Looks like we can forget all the talk of the Calgary Flames coming into this game pissed off enough to end that horrid losing streak. Seems we forgot how the Blackhawks have owned the Flames over the past two regular seasons, plus a playoff series victory.
Nothing changed tonight.
The Blackhawks looked more like themselves from the get-go, out-working a Calgary team that looks plain flat on the ice in the ‘Hawks’ 3-1 win. The Flames aren’t all that quick to begin with and the Blackhawks unquestionably have more talent, but Jerome Iginla, Rene Borque, Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester might as well have been Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man tonight.
The ‘Hawks could have had at least five goals tonight if it weren’t for the stellar play of Miikka Kiprusoff. He robbed poor John Madden twice on great chances and made tough saves all night.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane combined on a beautiful goal to finally get to Kiprusoff and put the ‘Hawks up 1-0. Toews’ pass not only hit Kane’s tape in the perfect spot for Kaner to knock it past Kiprusoff, but Toews saw Kaner before he reached the loose puck on the boards and made the exact pass he wanted to make. Gorgeous.
Calgary tied the game on the power play late in the second period on a goal that could have gone either way. Antti Niemi, who played pretty solid all night, had Phaneuf’s shot take an unfortunate bounce of his left pad leaving the puck dancing in the crease for Jamie Lundmark to clean up. Eh well.
Ben Eager’s skate scored the game winner, assisted by his knee. I almost felt bad for Kiprusoff because of how well he played to have a goal like that decide the game. Then I remembered he plays for the Flames and I said, “Good. Fuck you.” I hate the Flames.
Duncan Keith added the empty net fuck you for his 11th goal of the season.
- I would have loved to see Kaner score on that penalty shot, seeing as it’s been roughly 10,000 years since a Blackhawk has scored on one. He abandoned his fake forehand, go to the backhand and tried to wrist it low glove side. If he used his regular shootout move, he had most of the net to put it past Kiprusoff.
- Kris VerSTEEG? has been dog shit lately, so much so that I’ve taken away half of his capital letters and replaced the exclamation point with a question mark. His faults have been documented through the season, but he’s scored enough to make us turn a blind eye at times. Now, the guy is just trying to do too much and it’s leading to turnovers and shortened possessions. He second guesses himself when he may have a scoring chance if he would just react, and his passes are always two seconds too late and lead his teammates into bad positions. He needs to get his head out of his ass.
- The fourth line scored yet another goal tonight and even Tomas Kopecky looked great when he could actually stay on his skates. Having all four lines produce regularly is dangerous for the rest of the league.
- The meatheads will be out in full force with the I-told-you-so’s tomorrow, but there’s no denying Niemi stepped up to the plate tonight. It’s the seventh game in 17 starts the kid has allowed one goal or fewer. Granted, he got bailed out by the post yet again in a crucial situation, but that’s neither here nor there. With Cristobal Huet giving up at least four goals in four of his last five starts, Niemi’s going to get more chances in net. Tonight was a great way to start his run.
- Poor John Madden. I love him. He should have had two goals tonight.
Be sure to head to the Whirlaway tomorrow night for Second City Hockey’s Blog Watch. Puck drop from Vancouver is 9:30 p.m., but get there early to beat the crowd. I’ll be the short blonde guy asking you to buy me a beer.