Another game; another 1-0 shutout; another day closer to the playoffs. On to the bullets.
- How is it that the Hawks have won two 1-0 games in a week that felt like massive blowouts? Against the Predators and now the Wild, the Hawks thoroughly outplayed both teams only to scratch one goal out. In all three zones, the Hawks were the superior team for the majority of the night. The only time the Wild were able to sustain any kind of pressure was when the Hawks were getting wonky in their zone.
- Funny how third period leads don’t disappear when the Hawks break out of their zone cleanly and without incident. How are they doing it you ask? Well, it starts with their defense. Instead of taking the puck and firing it along the wall, they’re looking for the open player and making a safe pass (Niklas Hjalmarsson’s blind back-hand pass through the slot withstanding) or skating it out themselves. The wingers are doing their part by staying in front of the opposing defensemen and the centers are doing their part by offering an easy outlet pass. And just like that, poof, no third period woes. Oh, and chasing just one goal, the Wild could only muster six shots. That will do.
- Marian Hossa’s shooting percentage on slap shots from 25 feet out has to be 10000000%. I don’t recall him ever not scoring when he’s given those opportunities. Gracias, Clayton Stoner.
- I feel like the Saad-Toews-Kane line is going to be Joel Quenneville’s ace in the hole. It’s a card he knows he can play at any time. Rather than have every team prepared for it and prep for it during a seven-game series, he’s going to wait until the playoffs to unleash the beasts. And if the third period against Nashville was any indicator, that line is going to do serious damage to somebody.
- If you expect me to touch on the GOALIE CONTROVERSY, you’re barking up the wrong tree. He doesn’t have the reputation of Mike Keenan but Joel Quenneville is just as impatient when it comes to goaltenders. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that in a year where the Hawks have TWO goalies with insane stats, Joel Quenneville is playing the hot hand. It’s almost like the 2008-2009 season never happened for some people.
- Patrick Sharp got rubbed out along the boards by Ryan Suter late in the third period. Quite frankly, I was more worried he broke his neck than hurt his shoulder but apparently he got a stinger and is fine, according to the beat.
- Speaking of, Sharp returned from his injury and took the majority of the draws for his line and won 6 of 9. Meanwhile, Kruger and Shaw were a combined 2-10 which is just slightly worse than Dave Bolland (RIMSHOT). For the most part, though, Sharp was playing along the wing and taking the draws when they were on his backhand.
- Since I’ve seen it in the comments recently and have forgotten to touch on it, yes, I still watch ‘The Walking Dead’. If you don’t care about the show or my thoughts, then you can just skip this last section. My thoughts on this season aren’t much different than anything else you’ve read. This season got me slightly intrigued and then slowly let me down. My criticisms are nothing new; the storylines are pretty uncreative and everything that happens is merely to move the plot rather than develop the characters. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I thought this had the chance to take the place of ‘Lost’ but it’s obvious nothing will fill that void for some time. There were so many things that happened in the comics that could have been explored further on a television show (i.e. the murders in the prison) and for whatever reason, they weren’t (For the record, I thought one of the best episodes this year was when Rick, Carl and Michonne cross paths with the dude that saved Rich in the premier episode. It put all the Woodbury stuff on hold but developed other story lines. MOAR OF THIS IN SEASON 4 PLZ). And that’s ok, it’s still an entertaining show, I’ll keep watching it until it goes off the air, and it’s the most viewed cable show in history so they’re obviously doing something right. But it constantly leaves me feeling like there’s so much more potential. Nevertheless, I’ve hypothesized that this season probably flows much better if viewed continuously so I will give that a try.