Blackhawks stay hot to beat Flames 4-2- lose Seabrook
The Chicago Blackhawks were coming into Sunday's match coming off of a hot streak. The Hawks have been playing much better defensively and the results are showing. The Hawks have won their last four games and were looking to extend that streak to five. The Calgary Flames coming into the United Center off of three straight tough one goal losses were looking to rebound.
If the Hawks didn’t have enough incentive after being embarrassed in Calgary in their last outing, they needed to win this game to stay ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the lead in the Western Conference and the league. They also need to stay ahead of those pesky Detroit Red Wings who won on Saturday night and are just three points behind with a couple of games in hand on the Blackhawks.
In the nets for the Hawks was the red hot Ray Emery (GAA 2.55 SV% .909) and Mikka Kiprusoff (GAA 2.48 SV %.916) in the nets for the Calgary Flames.
First period started off with a big turnover in the slot in front of Emery with Lee Stempniak having Emery apparently all alone but Emery continued his hot streak and stopped the point blank shot. At 9:23 on what looked like a power play but was not, Montador blasted a slapshot from the right wing point. Assist to Mayers and Stalberg. The Hawks fourth line outworked the Flames on that shift in what had to seem like an eternity to the Flames goalie.
My heart sank as Brent Seabrook got hit from behind in the Hawks end by Rene Bourque who got a 5 minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. A fine and suspension should be forthcoming as well. It was a dangerous hit as Seabrook never saw it coming from behind. Still doesn’t make up for the loss of Seabrook and what he means to this team. Hope he is alright and has a speedy recovery. Kruger was called for interference and they went 4 on 4 and then the Hawks resumed their power play for 1 minute which saw the period coming to an end with the Hawks still leading 1-0. SOG 9-3 Hawks 10-5 FO Hawks
Second period started with Hawks have a few seconds left on PP but got another PP immediately on a lucky call but score remained 1-0 Hawks. At 5:15 into the period Hossa battled for the puck sent it back to the point to Hjalmarsson at the blue line that knuckled one past Kiprusoff. 2-0 Blackhawks. Assists went to Hossa and Kruger. On their third PP Keith hit the pipe but no goal then a few seconds later after Toews won the face-off draw, Patrick Kane on a pass from Keith at the point moved into the slot and wristed one beating Kipper stick side high 3-0 Blackhawks which is how the period ended. SOG was even at 8 aside.
With 40 minutes in the books and the Hawks looking in control heading into the third period all they had to do was play smart hockey with no turnovers in their zone or giving up any odd man rushes. The Third period saw the nastiness rise and an epidemic of penalties on both sides. Bickell and Sarich danced both got five for fighting and Bickell got an extra 2 minutes for instigation so Hawks were on the PK. Then Jokinen got a PP goal when he blasted one from the face-off circle past Emery. 3-1 Blackhawks. On a two man advantage Hossa blasted one glove side. 4-1 Hawks. Glencross scored on a power play late in the third to make the score 4-2 Hawks.
The difference in this game was the defensemen for the Blackhawks getting involved offensively and with their solid play in their own zone. Also it was another solid effort by Emery in the pipes and Keith had another well excellent game. Hjalmarsson had so many blocked shots I lost count coupled with his goal made for a big night for him.
The entire third period saw a lack of discipline when both teams committed 9 penalties. By committing so many penalties the Flames really put themselves behind the 8 ball when the Hawks had two 5 on 3’s and the Hawks made them pay both times. The power plays were the difference in this one as Hawks went 2 for 7 and the Flames 2 for 5.
The game finished with SOG 25-24 Hawks; FO 31-28 Hawks; PIM 32-29 Flames and hits 31-12 Flames.
Congratulations to Coach Q on his 600th game win in his coaching career.
Three stars of the game – 3) Toews 2) Hossa 1) Hjalmarsson
Hawks next play again Tuesday night in Pittsburg against a Crosbyless Penguins team which can be caught on Versus HD or WGN Rad 720
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