The Blackhawks were licking their wounds Saturday night, and entering the game Monday night there were big changes with Brandon Pirri moved up to the 2nd line while Sharp was moved with Toews on the top line. The offense needed a jump-start would the changes from the new lines help out in Minnesota?
The Blackhawks didn’t come out as strong as one would have liked especially from the tonight’s top line of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa. They seemed to spend almost the entire first period in the defensive end instead of where we have come use to seeing them taking shots at the opposing goalie. The second line centered by Brandon Pirri had some great chances early on but they couldn’t cash in on them. The one thing that has been noticeable since the arrival of Jeremy Morin is he finishes off every check which he did in the first period. After complaining about the top line on Twitter, Mr. Bad Luck Sharpie from a terrible angle scored his second goal of the season to put the Hawks ahead late in the first period. In the final seconds Corey Crawford made one of his 10 saves in the first period to preserve the 1-0 lead at the end of one.
The Blackhawks continued to let the Wild own most of the play for the first half of the 2nd period. Crawford brought his A game to the Xcel Center in Minnesota. Crawford was on top of his game, but the one player early into the season that seems to own the Hawks is Jason Pominville and when he was given a crack he took every opportunity of that chance and buried one past Crawford to tie up the game. The Hawks got the lead right back less than 2 minutes later when of all people Sheldon Brookbank blew one past Nicklas Backstrom for a 2-1 Hawks lead. The goal was set up by Patrick Kane behind the net and he set up Brookbank for the goal. The Hawks on their first two powerplays were not very aggressive, but when given a third chance late in the second they cashed in when Nick Leddy blew one right by Backstrom for a huge powerplay goal and a 3-1 lead heading to the third period. In a strange twist the Hawks after two period trailed in shots on goal 23-18 but led in hits 14-9. Either way the Hawks led 3-1 on the big board after 2 periods.
The third period which has been a very rough period for the Hawks in the past was not on Monday night! The Hawks dominated the action in the third period, but mostly it was dominated by yesterday’s birthday boy Brandon Saad. Saad set up Kane for a tap in with a beautiful behind the back spin pass that Backstrom never had a chance on. Later during a 4 on 4, Duncan Keith found Saad down the middle of the ice and he didn’t make a mistake on very good move to put the Hawks up 5-1. Last year, Michal Rozsival was light years ahead of Sheldon Brookbank, but this year the tables have turned. Brookbank stood up for Saad after he was going to the box when Nate Prosser decided to punch Saad in the face and Brookbank was right there which had to speak volumes to his teammates. The period wasn’t much more than an open skate for the final 6 minutes and finally the third period horn sounded with the Hawks winning 5-1.
-The new second line didn’t disappoint scoring 2 goals and collecting 4 assists.
-Blackhawks led in Blocked shots 17-13
-Brad Mills looked more comfortable in the “Frolik Role” and the leagues worst penalty kill was perfect against Minnesota on 3 chances
-The Senators are tomorrow night’s opposition and Pat and Eddie told us numerous times they are already in Chicago.
-Bryan Bickell‘s run of 4 straight games with a goal comes to end tonight, but I’m sure he’ll trade in the streak for a road division win
-This was the first time the Hawks looked like last years team with the only exception being outshot by 2 shots, but Crawford came up big in the 2nd period when he had to!
-Please enjoy the Saad pass one more time!
Ottawa tomorrow night!!
LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!