Most politicians this time of year need every vote, but Ohio is a key swing state in most elections. The key tonight was for the Chicago Blackhawks not to let this be a trap game, but to sweep Columbus Blue Jackets, and continue on their current hot streak.
The Blackhawks never gave the home team a glimmer of hope tonight, and for the third consecutive game the Hawks scored first, dominated play in the first, and had the oppostition knowing that their night was going to be a long uphill grind to get a point or two. It’s amazing how much less stressful these games are when the Hawks score early and lead after the first period. It’s almost a reniassance in the making for these guys.
Andrew Shaw opened the scoring with his 10th of the season 4 minutes into the contest. Shaw had another goal and assist tonight. He seems to find his way onto the scoresheet nightly. He may never be a superstar, but you have to like his grit and determination on most nights. Patrick Sharp scored 2 minutes later, and then to finish the scoring in the first Brent Seabrook lobbed one to the front of the net from the blue line that no one saw. The score was 3-0 and the game was basically over.
The only one not to tally a goal, that usually does when playing Columbus, is Viktor Stalberg. He did hit two crossbars tonight and collected an assist on Sharp’s first goal. After going the ENTIRE game without a Brandan Bollig fight against Washington, he got his five minute major for the night in the books early in the first! Bravo Mr. Bollig you can fight!!
After a scoreless 2nd, the Blackhawks also got two goals on the power play! Patrick Sharp scored his 30th of the season(and 2nd of the game) and Marian Hossa his 29th of the season both on the power play. The power play unit scoring will be needed come playoff time, so its good to see them get a couple of goals even against Columbus hopefully it will give some confidence and the unit will gain momentum for the final 8 games of the season.
The only mystery for the rest of the third period was whether or not the Hawks were going to be the last NHL team to record a shutout. With 7:29 left in the third Rick Nash ended those thoughts! Corey Crawford stopped 23 of 24 shots he faced and was solid in net (which is all the Hawks need to win!) Crawford collected his 4th straight win to help the Hawks go 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.
The Hawks now are up to 90 points, 2 points away from a tie for the 4th seed yet only 8 points away from the 9th seed. There has been a lot of material on blogs and Twitter that the Hawks finishing in the 6th seed is the best place for them. That is garbage if you ask me! If given a chance to start a series at home or away, I would say get 4 home games 100% of the time no matter who the opponent would be. The only seed that you could argue against is being the 5th seed, which would be at Nashville Predators or Detroit Red Wings. I understand the 6th seed talk, but the way the Hawks are playing and the injuries to the Red Wings there should be a great push to get the 4th seed!
Jonathan Towes missed his 14th game tonight but he skated in Chicago. The Hawks have seemed to finally adjusted to their roles without the Captain, and hopefully he gets passed his concussion symptoms soon. The Hawks are a great team with him, but they are playing some really good Hockey without him at the present time. No matter how good the Hawks are playing, #19 on the ice would be a site for sore eyes!
The Hawks did everything they needed to tonight! Win the first period, Score on the power play, Get two points, stay healthy(too bad we don’t see Columbus 10 times a season)! Perfect game plan with perfect results!!! The hated Vancouver Canucks come to the United Center tomorrow night! This will be a serious measuring stick game with big points (and breathing room) on the line.
Let’s go Hawks!!!