Red Wings 2 Blackhawks 3: Hawks Take Down Rivals to Close Out 2011

"You can't stop me, I'm Jonathan Toews" (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

This should have been up yesterday, but it being New Years Eve and all, I was far too busy to write anything. Anyways I’ll make it quick so I can get to some other things today.

Friday night’s game against the Red Wings was an example of how the Hawks need to play the more competitive Western Conference opponents: defense first. Just 2 minutes into the third period, Brent Seabrook blasted a one-timer past Howard to give the Hawks a one-goal lead, which they sustained for the rest of the game to get the victory. They were able to play a tight checking game, force turnovers, get pucks deep and get in on the forecheck and keep momentum away from Detroit.

It wasn’t exactly the most complete win. The Hawks trailed twice, a lot of players were quiet but once again the big guns stepped up and carried the team to victory.

Some quick thoughts:

- Corey Crawford continues to make his comeback. Just over a month ago Crawford’s stas were horrific, averaging over 3 goals against per game and a save percentage well below .900. Now, his goals against average is at 2.77 and his save percentage is at .906. If he keeps this up and Ray Emery continues to play how he was playing, the Hawks will have some of the best goaltending in the Western Conference.

- Huge nights from Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Putting them on the same line together kind of feels unfair to the other teams but who cares right?

- Jimmy Hayes was about as good as I expected him to be:  he didn’t really stand out but he wasn’t terrible to watch. He had an excellent first shift but then faded a little. Still,  he’s earned another game or two. Now that the first one is out of the way, we’ll have to see if he improves or completely fades away. I’d like to see him get an opportunity to play higher up in the lineup and see if his combination of size and skill can compliment a line.

- Did Zetterberg or Datsyuk even play on Friday?

- Daniel Carcillo played on the top line with Toews and Hossa. Granted he was a physical force and made some nice plays, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Carcillo can maybe fill in on top lines for a game or two, but in the long run he doesn’t have the skills or the hockey competence to be a permanent resident there. We’ve seen this movie before, he was good for a game, he might be good the next three or four, but eventually it will become noticeable that he’s out of place and that the need for a physical player in the top six doesn’t negate the need for consistent production and someone who can compete with some of the top players in the game. Carcillo isn’t the guy they need for the hole in the top six. Hopefully the management and the coaching staff realize this.

- The Hawks closed out Decemeber with a superb 10-2-1 record and have a 24-10-4 record to start 2012. They currently lead the Western Conference and NHL and are one of the hottest teams in the league, going 8-2-0 in their last 10.

I’ll be back later with a list of the top Hawk moments of 2011.

I hope everyone had a safe and exciting New Years. Enjoy the rest of the World Juniors and get on those New Years Resolutions!

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Topics: Chicago Blackhawks, Corey Crawford, Daniel Carcillo, Detroit Red Wings, Jimmy Hayes, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa

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