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When The Walls Come Down – Hawks 1, Jackets 1 (Hawks Win Duke Nukem 3D)

Tonight’s game in Columbus is a textbook example of why it’s perfectly acceptable to have ties in the NHL. Both teams had stretches of carrying the play, and both looked sloppy at times and were bailed out by timely goaltending, that is until the sideshow used to decide the contest.

Nine-game point streak notwithstanding, Columbus is still a mediocre-to-bad team, but they have been playing with a level of tenacity this season that they haven’t had since (or even during) the Ken Hitchcock vise-grips era. They might be in the West’s basement, but they’re not a doormat. That in large part has had to do with Sergei Bobrovski being absolutely out of his skull lately, as he was again tonight. It took a perfect shot from Johnny Oduya off a perfect pass from Patrick Kane to beat him, and yet he still managed to get clowned in the shootout. It doesn’t seem fair, but I’m sure the Hawks will take the two points. Hot bullets, served fresh off of the Pizzazz.

Observations

  • GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! TimeOnIce is finally back, and not a second too soon. The chart backs up the eye test, showing that the Toews line pretty much had their way with the Jackets, with Marian Hossa sporting a particularly swollen +15 for the evening. Patrick Kane, however, despite the flash in regulation and the shootout, was an unsightly -10, reiterating what we’ve said all year, that he needs a center to actually win him the puck other than having to chase it down.
  • Speaking of which, Jimmy Hayes wasn’t particularly bad tonight, but he didn’t exactly wow anyone either. He fell down completely untouched on more than a couple occasions, which in his case is difficult to miss seeing. And for all the purported work on his skating at the Rock, he was still a good half a beat behind Kane for the evening.
  • And on the topic of faceoffs, yet another cleanly lost faceoff led to a goal against, again on the power play. Marcus Kruger has been invaluable on the kill this year, but his inability to win a draw is now starting to bite the Hawks in the ass when it hadn’t before.If the Hawks are going to continue to trot this bunch out to lose draws, they’re going to need to have the PK’ing forwards be far more aggressive in pressuring point men. Getting out to front Johnson quicker and stronger forces him to change the angle on his shot, rather than being able to take clear and dead aim at the net with a full wind up.
  • Brandon Bollig wasn’t a liability tonight, but that doesn’t mean he’s allowed to constantly bang his stick on the ice to call for the puck.
  • As Sam said on Twitter during the game, this is an actual case of a fight being alright between Shaw and Calvert. Two players who matter with genuine distaste for one another with emotion within the context of real game play boiling over.
  • The pass Kane made on Oduya’s goal was one of the filthiest saucer passes this league has seen in a good couple of years. There are maybe two or three other guys on the planet who can do that. Oh yeah, that shootout move was alright too. Show us something we haven’t seen twice already for fuck’s sake.
  • If the Hawks were frustrated by Bob tonight, just wait until they get to Dallas on Saturday, where Kari Lehtonen seems to regularly pull an acrobat routine when the Hawks roll in.

Player of the Game

It’s tough to not give this to Bobrovsky or even to Hjalmarsson for the several outstanding defensive plays he made, but Slim Shady factored into every facet of the scoring, so here he is.

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