It’s almost comical at this point.
The script is for all intents and purposes set in stone. Every game down in the glorified trailer park west of the Mississippi the Blues will spend the better part of the first period running around looking to decapitate anything with an Indian head on the sweater. The Hawks then weather the storm and use their speed and skill to grab a lead, and then allow the Blues to helplessly flail trying to claw their way back onto the scoreboard before the inevitable dagger, only to resume the extra curricular bullshit.
This afternoon was no exception, and after a tight first 20 minutes, the Hawks grabbed a lead early in the second that the Blues never really threatened to take away before icing things in the third on a Marian Hossa shorty. Hawks 2, Blues nothing. Bullets pending.
- For as drama free as the final forty minutes were, the collective sphincters of Hawks fans around the world audibly tightened at the sight of Jonathan Toews buckling on the bench and heading back to the dressing room at the tail end of the first after a couple collisions with David Backes, one of which was knee on knee.
- Speaking of Backes, seemed pretty fitting that Bryan Bickell would pot the game winner after getting chirped by Backes’ about if he even plays. Why yes, David, he does, to the tune of nearly doubling your goal output and now only trails your breakneck scoring pace by one point. LEADERSHIP.
- Viktor Stalberg once again had a very nice game using his speed to the outside to gain entrance to the St. Louis zone, which directly resulted in Bickell’s goal. However his shining moment came in the third period wherein Stalberg held the puck in and created a shot for himself which drew effusive praise from Pierre McGuire, met with uncomfortable silence from the booth by Ed Olczyk.
- Dave Bolland returned just in time to render Patrick Kane relatively ineffective for the majority of the afternoon, as well as getting called for a couple of needless penalties and loafing back on a shorthanded 2 on 1 Blues break. But he wanted to “rush back”. The patience wears ever thinner, particularly with the giant-faced Drew LeBlanc now waiting his turn.
- However, Kane managed to be a +11 in Corsi while his linemates of Bolland and Kruger were even zeros. Wonder where he could have possibly accumulated those 11 chances.
- The power play continues to be fucking clown shoes, and if it were in any way effective, this game would have been euthanized during the 4 on 3 late in the first. It’s not the end of the world with the PK continuing to be excellent with its limited workload and forcing teams to beat the Hawks 5 on 5. But a sputtering advantage keeps teams as clearly outclassed as the Blues were today hanging around longer than necessary.
- Seeing the way things shook out today, it’s not surprising that Patrick Sharp was told to keep his handsome self and healing shoulder back at home, particularly with the conference all but sewn up. The Ducks can max out at 71 points, and the Hawks have 68 with 7 games left to play. Once those two trajectories intersect as early as Friday night, expect to see a lot more Rockford-esque lineups out there.
- That said, tomorrow will be no easy feat with the Stars interjecting themselves into the 8-seed by winning five straight and sitting here in town resting tonight. Not to mention Kari Lehtonen hasn’t gone full Kari Lethtonen on the Hawks yet this year as he tends to.