Yes, officer, I saw this man running away with two points. (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
On a night where the Blackhawks deserved to get exactly zero points out of this game, they somehow came away with two, and it was all thanks to Ray Emery.
Emery saw a career-high 47 shots and stopped 45 of them before blanking the Calgary Flames in the shootout. Remember, this is a guy who was last in net two weeks ago against the Phoenix Coyotes. Guess his hip is good and oiled now.
Ray Emery will more than likely be in net for the Blackhawks, but it hasn’t been confirmed. (@TramyersCSN) Miikka Kiprusoff will be in goal for the Flames. Pretend to be shocked by this information. (@RogMillions)
Injury Report: Daniel Carcillo (knee) is still expected to be out until late February. Michal Rozsival is still questionable with a lower-body injury, as is Dave Bolland, who suffered an injury against the Canucks last night. For the Flames, Sven Baertschi is out with a hip injury, while Anton Babchuk will be sitting with a back injury.
I’m suffering through a migraine right now, so forgive me for the shortness of this preview.
The Hawks pulled out a 4 to 2 win over Calgary to not only give Joel Quenneville his 600th career win (he is the 10th coach to do so) but this win also put them ahead of the Wild in the Western Conference.
-Montador, Kane, Hossa, and Hjalmarsson all scored points last night.
-Emery made 22 saves.
Back to Coach Q, here are some tidbits about his career, following his 600th win as coach:
-He is 161-81-32 in Chicago
-He is the 2nd fastest to reach his 600th win in League history. (Scotty Bowman did it in 1,002 games; Q in 1,113)
Overall, a good night for everyone. Seeing that the Blackhawks were able to pull out the win to bring them back up to the 1st spot in the conference made my long night TONS better. Pats on the back and cupcakes to everyone!
Well, while I’ve been off, having an existential crisis regarding this site, the Blackhawks have decided to pile up a nice win streak, haven’t they?
Steve Montador has finally become useful, with four goals in four games. Nick Leddy now leads all defensemen in points. Not only that — the Blackhawks finally sent old Rostislav Olesz to Rockford while bringing up Ben Smith, everyone’s new favorite gritty, grindy third/fourth line guy.
Since the Blackhawks have decided to change things up, I have also decided to do things differently on this site. Whenever I can, the game-day posts are now game-day live blogs! Now instead of following me on Twitter for my latest jokes about how Brent Seabrook is drowning his injury sorrows in nachos, or finding new ways to describe John Scott’s on-ice uselessness, you can just click on here and find them all in one convenient location.
I’ve only done one live blog before, so there might be a few bumps in the road. Please bear with me as we dive headlong into this thing.
The live blog starts after the jump. Newest posts will be on top.
The Blackhawks go up by three at the end of the second, give up three goals in the third, and in a game where Jonathan Toews had two goals and Michael Frolik finally broke the seal and got one goal and two assists — it’s Dave Bolland who gets the game-winning goal.
Why not, right?
Somehow — despite only having 19 shots in the first two periods and a terrible power play, even when they’re failing at the lives in the third period as they have done all season — this team is finding ways to win.
Also, I’d like to point out Michael Frolik’s play, because I fear it will get missed in all the “Toews for MVP” talk. (Though Toews definitely deserves all that buzz, no doubt.) His speed most definitely made Toews’ second goal happen, and his backchecking abilities are definitely an upgrade. His second assist on Hossa’s empty netter was absolutely selfless, passing the puck to him when he could have gone for the goal himself.
Also, welcome to the team, Chris Campoli. You didn’t screw up. In fact, you played rather nicely. I think you can stay.
And can we mention how Ryan Johnson won 11 out of 12 faceoffs tonight? That’s an absolutely beastly number. You can join our Ryan Johnson bandwagon any day now, folks.
I’m just going to enjoy this six-game winning streak and get ready for the next game, like the Blackhawks should be.
1st Period 06:46: CHI Jonathan Toews (24) Wrist Shot – Assists: P. Sharp (26) & P. Kane (35) 10:36: CGY Power Play Goal – Alex Tanguay (18) Slap Shot – Assists: J. Iginla (35) & M. Giordano (25) 18:25: CHI Michael Frolik (9) Wrist Shot – Assists: J. Dowell (13)
2nd Period 15:11: CHI Power Play Goal – Brian Campbell (4) Slap Shot – Assists: D. Bolland (20) & D. Keith (30) 16:33: CHI Jonathan Toews (25) Wrist Shot – Assists: M. Frolik (22) & B. Campbell (19)
3rd Period 01:24: CGY Rene Bourque (20) Wrist Shot – Assists: M. Stajan (23) & A. Babchuk (21) 08:44: CGY Jarome Iginla (28) Slap Shot – Assists: A. Tanguay (35) & S. Staios (4) 10:49: CHI Dave Bolland (14) Snap Shot – Assists: B. Bickell (18) & M. Hossa (22) 16:04: CGY Rene Bourque (21) Slap Shot – Assists: J. Iginla (36) & J. Bouwmeester (14) 19:21: CHI Empty Net Goal – Marian Hossa (17) Wrist Shot – Assists: M. Frolik (23) & B. Seabrook (31)
Captain Force of Nature watch: Two goals, including this tic-tac-toe play. He’s now up to 25 points in 15 games. No wonder the “MVP” chants just about drowned out his post-game interview after he won first star of the game.
So here we are in March, which has been the Blackhawks’ worst month in the last few years. Hopefully for the Blackhawks’ playoff chances, this will be the year that changes that. Unfortunately for them, they meet the (excuse the pun) red-hot Flames, probably the only other team in the conference that has (oh God, another pun) caught fire the way the Blackhawks have in the second half of the season.
Do I even need to tell you what’s at stake, at this point? The Western Conference is so tight that the Blackhawks slid from 5th to 7th place without even playing last night. If they win in regulation, they move to 5th place again, at least. If they lose, they could fall as far as 10th.
I don’t even know what to think about this anymore. This is absurd.Ã‚Â I’m just going to mix a strong drink and hope for the best.
(As an aside — Chris Campoli will be joining the Blackhawks tonight.)
Chicago won against Minnesota 4-2 on Monday
Calgary won against St. Louis 6-0 on Tuesday
CHI: Defenseman Jordan Hendry will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Forward Fernando Pisani (concussion) is listed at questionable. (nhl.com)
NSH: Forwards Daymond Langkow (neck) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) and defenseman Adam Pardy (shoulder) are on injured reserve. (nhl.com)
Jonathan Toews, CHI: Ã¢â‚¬Å“All four lines are bringing something when theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re out there. No one is really playing huge minutes up front, and that makes it a lot easier for some of our offensive guys to go out there and really use their speed and keep their energy, especially late in games. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got all four lines rolling like that, it helps a lot. It keeps your legs fresh.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â (Chicago Sun-Times)
Brent Sutter, CGY: Ã¢â‚¬Å“That becomes the biggest game of the year for us to date. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll prepare for it.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Calgary Herald)
I know that I’m supposed to be professional in these posts. I know I’m supposed to be calm and break down the game as rationally as possible, no matter my emotional state.
But really, all I feel is this:
Remember the game against the Canucks on Friday? Take out anything said about effort and blown calls, and you have tonight’s game. It was Friday’s game on Xanax, and I’m not the only one angry about it. Here’s a quote from Duncan Keith, via Jesse Rodgers from ESPN Chicago:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“F— the power play. Nobody goes to the net to score goals. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t win.”
So what the f— happened tonight? Well, let’s see:
I’ll have to disagree with Duncan Keith slightly. The power play was 0-4 tonight, and any of those four chances would’ve helped immensely. Calgary was 1-4 — but the power play goal they scored was an empty-netter.
However, Duncan Keith is right about the team not going to the net. There were three shots on goal in the first period. The Blackhawks would end up being outshot 28-23.
Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa — two of the team’s leading scorers, mind youÃ‚Â – combined for three shots on goal. Three. THREE! Are you kidding me right now? Tomas Kopecky had three shots on goal! Look at your lives right now!
Jonathan Toews was a woeful 6-16 (38%) on faceoffs tonight. Bolland was 6-12 (50%), Jake Dowell was 3-10 (30%), while Sharp was 7-11 (64%). When Sharp is your best faceoff guy during a game, that usually means big trouble.
Bad line changes. The two goals given up were the result of bad line changes leading to Calgary rushes, hanging Crawford out to dry.
The defense was doing so well throughout the game. Seabrook, in particular, was having a good night — he had a couple of huge open-ice hits, a couple of shots on goal, a few key blocks –Ã‚Â even drew a penalty at one point… and then he decided that the best thing to do with a couple of minutes left in the game with Calgary up 2-1 was to yell at the refs about a non-call a few moments earlier. Yeah. That’s some great discipline there, Seabs. He gets smacked with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the game ends with an empty-net goal from Rene Bourque. (He still ended upÃ‚Â as theÃ‚Â third star of the game. I’m not sure if that was a joke by the Calgary media or not.)
Are there any positives to take from this game? Hjalmarsson was a shot-blocking machine, making four blocks that would have most definitely ended in goals if he weren’t there to stop them. He and Campbell have been the most consistent D pairing this year, and it’s so nice to see them work so well together even when everyone else is failing at their lives. Boynton did not make me want to choke him tonight, either. He still had a couple of boneheaded plays, but at least those plays didn’t end in Calgary goals. He also had a couple of good blocks. Too bad that I expect this competent play to stop as soon as the rest of the team gets its act together, because I’ve seen it happen before. Prove me wrong, Boynton! Corey Crawford also looked solid in his first game in two weeks, turning away 26 shots.
Captain Force of Nature watch: Despite being so bad on the dot today, he did pretty much set up Patrick Kane’s goal all by himself. So that’s something.
Duncan Keith plus/minus rating watch: Even
Coach Q face color watch: He was stuck at Mauvelous for most of the game. Poor guy.