tilt, you probably would have and did find it elsewhere, so we'll just get right to the meat of it all with the bullets below.
- While the story is going to be the comeback in the final 10 minutes of the third period, from this author's vantage point, it was the Hawks who carried the play for the majority of the evening, as the Corsi numbers bear out, with the exception of the under-appreciated Dan Girardi of the Rangers. However, color me a bit surprised to see Patrick Sharp's total so high, as I felt prior to the goal, his line with the Swedes didn't get much generated.
- Speaking of that goal, while it wasn't the apocalyptic breakaway scenario that Sam envisioned in the Indian, it's still probably the handsomest shooter-goalie combination on a goal between Sharp and Henrik Lundqvist in this or any other season, with the edge going to Sharp for obvious reasons. The King is still probably a better dresser, though (wait, what?)
- Regarding Henrik (see what I did there?), while he really could only be faulted for the Oduya go-ahead goal, he looked to be fighting it a bit from the early going, and was saved by some missed nets and posts, as the Hawks did a good job of getting him moving. Far from a signature performance from The King, but it's nights like that where the defense should have bailed him out having a lead with about 12 to go.
- On the Rangers second goal, while Nick Leddy was once again outmuscled in front, my main problem with the sequence was a few seconds prior, where Duncan Keith tried his best Rex Grossman impersonation by trying to thread a 100 foot pass through triple coverage in an attempt to spring Patrick Sharp at the far blue line, which was predictably picked off as the Hawks were attempting to change.
- One of the big talking points from Sam over the past stretch has been utilizing the middle of the ice in breakouts more for clean zone clearances, and it actually happened a couple of times, though still not regularly enough. It's more a problem of it not being an option for either the defenseman or winger to come back to the middle, as the weak side forward has long since flown the zone into neutral ice. That gap needs to be shortened, and a more station-to-station breakout while avoiding hero passes needs to be implemented.
- Johnny Oduya's dance and dangle at the blue line to get himself a clear shot on the Shaw goal was truly a thing of beauty.
- Holy shit, a power play worse than the Hawks'.
- Can we all agree that Brandon Bollig has been useless with no foreseeable change in the future?
- Credit Ryan Callahan for gutting it out over the past stretch for the Blueshirts, but his effectiveness is clearly limited by his foot injury. And if he can't crash and bang and disrupt shifts and score greasy goals, well then, that kind of drastically cuts down on his arsenal of tools.
- Big ups to the UC production department for using Andrew W.K.'s "Ready To Die" prior to a Blackhawk penalty kill situation.
- This is the second home game in a row where the empty netter has ended up being the game winner. Whether it's an inability to win a key draw late, or just getting lax, that shit has to stop.
- Whether it was a matter of catching the Rangers on the second of a back-to-back on the road, or an actual case of the Hawks coming to life in the third in a borderline desperate situation, the fact of the matter is they came back and grabbed two points from the top team in the East, a team designed to not let you do that, without the benefit having their best player in uniform. While this can only be called a turning point victory if there isn't a letdown tomorrow, it certainly smells like it has the potential to be.
Player of The Game
With his first two huge points as a Blackhawk, Johnny Oduya earns his first trip here, and it's been well deserved. His steady play and underrated mobility have allowed Nick Leddy a bit of latitude himself, which has helped to stabilize the defensive corps as a whole. It might be a little early to call the trade an outright win for the Hawks, but the early returns are promising.