The Good News
Andrew Shaw continues to find the puck on his stick at just the right times nightly, he had his point streak extend to 4 games when he tipped in Johnny Oduya’s shot from the slot to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 win in overtime over the Vancouver Canucks. Speaking of streaks, since aquiring Oduya from the Winnipeg Jets the Hawks are 9-1-1. Shaw has 7 points in the last four games with 4 goals and 3 assists.
This contest had a serious playoff feel to it. The Hawks like so many times before this season(except for the past 3 games) let their opponents take an early 1st period lead, when Jannick Hansen scored 30 seconds into the contest. Even though they seem to get away with it, falling behind is not a recipie for winning especially come playoff time.
The Hawks dominated play for most of the game, except on the scoreboard, and Patrick Kane scored his 20th of the season early in the 2nd period. Kane has picked the best time of year to play his best hockey! Roberto Luongo played a very good game and kept the Canucks in it, and helped them earn a point in the contest. Corey Crawford did was he needs to do every night out there….stop everything you should stop! When our goal tending is not giving up bad goals, the Hawks are a hard team to beat.
The United Center crowd went home happy when Shaw ended it in O.T. The Hawks are now only 1 point out of the #4 seed and have opened up a nice cushion over the #9 seed with 8 point differnce. As stated earlier, #4 no matter who the opponent has to be preferred over #6 seed.
Tonight was a huge win over a hated rival that the Hawks have faced the past three years in the playoffs, and if this game was any indication of what a future series could be…. it would be an Awesome series!
The Bad News
Duncan Keith will be suspended! There’s no way around this statement. After receiving a late and high hit from Daniel Sedin that should have been a penalty, Keith retaliated in the worst possible way. In open ice with the puck 20 feet above his head and Sedin not playing the puck, Keith put his elbow full force into Sedin’s head! In an era of player safety and every proffessional league worried about concussions(see Bountygate), this hit will not be tolerated by NHL league office. This hit was bad and every replay of it seemed even worse (even if it was against a Sedin)
With only 7 games left, and playoff positioning in the balance, losing Keith for any game will be bad for the Hawks defense. With his history of no offenses Keith should get off a little easier when the Brendon Shanahan video comes out, but he will get at least 2 game suspension. I’m all for hard hits and aggressive play, but you cannot go head hunting in the middle of the ice. This not only cost the Hawks a penalty, but it will cost the Hawks their best defensive player that plays 20+minutes a night games with only a view of the ice from the skybox.
This was Jonathon Towes 15th missed game with a concussion. According to reports, it also was his 2nd straight day of skating. Hopefully the Hawks can clinch their playoff spot quickly which could “shut down” Towes until the playoffs start, even though it seems unlikely that he will play this regular season at this time.
The Hawks are off until Sunday night against the Nashville Predators in Chicago. Now that Columbus is off the schedule every game will be a battle with some sort of playoff implication involved!
Let’s go Hawks!!