Washington may not take responsibility for their actions, but the Chicago Blackhawks took full credit for everything that took place on the ice at the United Center Sunday night. Both the Hawks and the Washington Captials entered the games with 6-3-1 records in the last 10 games, but it was the Hawks who took early control of the game and never gave up the stranglehold it had on the game..
The scoring opened on a tip-in by Andrew Shaw, the goal was set up by Shaw with a nifty toe-drag that Duncan Keith shot the rebound toward the net that Shaw tipped for the goal. The second goal came when Victor Stalberg seemingly shot out of cannon, skated past the Capitals defense and scored easily on Michal Neuvirth. The Hawks for the second consecutive night dominated the first peroid which set the tone for the rest of the game. Two games in a row ending the first period with a lead is a, great and unexpected change, that would be a welcome tradition!!
The second period started with a quick Washington goal by Mike Knuble, but Patrick Kane answered a few minutes later scoring on basically an empty net. Patrick Kane has been playing some great hockey in the last ten games, and it did not stop tonight! He dominated the 2nd half of the game getting shots off and dominated the puck. Without a definite return or possible return of Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane will have to continue to be great on a nightly basis. Andrew Shaw made it 4-1 with his 2nd of the night on a wrap around goal. Say you will about Shaw, but he plays hard, throw his body around, and usually collects a scar and a point a night!
Alex Ovechki finished the scoring in the 2nd period when he got one past Corey Crawford. As great as Ovechkin is, he was pretty average at best tonight with only getting a couple shots off, and his presence excluding the goal was pretty absent. Crawford was ok tonight while collecting his 3rd straight win since replacing Ray Emery in the St. Louis game. He stopped 14-16 shots and stopped all the shots he was suppose to stop. Like most games that the Hawks offense is clicking, the Hawks goalie doesn’t have to be spectacular just consistent and stopping everything that he should.
The third period was pretty ordinary with the only tally by Bryan Bickell’s empty netter. It was very shocking that Brandon Bollig was on the ice tonight and there wasn’t a meaningless fight. I know this guy is “the muscle” of the team, but he has very little offensive talent and totally missed a open net tonight. With Bickell and Bolling there are two useless guys skating around, one that is afraid to hit anything, and one that hits everything. Neither seem to help the Hawks but since they have been winning I guess they both will continue to get ice time.
The 5-2 win gives the Hawks a 6 point advantage in the Western Conference Standings with 9 to play. The Hawks have seemed to hit their stride, and are playing some really good hockey now. They seem to have figured out their roles without Towes to bail them out. They are 8-4-1 since Towes left the lineup with his concussion. Brent Seabrook quietly had his second consecutive +3 night. The addition of Johnny Oduya has seemingly settled down the defense nightly.
Tuesday night the Hawks should get a nice underhand softball pitch while visiting the Columbus BlueJackets, if the Hawks come out like they have the past two outings they will easily be able to get a W and 2 more points to solidify their playoff standing. Lets do the responsible thing and not look past Columbus and dominate another opponent!
Let’s go Hawks!!!