Mar 14, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) sets up his shot against San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Hawks Tank Sharks 6-2 (aka Sharp Is Back!)
WHAT. A. GAME.
Sitting here trying to write the recap, it’s tough to know what to say to really describe the game for those of you who might not have had a chance to watch it.
For starters, we had Patrick Sharp’s opening goal on the rebound – the first goal he has scored in quite some time. But then the Sharks poured on the heat and didn’t let up all the way through two periods. They dominated most of the game play, racked up a ridiculous number of shots on goal, and kept tying the game after the Hawks trild to get ahead. Sharks scored toward the end of the first period, then again in the second period in response to a Duncan Keith power play goal.
Shots on goal after 40 minutes: a ridiculous and uncharacteristic 26-13. But thanks to the excellent play of Corey Crawford in net – more excellent than usual, actually – the Hawks stayed in the game with a fighting chance.
Then came the third period, and fight they did. Not with fists (surprisingly no scraps in the game to speak of), but with hearts. And pucks. In the absence of leading scorer Patrick Kane, the Hawks have had some pretty big skates to fill (figuratively speaking anyway). But here is the list of the Hawks who answered the call in the third (while Crawford denied all 9 San Jose shots on goal that period):
- Brandon Saad (with assists from Teuvo Teravainen . . . and Crawford!)
- Bryan Bickell (with assists from Brad Richards and . . . Michal Rozsival? Believe it or not!)
- Patrick Sharp (again, and on the power play no less!)
- Marian Hossa (empty net, son!)
Well. What more can you say about that, except that one really has to hope that the Blackhawks can keep up their winning ways. We all know that they *can* win, even when missing a very important team member. They did it last year for the final weeks of the regular season with both of our golden boys out (Captain and team stalwart Jonathan Toews first, then Kane). But this year, Kane is out even longer (someone bubble wrap Toews, STAT).
The rest of the Blackhawks stepped up then, and why it is surprising to anyone that they are doing so now is beyond me. Has no one paid attention to the past several seasons? Are we really so lacking in faith of this team? Sure they have their bad stretches. But we know that they turn on the afterburner when it counts most. They prove this time and again.
After today’s game, the Blackhawks stand only 3 points behind the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators in the Central Division. The Blues have a game in hand on the Hawks, while the Hawks have a game in hand on the Preds.
There is a lot to be optimistic about, even if just cautiously so. But as we head into the final weeks of the regular season, regardless of whether the boys make their way to the top or just eke into a playoff spot (more likely the former than the latter), we all know they show their true colors in postseason. Kane will be back. TVR (Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk) will be back. But the true hearts of champions have been there all along, and will continue to be. You can count on that.
So say it with me, friends: LETS GO HAWKS!