You can bitch all you want about how boring the game was, but a win’s a win, two points are always crucial and the Blackhawks are off to their best start since 1982-83, improving to 5-1-1 with a Western Conference-best 11 points.
The ‘Hawks’ 3-1 win against gawd-awful Nashville was another dominating performance on the stat sheet in what is quickly becoming a trend. Once again, the ‘Hawks greatly out-shot their opponents (30-13), led in overall player points (8-3) and controlled the third period.
To further enhance my last point, the Blackhawks are out-shooting their opponents 94-46 in the third period and overtime thus far this season. That’s a HUGE discrepancy for the latter part of a game, and even more impressive because the ‘Hawks have been in their fair share of nail-biters this year. Even on the second night of a back-to-back, the tired Blackhawks were able to get an insurance goal from Duncan Keith in the third period to give them some breathing room.
As the Blackhawks proved Monday night against Calgary, they will never, ever be considered out of a game until the final buzzer sounds. And if they have the advantage heading into the third, the odds are likely the Blackhawks will find a way to put a big goal on the board to put the game away. Whether that’s a sign of endurance, coaching, heart or a combination of all three, this team is just flat out dangerous when the going gets tough.
Though the ‘Hawks seemed largely in control the entire game, Cristobal Huet made a couple of great saves to preserve the victory — but also got bailed out by the post in the third period when the game was still in doubt. Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential makes a good point that Pat Foley and Eddie-O were treating Huet like he stood on his head the whole game. I’ve been a big Huet supporter, largely because of the fact that I don’t think we should give up on him so early in the season, but tonight he played well enough to get the victory. With our goaltending situation, you really can’t ask for much more, I guess. Right?
It was also nice to see Tomas Kopecky notch his first goal in a ‘Hawks sweater, and Dustin Byfuglien (isn’t it funny how all Blackhawks fans have come to love him after cursing his name so much in the early part of last season?) notched his fourth of the season on a put-back a mere 28 seconds before Kopecky’s marker.
While Patrick Sharp’s point-scoring streak came to an end, it’s hard to overlook that Brian Campbell has seven points this season and only two spin-o-ramas. Maybe people can start laying off this poor guy — even if his cap hit would measure a fairly large earthquake on the Richter Scale.
My one complaint would be the same as the always-insightful fellas over at Hockee Night — Dave Bolland needs to stop taking bad penalties at crucial points of close games. Sooner or later, this is going to come back to bite the ‘Hawks in the ass.
Off night, then the Blackhawks return to the UC to face the Dallas Stars. That means this guy will be in his usual seat — Section 326, Row 12, Seat 11. I’ll still be the short blonde guy, and I’ll still be wanting a beer.