Hawks 5, Preds 4 (OT)

Patrick Kane playing against other devils

Yes, Viktor Stalberg used his wheels to generate his second consecutive game-winner, a 5-4 overtime win at home over Nashville. But the story of the night was the dark magic of Patrick Kane in full effect.

Kane scored twice and set up anoher goal by Nick Leddy, but his top five plays of the night did not end in goals. Some nights, Kaner just has that puck on a string, and last night was one of those. If you didn’t see it, too bad. Words can’t do it justice.

Like going to the dentist

The Preds are a team you want to get on top of, but the Hawks found themselves down three different times, and each time they evened the score.  Corey Crawford did not have his best night, and Duncan Keith left midway through the second period after taking a shot off his hand, but the Hawks sucked it up and battled all night.

Trailing 3-2 after two periods, the mood in the United Center was one of hopeful anticipation, reminiscent of the up-and-coming team of 2008, rather than the quiet dread of last season.

Another good finish

The Hawks tied the game five minutes into the third period when Kane took a pass from Marian Hossa (3 assists) and slipped a shot under Pekka Rinne’s right wing for his second goal of the game.

A minute later, the exclamation point on another empty night on the power play (0 for 7) was an unsuccessful one minute, thirty-five second 5-on-3 . Guh. (Um, Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, Patrick Sharp, Kane, and Hossa? Yeah, it was like a super-hero convention, but, in that situation, don’t you want Andrew Brunette, who has half of the team’s power play goals, parked in front?)

With seven minutes left, Michael Frolik (this guy was unbelievable along the boards last night. I think he won 20 board battles and didn’t lose any) won the puck behind the Preds net and found Bryan Bickell at the top of the right circle. Bickell beat Rinne, giving the Hawks their first lead of the game.

But now it was Nashville’s turn to respond. David Legwand did a minute and a half later.

On to overtime, and Stalberg’s heroics. He exploded up the right side, slammed on the brakes in the circle, cut back toward the middle and squeezed a shot between Rinne and the post. Once is happenstance, twice coincidence, but if Stalberg does this again…

What else?

The penalty kill gave up a goal. It was on a lengthy 5 on 3 though (nice clearing effort, Bolland.)

Crawford did stop two breakaways.

The Hawks defense by committee deserves credit for hanging in after Keith went out. The other five guys all skated more than fifteen minutes, in most conceivable pairings, led by Niklas Hjalmarsson with 24 minutes.

Nick Leddy, 2 goals, 5 assists, +6 in 11 games.

John Scott, 4 shifts, 2:45 TOI. You know how some things are funny, then they get old and tired, then their very oldness and tiredness becomes funny. This isn’t one of those things.

Next up- pre-game drinks with Dale Tallon and Kris Versteeg Thursday in South Beach.

Tags: Andrew Brunette Bryan Bickell Corey Crawford Dave Bolland David Legwand Duncan Keith John Scott Jonathan Toews Kris Versteeg Marian Hossa Michael Frolik Nick Leddy Niklas Hjalmarsson Patrick Kane Patrick Sharp Pekka Rinne Viktor Stalberg

  • Scott13

    Every time they show Stalberg getting the puck and flying up the wing on On The Fly I hear Tom Cruise telling Tim Robbins “I’m bringing him in closer Merlin”.

    “You’re going to do WHAT?”

    “I’m going to hit the brakes, he’ll fly right by.”

    • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

      @Scott13 He definitely more than made up for the “return of stone hands” moment he had on that earlier break away where he lost the puck.

      It’s going to be hilarious to see the love this guy gets around the Hawks blogosphere if he keeps it up since many are entranced by his speed. Yet 11 games in and the relatively ungifted Bryan Bickell in a checking line role still has better numbers than Stalberg. Two low salary players who will deserve credit, one who did it all last year, one who didn’t show up.

      • cliffkoroll

        @ChicagoNativeSon@Scott13 I think Stals deserves a bit more credit than you’re giving him. 12 goals last year getting 10 minutes a night. I heard this morning that of his 15 Blackhawk goals, 5 have been game-winners. Each of the last two games, you saw Stals rise to the occasion- nothing fluky about either goal. He’s aggravating in a lotta ways, but he’s got some skills that can come in handy when you need a goal in the third period.

        • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

          @cliffkoroll@Scott13 Closer to 11, Bickell had under 14. Apples to apples in minutes, maybe they come out to about the same, but Bickell’s line did face the league’s highest Quality of Competition and individually Bickell was 11th in the entire league. Stalberg was around 200th.

          I was more referring to expectations though. There was a lot of hype surrounding Stals’ signing in Chicago. With all that talent, he was sure to excel, right? 12 goals isn’t really a breakout year. On the 4th line, he should have been a bum slayer. Skating on the top lines, a pylon should have had decent numbers. Bickell was thrown into the fire and did extremely well.

          I’m not a Stalberg hater. Actually I wrote a good article on him this summer. For $700k I expect he’ll be worth every penny and then some. $500k players in the NHL usually are good for about 10-15 points over the course of a season. Going by that, Bickell has already cashed half his paycheck. Credit to his success typically goes to Bolland. Stalberg is skating with Toews. I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin.

        • cliffkoroll

          @ChicagoNativeSon@Scott13 Well yeah, Bickell’s a bargain. Bickell Bickell Bickell. My comment didn’t mention Bickell though.

        • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

          @cliffkoroll@Scott13 Mine did.

        • cliffkoroll

          @ChicagoNativeSon@Scott13 well yes, and i understand the whole “Bickell quota” thing. I figgered the five Bickell mentions in the above comment should hold me for a while. Bickell.

        • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

          @cliffkoroll All this Bickell talk gets tiresome Brian, can’t you write about something else?


  • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

    The triple entendre! (said in the voice of the announcer from the Ovechtrick commercial)

    I had to look closely at the photo to catch that. Nicely done.

    Remember when that guy Brian Campbell – Nick Leddy might remember him – went down in 2010 and his absence (and subsequent replacement by, um, Dustin Byfuglien in the playoffs led everyone to state “We can’t win without Soupy!”? Well, we might have to see how this team performs without Keith now. I wonder if the story line will be the same now that 2-8 may temporarily go the way of Tricky Dick.

    Excellent game by Kane’s line, although my concerns about Toews’ line remains. Is Stalberg’s play sustainable? (although 3 goals in 2 games obviously isn’t) Where does Carcillo go now that he’ll be returning? Brunette? I doubt Q changes much to start the next game since he likes to go with the hot lineup, but the next couple of weeks should be interesting for the make up of the top lines.

    • cliffkoroll

      @ChicagoNativeSon Thank your for your attentive eye. Makes it all worth it.

  • wardrums

    your comment on Brunette sitting out the 5 on 3 was exactly what I was thinking. That situation fits like a glove for #15

    • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

      @wardrums Yup, it was the perfect situation for Brunette. I didn’t look at the shift charts, so I don’t know if he had a shift soon before that since Brunette is definitely a player Q cant double shift.

      The PP hasn’t scored a goal, but it has looked good in the past 2 games. I like the 2-7 pairing on the PP so far. It really the only time you can have those two regularly on the ice together, otherwise they’re Felix and Oscar. Although Leddy is still hesitant to shoot, he enters the zone nicely. Plus, Keith’s game of “shinny” has definitely been noticeable again 5 on 4.

    • cliffkoroll

      @wardrums thanks drums! it was cool seeing the super heroes out there, and I know Trotz commented on it, but I’d rather have taken a goal.

  • HungryHungryPanda

    Nice recap, Briancliff. Frolik has really been awesome this year. Still waiting for the scoring touch that may never appear, but he really plays beyond his years and is unbelievable on the boards. We talk about Toews’ maturity like it’s some super power; well, Frolik is only 2 months older…

    • cliffkoroll

      @HungryHungryPanda I’m definitely coming around on Frolik. I was expecting a scorer when the Hawks got him, but I’m over that now and happy with the player Frolik is. Definitely a Q-type. I thought Bickell turned it up the last couple games too. FroBoBick is a key for this team.