Halfway through the longest homestand of the season, the Hawks are currently 2-0-2 and have collected 6 of the possible 8 points. Not bad, I suppose and it all might mean end up being kind of meaningless anyways if St. Louis and Nashville keep winning at the same clip.
The Penguins jumped out to a nice start in the 1st period. The Hawks seemed to be a step slow through the majority of the opening stanza.
As the game wore on, the Hawks matched the Penguins and began to return the favor. A Niklas Hjalmarsson point shot. A Nick Spaling rebound goal. A lot of saves by Fleury and Crawford in between.
Let’s move along here.
–The Sidney Crosby penalty, no wait, get out of the box was really quite the scene. It’s good they got the call on the ice right but….the fact that it involved Sidney Crosby does not do the league any favors.
First of all, anything involving Crosby is going to attract attention. Then, giving him a penalty, seeing him openly complain and then pull him out of the box a few minutes later is something NFL official Jeff Triplett would probably do.
–Another call that really perplexed me was in the second period. David Perron touched a puck with a high stick in the offensive zone. Niklas Hjalmarsson didn’t want to touch the puck because then Perron would’ve immediately forechecked him. Perron didn’t want the whistle. So neither played the puck and eventually an official blew the whistle.
What had me confused was the ensuing face-off remained in the Blackhawks zone. Why would that be? Normally a high stick call results in a neutral zone or defensive zone face-off for the offending team.
If a player touches the puck with a high stick in the offensive zone, why is it on the defensive player to continue the play if the offending player doesn’t want to play the puck?
The rule is essentially punishing the team that wasn’t guilty of high sticking. No player is going to touch the puck in a situation like Hjalmarsson was in. Nor should he.
–Patrick Sharp’s ice time is starting to sink to the point where I was halfway surprised he got the second shift of overtime. In the Vancouver game, he didn’t have a shift after the 5 minute mark of the third. He barely cracked 13 minutes against New Jersey or today. Not really sure what’s going on here. It certainly bears watching, though.
–With all the daily reminders of how average the Hawks defensive corps is from 4-6, something that isn’t mentioned enough is that Corey Crawford is making up the difference. This has been Crawford’s most impressive campaign thus far, probably since 2010-2011.
Crawford was solid again today, keeping the Hawks in the game when things really could have gone code vomit.
I realize it’s difficult and a little scary for Hawk fans to embrace but Crawford is playing well enough to hold up the loose ends of the defense. The Hawks are tied for 2nd in goals against. I don’t see why this is suddenly going to fall off the cliff at this point.
Season to season, goalie play is wildly erratic. We all know this. Crawford is having one of those good aberration seasons. It’s probably best that we enjoy it because you never know when it will happen again.
–First four of the homestand down. The next four will be a bit tougher with Detroit, Colorado, Boston and Florida coming in. Another 6 of 8 points and it will be a success. Even if they’re still looking up in the standings afterwards.