OK, so it took until the third period for this one to get interesting. But it did, and the Hawks got the two points they very badly needed against this crap excuse for a team. To the bullets:
– Oesterle instead of Kempny, huh? What did this guy do, run over Quenneville’s dog? Oesterle wasn’t particularly bad so it’s not like this decision ruined the game. He ended up with an assist on the first goal and a 54.6 CF% so…cool? Honestly, who even knows if Kempny would be any good at this point; I’m sure his confidence is shot to shit. But he proved himself capable last season so I just don’t get it. And now that Oesterle got a point in this game, it’s probably a done deal and Kempny might as well go to the land of wind and ghosts.
– Speaking of questionable decisions, for some fucking reason Saad and DeBrincat were on their opposite sides. Why? It’s like Q is fucking up the new-look top line out of spite. Am I missing something? What is it that I don’t know that would explain that? All it led to was Top Cat fat-fingering a pass and missing on what was basically an open net in the first period. This line was pretty quiet all night…gee fucking whiz I wonder why.
– Nick Schmaltz got a well-deserved mark on the scorer’s sheet tonight. He’s been busting his ass doing all the cliché things that don’t get you a point, so I was happy to see him get a goal. It was a classic 2-on-1, a great pass from Garbage Dick, and he buried the shot. Nicely done. It also put the Hawks up by 2 goals and for the first time in the game I was confident they would actually win it.
– Everyone’s favorite d-pairing of Forsling and Rutta were caught looking like fools on Duclair’s goal. Foley’s response was “somehow he beat Rutta” and I nearly had beer come out my nose.
– But his next line was “somehow he beat Crawford,” and that actually was surprising. Crow looked solid as usual, and if he’s still recovering from a groin issue it’s not showing. Midway through the second he got caught up playing the puck behind the net, but other than that misstep—which really didn’t matter anyway—he looked as good as we’ve come to expect. There was a nice sequence of saves late in the second and a big save in the third just prior to the first Hawks goal. I don’t know how long he’ll be able to keep this up every night, but we needed it tonight.
– Local guy does OK! Tommy Wingels scored his second goal in as many games. Enjoy that sentence because you’ll probably never see it again—I know I don’t ever expect to write it again.
The Hawks did what had to be done and got the two points. I wouldn’t say they looked dominant, but it’s baby steps right now. Their third shitty opponent in a row is on Tuesday (the Panthers), so hopefully they keep this going. Onward and upward.