On Jan. 19th, the Blackhawks jumped to a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes, and this one was almost identical. The ‘Hawks held L.A. without a shot for the first 8 minutes of play, and when the Kings finally started putting the puck on net, Ray Emery had no problem stopping them. Chicago jumped to a 1-0 lead on the powerplay, when Brent Seabrook notched his 2nd of the year, on a beautiful passing play. Seabrook came all the way down to the goal-line, and put it easily past Johnathan Quick. Not too long later, Duncan Keith put an excellent pass on the tape of Jonathan Toews, who buried for a 2-0 lead. There were 4 Blackhawks shot blocks in the 1st, and none were as big as Seabrook’s; on the PK, a big stand-up stop that made every man in the U.C. cringe, and thank the heavens that he already is a dad-to-be. He dropped quickly, left the game, but returned for the 2nd. The ‘Hawks had the puck most of the period, and were doing a great job getting it out of the zone and through neutral ice, and controlled the flow in the Kings’ own end. Chicago heard the horn at the end of the period, up 2-0.
The 2nd frame of this contest was very tame, with both teams settling down, getting pucks deep, and not going through the neutral zone unless there was some open ice. The ‘Hawks did not execute the defensive shutdown they did in the 1st, but it was still airtight. Patrick Sharp would snap his 10-game goalless streak, as he scored his 3rd of the season, on a broken L.A. defense, which all started when Johnny Oduya made a purpouseful bounce off the end boards. Jonathan Quick was just a sliver of his past self this game, and it showed most on this goal, when he did not have any body part in the crease, and he was laying flat on his stomach. Oduya was also involved in the other exciting play of the 2nd; a shot block, where he saved Emery’s bacon, sacrificing his cheek to keep the Kings scoreless through 2.
It was a dream first 40 for the Chicago Blackhawks. Out-shooting 31-18, Score: 3-0. Whatever Coach Q said in the 2nd intermission, it was not the right thing. Instead of continuing with their bread and butter, which put them in that position, they turtled. Less than a minute into the period, Patrick Sharp takes 2 for a Hooking penalty, and Mike Richards makes him pay, as he fires a rocket over the shoulder of Emery, 56 seconds into the 3rd, to chop the lead to 2 goals. Little over 10 minutes later it was Deja Vu; This time Toews goes off for a very-embellished High Stick on Drew Doughty, and Richards shows excellent patience, blasting one low and out of the range of Emery’s pad. At this point, momentum was all Los Angeles. The hawks were scrambling, and had one good rush from that point until the end of the game. If not for a timely L.A. penalty, this game might have ended a different way. However, they were still pressing when Justin Williams ran over Emery. Johnny Oduya, (who struggled in the 3rd) did the right thing, standing up for his goalie, and knocking around Williams a bit. However, to the appall of the 21, 843 at the United Center, there was no call on Williams. So Oduya heads off, and the Kings pull Quick; but they could not hang on, and the ‘Hawks are 2-0 against the defending Cup champs, and 12-0-3 on the season, the 2nd-best start all time.
- Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa were surprisingly quiet tonight.
- Ray Emery played yet another solid outing, and the two goals he allowed were defensive errors more than his own. He is 5-0 on the season!
- Marcus Kruger and his entire line have strengthened the ‘Hawks depth tenfold, and they played great today.
- Could the Blackhawks near-collapse be related to the 1-2-2 forecheck?
At any rate, the Blackhawks got away with this win, and they know they will not stay almost-perfect for long if they continue to play like that in the 3rd period. Lots of good and bad things to take away from this game.
12-0-2!!! LETS GO HAWKS!
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