This kind of explosion in the third period is exactly what makes this team so much damn fun to watch. While there were chances on both sides of the ice in the first, it remained a pretty even and quiet game. There were shifts where both teams threatened but neither goalie or defense was going to give anything up. So after the first remained scoreless with relatively few shots and the second period ended tied at one it seemed like it could end up being a “next goal wins” scenario. Then the third started and the goals flooded in 3 of them in about 4 minutes. It was a blink and you’ll miss it scene. When the Hawks can smell blood in the water, they can usually capitalize. It’s just where they left off last year when they scored those two goals in 17 seconds. It doesn’t happen every game (like most games against the Blues this year unfortunately) but the Hawks can make good teams look very silly and they can make mediocre teams look worse. While the Devils were able to claw their way back into this one. After Hossa’s wrister you could easily have put it in the books.
- Well obviously the big news of the game is the handsome one’s second hat trick in a week. I’m guessing team Canada’s roster is pretty much set at this point (being announced on Tuesday) but Sharp is anything but a sure thing. He’s on the bubble but his chemistry with Toews can’t be overlooked and that is dangerous for someone rooting for the USA team (and someone who drunkenly made a bet with a friend from the north).
It’s hard to pick the best goal of his three since all of them are so different and are great examples of how the Hawks can kill teams. His first was off an ill-advised pass to Ryder in the middle of the defensive zone. Ryder was skating right towards Sharp and he was able to poke it away and created an immediate give and go with Toews. Sharp found himself all alone in the middle of the ice at the top of the circles. While the Hawks aren’t the most aggressive forechecking team, they can make it count. The second was a damn near impossible angle. Sharp had his left leg on the goal line when he fired a snapshot to the top of the net. Fatso never had a chance as it was set up with a beautiful cross ice pass from Seabrook. For the third it was once again Flash, his third of the night, with a great stretch pass that Sharp was able to play perfectly off the boards getting behind Jon Merrill and fake out Brodeur who was sprawling for the pokecheck. The Devils were desperately trying to tie the game but give the Hawks space and they can hurt you. Also, Sharp’s celebration after the third goal was just adorable.
- Once again, Keith is out of this world good this year. Again, really bad news for team USA. Three assists tonight tie him with Crosby for second in the league only two behind Thornton for the overall league lead. It also help him pull away from Karlsson for the point lead among defensemen.
- Seabrook got credit for two assists, and like I said his pass to Sharp was a fantastic one, but he still didn’t have the best of games. His failed clear led directly to Zidlicky’s first goal. Though that’s also because he took a shot to the leg that stunned him, causing Oduya to shift over to cover and Zids had a clear path through the slot with Bickell trailing him. Biscuit did show his passing ability though.
- Nice to see Patrick Kane finally back on the scoresheet. What have you done lately, you bum.
Interesting to see Saad, Steegs and even Bicks getting shifts on the second line with Kaner. Yet his assist and Saad’s goal came with Zus on the bench. Is that a totally fair assessment of Zus’ play last night? Probably not. Is it fairly clear this is more than just coincidence? Probably.
- Sheldon Brookbank… woof.
- After being named a rookie co-star of the month, Raanta had another solid game, coming up with several big time stops and keeping the Hawks in the game. It’s going to hurt to send him down but it’s still likely the best move. The Hawks don’t have another back-to-back for two weeks so there isn’t much chance we’ll see the back up til then. Raanta’s best served by getting as much playing time as possible and it likely won’t happen on this team.
- Has there been any news at all about Khabby? Has he gone the way of Kim Johnsson (RIP)?