Well well, what can we say. The Blackhawks are winning so much it’s becoming comical, they could probably clinch a playoff spot by the end of the month! Every Hawks game is getting harder and harder to critique because barely anything is being done wrong! Unfortunately fans, we can’t get too ahead of ourselves, it’s the worst time of the year to be playing good, even when it’s this good. We have only allowed 6 even-strength goals in the last 8 games! Part of me wants to put everyone as a star, but that’s just not fair, so here are the top three for the fifth week.
#3: Brandon Saad
Feb 22, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) makes a save against Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Sharks 2-1. The Blackhawks set an NHL record for scoring at least one point in 17 consecutive games to open a season. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Just as Andrew Shaw was last season, Brandon Saad is looking to be the Blackhawks’ freshman powerhouse this year. He added to an already-impressive NHL start by scoring the winning goal in Chicago’s record-breaking triumph over the San Jose Sharks on Friday. On that said goal, he did it all, (makes sense, the Hawks were on the PK) driving wide and ripping a shot off the opposite post, and beating former Hawk Antti Niemi. The Blackhawks never looked back as they swept their season series with the Sharks 3-0, and that was the final tally in the game as they won 2-1. Saad is playing good offensively, and he is where he needs to be, whether that’s in the slot or the corner, and it’s paying off, as he now has 34 shots, good for 8th on the team. Pretty impressive for a rookie, eh??
#2: Ray Emery
Feb 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery (30) is congratulated for a victory against the Vancouver Canuck by center Jonathan Toews (19) at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in the shootout. The Blackhawks tied an NHL record for scoring at least one point in 16 consecutive games to open a season. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
It’s getting almost like the goaltending fiasco in Vancouver, between Ray Emery and Corey Crawford. If not for Crow’s shutout Sunday night, I’m almost certain Ray would be getting the starter’s job (at least for the time being) for the Hawks. He is undefeated in 7 games, and is not recognizable from the goon that fought Martin Biron and Andrew Peters 6 years ago this week. Getting 2 out of 3 starts this week should have bolstered Chicago fans’ confidence in “Razor,” and apart from a shaky start against the rival Canucks on Tuesday, he looked as solid, making saves at key times, especially in the shootout that game against the ‘Nucks went to that chilly night in Chicago. Only letting in 1 goal against the Sharks was a big check mark for him as well, as they have lots of players that can put the puck in the net. He gets the start Monday against the Oilers.
#1: Andrew Shaw
Feb 24, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu (10) is checked into his bench by Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
ShawFact: He’s back.
Andrew Shaw was by far the best player on the ‘Hawks this week, with the Game-Winning-Goal in not one, but 2 contests out of 3, assuming you count his shootout goal that took us all by surprise against Vancouver. He has been making smart puck decisions, has cut down his average shift time, and finally started showing up when we need him, with the big hits, and big goals. Scoring the only goal in a game is a pretty good feat, and he did just that Sunday night, even though the team as a whole did not have a good outing. He must have gotten to Ryan Clowe, as he left the bench just for Shaw, which resulted in a 2-game suspension for the Shark, announced Monday. Shaw is a depth peice that can turn in to a top 6 forward at any time. He has improved the last three weeks, and he should keep doing just that, as nothing is there to stop him.
Records: Set. First Place: Check. Streak: Still Alive. Cup Hopes: Plenty. Let’s keep ‘er rolling for another week, boys.
LETS GO HAWKS!!
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