Hawks get huge 2-1 OT win over Jets; Hawks-Blues preview

Ah everything is right in the Blackhawks world, well almost everything. There is still a long ways to go but, this game was huge for a several reasons.

The St. Louis Blues lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, which meant the Hawks could pick up some ground and pick up ground they did. At the same time they distanced themselves from these same Winnipeg Jets, who were just three points behind the Hawks coming in. The Hawks gained a valuable point on them and have games in hand on Winnipeg that looms larger and larger as the season goes on. 

Coming into the game both teams were struggling. The Jets had lost five in a row prior to this game and the Blackhawks were coming in off of back to back shut outs so both teams needed to exercise some demons.

The game saw Corey Crawford in net for the Hawks and the Blackhawks Achilles heel to this point, goalie Michael Hutchinson was minding the Jets net.  

The game also saw the return to the ice from suspension of Daniel Carcillo in lieu of Joakim Nordstrom and Carcillo’s return was not uneventful.  In a physical, rough and tumble game Carcillo’s presence was felt immediately as the Winnepeg Jets t Chris Thornburn took exception as it was against these same Jets that Carcillo got suspended for his hit on Matthieu Perreault.

Once that score was settled sufficiently the game saw the Jets scoring first on a turnover by David Rundblad in his own end and an unfortunate puck bounce off a referee right to ,, all alone right infront of the Hawks net. Sheifele put the Jets up early 1-0 which is how the first period ended and also ended Rundblad’s ice time this night as well.

In a very tight checking game there was no room for the Hawks to move but somehow in the second period Brad Richards made a picture perfect pass through multiple Jets’ defenders to spring the always dangerous Patrick Kane. Now the Hawks have not been able to score in seven periods or really been able to solve Hutchinson, but then again Patrick Kane is other worldly with a puck on his stick so you knew he would not miss. He went forward then backhand top shelf for the peanut butter tying goal.

The third period was scoreless but the physicality and nastiness amped up as the game went along. Jacob Trouba hit Kane hard but legal and that hit was answered by Bryan Bickell with a hard but legal hit. The period ended and off to overtime the teams went each with a point in their pockets.

Corey Crawford made some stellar saves to keep the Hawks in the game to get them to overtime. 

About half way through the overtime, it was time again for the Patrick Kane show when he went up the near side and did a shake, rattle and roll that Hutchinson had to respect. He went behind the net and tried a wraparound but the rebound came right out in front to Brandon Saad who punched it so quickly past the Jets goalie for the Hawks first win over the Jets.

Patrick Kane with a goal and assist is now tied for the lead in the NHL with points. Can you say this guy has Hart? If he stays on this pace it is quit possible.

With this win coach Joel Quenneville also got his 300th game win. Congratulations coach Q here is to 300 more. Nobody loves winning more than you and Chicago too. 

This win may have been the most important win of the season so far in a very competitive division not only for the points gained, but to prove to everyone including themselves, the Blackhawks speed is deadly and physicality does not intimidate them in the least. This is an important message to send come playoff time.

Three Stars of the game:

1.    P.Kane

2.    D. Byfuglien

3.    M. Scheifele

Hawks- Blues preview

The Hawks now need to close out this extended road trip with one more tough task against what will be a very angry St. Louis Blues team at the Scottrade Center early Sunday. Hope the team has their coffee.

The Blues dropped a 7-1 game tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets and know they gave up some ground to both the Hawks and the Jets, so they will want to get those points back in a hurry. Plus there is always the usual pleasantries when these teams face each other.

The Blues point leaders are Vladimir Tarasenko who the Hawks need to stick to like glue and not give any room to as this kid is lethal. Alex Steen and Jayden Schwartz also know what to do with a puck as well

Injuries – For the Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is out with abdominal injury and is week to week. Jori Letera has a concussion and is day to day and finally Chris Porter is on the inactive list.

Look for another Central Division battle for supremacy with a pinch of disdain and sprinkled with dazzling skills. The Hawks are looking to gain more ground in their division and show teams who is the best in the Central Division.  How better to spend a Sunday morning than watching some pre-play off hockey as it is entirely possible these two will meet again in the playoffs.

 Next game Sunday, February 8, at11:30 a.m. CDT vs the St. Louis Blues watch on NBC Chicago; or listen via radio on WGN AM720.

Follow our Blackhawks team at @TCLBlackhawks; you can follow me at @sportshashhash