October 30, 2013 by andymisek
After Monday’s offensive break-out vs the Minnesota Wild, the Hawks squared off with the Ottawa Senators last night at the United Center. I had the pleasure of attending this roller-coaster. Coming into the game, it was questionable if the Hawks could put together two offensive games back to back. They didn’t disappoint in that department.
Where they did disappoint was in goaltending. Nikolai Khabibulin struggled all game. They have to start him to make games against struggling opponent more interesting. Four goals in twenty-two shots is a little ridiculous. An.818 save percentage makes him look better than he really was (sadly). Every save looked more awkward than the last and he would kick rebounds in the worst places.
Meanwhile Raanta has a 5-1 record and .926 save percentage, carrying Rockford to the top of the league. Understandably, the Hawks want him to become adjusted to North American ice in the AHL, but Khabibulin remains on the squad. Coach Q loves his grizzled old veterans.
The only other negative was Brent Seabrook. He made terrible decision on when to pinch, leaving his partner on 2-on-1s and 3-on-1s multiple times. He also turned the puck over on the power play only to be bailed out by Corey Crawford (Thank god Khabi was pulled at that point).
Enough with the negatives; the offense maintained their dominance from the Wild game. The entire team played well (except for the players above). With the exception of the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period, the Hawks were getting stronger opportunities despite being out shot.
Jonathan Toews ran the show last night. The entire first line spent every shift in Ottawa’s zone and Toews potted himself a hat trick. He scored his goals in three separate ways (wrap around, crashing the net, and battling out in front).
Hossa also buried a goal and 2 assists. Sharp had two assists, but easily could have had three goals. He is the definition of a streaky scorer, eventually these breakaways will turn into goals.
Finally (seriously it took long enough), Pirri is getting his look at second line center and he is looking like he should stick. He fits well with Saad and Kane. He has a tendency to float every now and then, but he isn’t known for his stupendous two-way play. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t a liability, but that is the knock against him.
Speaking of the 2nd line, Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane played great. They created plenty of opportunities with their great defensive play lifting the stick from above! Seems they have taken a page right out of Hossa’s book when it comes to his defensive play. Hopefully this play silences Kane’s Haters.
Everyone else played their game. Shaw scored twice by going to the the gritty areas. Bollig stood out for his decent play last night. Brad Mills…why is he playing over Ben Smith again? Either way, the Hawks came to play last night and the game would have been different if they started the better goalie.