Hawks cook Sharks in 4-1 win
Photo by Maggie Avila
There is nothing quite as good as a Friday night fish fry. There is a plethora of ways of cooking fish. You can bake, stir fry, poach, grill, steam and blacken fish into a delicious feast in which one can devour until fully satiated. The Blackhawks did just that Friday when they completely dominated the Sharks.
This game was not even as close as the score would indicate. The Blackhawks came out on fire with purpose and on a mission. If any game exemplified their mantra of one goal so far it has been this one.
The Hawks continued their undefeated in regulation streak which is now at 14 games. Two more games as they will tie a league record.
The Hawks came out with more speed, more jump and more passion that the Sharks and they never could keep up with the Blackhawks. The Hawks kept the pace up the entire game.
Leading the way in passion and firing his team up was an uncharacteristic fight initiated by Captain Jonathan Toews. He may just have forfeited his Lady Byng chances which he probably is happy to do for a win.
Toews told the media in a post game presser that, well basically he had his Network moment where he was “mad as hell and I’m not taking it anymore”. Whether this is a hold over from last years confrontation with Joe Thornton in San Jose or something was said or done in this game we’re unclear on.
What was clear, it inspired the rest of his team and defined the course of this game. The Hawks had to kill four minutes of penalties off. Not a problem for the Hawks they have the second best penalty kill (92.2%) in the NHL. It also helped that Patrick Marleau committed an infraction during the same time which negated approx 76 seconds off the Sharks' power play. While the Hawks did not score on the power play it did give them momentum going forward.
Dave Bolland came flying in the Sharks' zone and did a nifty curl and drag move which was stopped by goalie Antti Niemi but Bolland scored on a second chance rebound that Niemi gave up. The score was 1-0 Hawks which ended an eventful first period.
The second period opened oddly with Niemi miscalculating a bouncing puck shot in by Marcus Kruger. The puck was bouncing and Niemi did not time the bounce right so the puck hit his goal post and sat there for the first of the Swedish invasion goals as Marcus Kruger buried it into a semi open net 2-0 Hawks.
San Jose exacted a little revenge as Tim Kennedy backhanded one with a forehand backhand move that deked Emery out of position to draw San Jose closer to 2-1 Hawks.
On this night however the Blackhawks focus was singular and they kept up their pace and their commitment to score and keeping the pressure on San Jose.
On the power play after D to D passing from Seabrook to Keith, Keith let one fly and Andrew Shaw scored on a goal mouth scramble when he kept poking at the puck in the goal crease until it went past Niemi 3-1 Hawks.
The third period was thoroughly dominated by the Hawks. Having an assist in the game already, Niklas Hjalmarsson decided to let one fly from the point when he got a beautiful Kane like pass from Marcus Kruger. It was a no look back pass which he ripped so fast past the Sharks' goalie you might have missed it, It hit the back bar in the goal and bounced out quickly for a 4-1 lead and Hawks victory.
The Blackhawks so far have a recipe that is working almost to perfection for them. Everything that was going wrong with this team last year is now going right.
Even if one is not a fan of fighting in hockey you had to love that of all people, Jonathan Toews took this team and his passion and fueled the fire of the Hawks. When a skilled player like Toews also has the grit to muster up against a much larger player it doesn’t matter if he won or lost that fight, he and his team won the battle.
Toews also sent a message not only to the Sharks but to every other team in the league. While the Hawks are a skilled finesse team that make pretty plays on a regular basis, don’t think they are soft and can be pushed around easily. As the Sharks found out on Friday,there are predators on this team as well. These Hawks are fierce with a bite all their own.
Final score: Blackhawks 4, Sharks 1
CHI goals: Bolland from Kane and Keith; Kruger from Mayers and Hjalmarsson; Shaw from Keith and Seabrook and Hjalmarsson from Kruger and Mayers
SJS goal: Kennedy from Couture and Stuart
1) M. Kruger
2) J . Toews
3) R. Emery
Winning Goalie: Ray Emery - 1GA Sv% .964
Losing Goalie: Antti Niemi – 4GA Sv%.892
Next game: Sun 2/17 vs LA Kings, 2:30pm CST
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