The Blackhawks came out like the defending Stanley Cup champions in Raleigh N.C. on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks came out flying and put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Carolina Hurricane from the first faceoff. The line that showed the most jump in their skates was the Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad and Joakim Nordstrom line, but it was the Handzus line that opened the scoring when Michal Handzus hoisted a flip pass 3/4 the way down and Patrick Sharp skated past everyone and blew it by Cam Ward for his 200th career goal. Later in the period, with the only powerplay of the period expiring the Hawks with some very aggressive forechecking stole the puck and Marian Hossa finished the play on a back-hand just past Ward for a 2-0 lead.
The Hawks put a lot of forechecking pressure on the Hurricanes and dominated every aspect of the game winning faceooffs, board battles, and in the end the scoreboard. Corey Crawford was tested but a couple of times and he was up to the task stopping the 5 shots on net by the Hurricanes in the first.
The team switched ends and it seemed like the momentum did the same exact thing. The Hurricanes controlled most of the action while picking up two minor penalties, but like most of the period though controlling the action were not able to cash in. The best opportunity for the Hurricanes came midway through the period when Tuomo Ruutu had Corey Crawford down and out, but he couldn’t lift the puck past #50! The Hurricanes out shot the Blackhawks 14-8 in the period and they controlled most of the action for 20 minutes. The difference between the first and second periods were that the Blackhawks cashed in on their chanced in the first period and Hurricanes couldn’t cash in during the second period.
The third period wasn’t much better for the Blackhawks with Carolina getting the best of the action with some iffy play by the Hawks. Alexander finally got the Hurricanes on the board when he was left in front of Crawford after a rebound to cut the Hawks lead in half. The Hurricanes were pressing and gambling the entire period and even though the Hawks had some good chances you have to tip your cap to Cam Ward for some great play in net to keep the Hawks offense at bay. Hossa had a great chance in front midway through the third that Ward was able to stop. With the Hawks leading and it getting late Joakim Nordstrom made a very feeble play on the boards on a clearing attempt and Ron Hainsey picked up the puck and fired it at Crawford and somehow got through all the way to the back of the net to tie up the contest.
Crawford came up big at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. The big development in overtime was the Hawks going down a man, but the penalty kill is starting to gel and was able to kill off the overtime 4 on 3. At the very end of overtime Corey Crawford made two tremendous stops to save the day for the Blackhawks.
In the shootout after Kane and Toews came up empty you just knew Patrick Sharp would score the game winner and seal the deal on the Hawks 4th win of the season.
-Michal Rozsival struggled and with the Hawks carrying 8 defenseman will more than likely be in the press box for the Blues game.
-Shaw, Saad, Nordstrom line was the most effective line of the night, but Nordstrom really looks soft at times and it cost the Hawks the lead in the 3rd.
-Handzus trails every play which included being way behind on the first goal of the game. I know I’m not a fan of his but he looks so slow and has no business playing with Sharp and his speed.
-Bryan Bickell has lost his golden touch. Plays that were ending in the back of the net last spring are now not happening this fall.
-2 Points on the road is great, but the Hawks need to find the killer instinct which is really missing early on this season.
-The Hawks seek revenge for their only loss against the St. Louis Blues Thursday night!
What was your takeaway from the Hawks win?
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