Oct 9, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates scoring the game winning goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (not pictured) during the overtime shootout at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: The Blackhawks win 3-2 in the overtime shootout. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t easy, but the Chicago Blackhawks left Dallas with two points and a victory to start the 2014-2015 campaign. Before they head home for a Saturday matchup against the Buffalo Sabres, here are three takeaways from last nights victory:
1) The Hawks were outplayed for long stretches of this game, yet still got two points. Taking a look at the box score from the game, it is not pretty. The Hawks were out-shot, out-hit, took more penalties. Not to mention the Stars won more faceoffs and blocked more shots. The only stat that the Hawks won was the goals column. Now at the end of the day, it’s the two points that matter. It seems that this team always has trouble getting out of the starting blocks, but when they do look out. Good on these guys for battling and earning two points in a game that they should have lost 5-2 or 6-2. This is what separates good teams from great teams.
2) Corey Crawford is a Top 10 Goaltender in the NHL. He might have already been considered one, but last night convinced many of that. For being told that his defense does most of the work and that he isn’t required to do much, Crawford stood on his head last night. He’s done this countless number of times in the regular season and the post-season (Detroit series 2013) and has been a huge part of the Hawks success. He stopped two huge breakaways during the game that could have opened the floodgates and ended things quickly. The biggest reason the Hawks have two points.
3) Coach Q is going to use the line blender often to start the year. It didn’t take him very long to get Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell back together. Not to mention Jeremy Morin and David Rundblad being stapled to the bench in the 3rd period. We know that he likes to do this to get the offense going, and last night he needed to get a spark going somehow. It seems that he is going to have a quick trigger early this season to employ this strategy, as the Hawks would be wise to gobble up two points every chance they can get. They got two tonight, so it worked out.
The Hawks looked sluggish, didn’t play their best and required their goalie to bail them out. Yet still they started the year with a win and are atop the leaderboard. It’s going to take time, but once this teams puts it all together they should rattle off victories and should be exciting to watch. It’s all preparation for next May anyway, right?