Suppose it doesn’t come down to much more than “job done.” The Hawks were sloppy for most of tonight’s game. They were uninterested for a portion. They played just long enough to beat the West’s worst team, which for them isn’t all that long. Basically the end of the 2nd period (a period which they were outplayed) and most of the 3rd. It was enough, and I guess on the second of a back-to-back that’s enough. But maybe we should aim higher.
Whereas last night it was the Hawks top line that saw them have just enough against a huffing and puffing lower tier team, tonight it was the second line, be it Brandon Saad or Patrick Kane moonlighting on the 3rd. This is probably where I say that’s the mark of a good team, in that it’s someone different every night. Nothing revelatory about the win, but it’s a win. Let’s get to the bullets.
-I think what annoys me most about Quenneville is these little quirks he comes up with that really serve no purpose, but because the roster is so good he keeps winning so everyone concludes that they’re just another piece of his genius. Like this thing where the second shift of every period was given to the 4th line? It wasn’t going to take someone too long to think, “Hey, maybe I’ll toss out my top line second in a period and maybe I’ll get something out of it.” And there was Perron getting around Kruger and Nugent-Hopkins catching Bollig a bit flat-footed though roofing a beautiful shot. But the Hawks win, so it’s all washed away. I don’t know why I led off with this, it was just on my mind.
-Let’s go to a good one. Brandon Saad basically waved his wang at the Oilers all night. They couldn’t do anything about him. +17 Corsi (Pirri was +11, and Kane was an unfathomable +22). What you have to love about Saad this year is he’s done it on all of the top three lines and his game seems to be rounding out quicker than we thought it would. Baby Hossa? Looking that way.
-Let’s say that again. Kane was a +22 in Corsi. He has barely 16 minutes of even-strength time. Essentially, he produced a shot attempt, or at least was on the ice for one, every shift tonight.
-Who knew Patrick Sharp could be such a pest?
-Hey Duncs, sees what happens when you get a shot through?
-Q would be disappointed that he put out a conservative PP unit at the end of the game there specifically to not let up a short-handed goal, and then watch Toews, Kane, and Sharp just stand around and watch Eberle and Hall work their ass off to get that shorthanded goal.
-I’ve been remarking this year that I’m not sure I know what it is that Marcus Kruger does at a plus-rate. That is to say I think he does everything well, but there’s nothing that stands out. Well, his finishing around the net slipped my mind. Which is curious why he doesn’t score a little more. But not every player would show that patience close in.
-Oh, and Kruger has been over 50% at the dot in four of his past five games, though granted that’s come against some pretty balloon-handed faceoff teams. But gotta start somewhere, right?
-You know, if more of the Oilers forwards actually showed the work-rate of Mark Arcobello, they probably wouldn’t suck deep pond scum like they do now.
-While we’d all like to look for a reason or two that the Hawks’ kill still is kind of struggling, it basically comes down to not making the saves for the most part. That’s harsh on Crow, as there wasn’t anything he was going to do about Yakupov’s blast or Perron’s tip, but it just feels like those got stopped last year and aren’t this year. Could be as simple as luck. I know it’s not all Michael Frolik not being here, like I theorized earlier in the year. Part of it maybe, but not all.
Good enough, and that’s enough for now.
Player Of The Game
Kneel before Saad.