In what has become something of a tradition, the Hawks once again took on the Ducks in Orange Country for a Black Friday matinee. However, the Hawks bucked tradition by basically taking control of this from the word “go” in what could arguably be their most definitive victory of the year, and would be the most enjoyable were it not marred by predictable Ducks asshattery.
The Hawks carried nearly all the play in the early going, and the first sustained bit of Ducks pressure resulted in a wonderful 150 foot pass from Brent Seabrook to Brad Richards that at first looked like a reckless icing attempt. But the replays showed Seabrook spotting Richards alone at neutral ice and he exhibited the passing ability that had previously made him so dangerous from the back end. Andrew Shaw would make it 2-0 finishing off a nice passing play from the de-facto fourth line, which not only included a completed Duncan Keith slap pass, but also a twisting backhand pass from Gorilla Salad. Strange days, indeed.
Hampus Lindholm bunted a fluttering mid air puck that everyone else had lost sight of past Crawford to bring the Ducks within one, but that would be as close as they would get. Patrick Kane capped off another multi-point effort with the insurance goal in the second off a beautiful pass from Kris Versteeg, and the empty netter to ice it. Hawks 4, Ducks 1, Mumps (hopefully) zero.
- With his two goals this afternoon and evening, Patrick Kane is all of the sudden at a point per game clip, with 10 goals and 13 assists in 23 games. It’s amazing what playing with a real center will do for a man’s output.
- Kane’s winger on the opposite side, Kris Versteeg, is also turning out be having himself quite a year. Versteeg was pounded relentlessly and deservedly last year, but he’s been everything he’s needed to be on a line where he in theory shouldn’t work. Perhaps if Kane has the puck through the neutral zone there are fewer opportunities for Versteeg to go all Versteeg on everyone and puke up a turnover, but he’s surpassing his previous career best even strength scoring output by just shy of 1.2 points per 60 minutes (2.83 to 1.67 in 08-09), and is carrying nearly 56% of the play.
- Johnny Oduya escaped what could have been a really nasty injury from the hit by Kyle Palmieri, and managed to finish off the game with a cut or two on his impeccably handsome face. The call that was made was probably the right one, as it was a high-targeted hit with a few extra steps from Palmieri in a dangerous area of the ice, but Oduya did turn and was crouched as he moved the puck, so supplemental discipline shouldn’t be necessary. Time served and nothing more.
- Marian Hossa was not so lucky however. Infectious human waste Corey Perry petulantly and simultaneously crosschecked and kneed Hossa far away from the play, resulting in Hossa going down in a heap. At first blush, it looked like it could be just rib or kidney bruise, but the replay shows Hossa’s knee bending in a way it shouldn’t. He skated off under his own power, but it’s not going to surprise anyone when it’s announced that he’s going to be missing some time.
- Hossa, Saad, and Toews were the only Hawks not on the positive side of the possession ledger. Hockey is weird.
- It would have been nice to enjoy Niklas Hjalmarsson abslolutely blowing up Ryan Kesler for more than a half second before the Ducks scored, but now that the game is over, it can be relived here.
- Fredrik Andersen is kind of a thing, and is really the only reason this game wasn’t DLR caliber. Admittedly, the Ducks’ blue line is banged up, but never fear, Eric Brewer is coming to the rescue.
- Never change, Gabby. Never change.