Hawks Thoughts - From Denver to Ducks
After the completion of a home and home last week with surprising Western Conference foe, Colorado, the Blackhawks came away with 3 out of 4 possible points. Hawks are now a commendable 4-1-2 on the season, good for 5th in the West. Chicago also boasts a goal differential of +6, which is tied for 2nd in the West, as well.
Last Blackhawks' game against the Avalanche was a good representation of how Chicago's depth can benefit the team on a nightly basis. They received goals from Michael Frolik, who had been struggling to notch his first of the season (Coach Q made sure to remind him of this) and Jamal Mayers, not necessarily known for his scoring prowess. Despite losing in the shootout, Chicago got most of their offense in the latter part of the game, which is certainly a positive thing.
What wasn't positive was the lack of consistency on defense and a few d-men pairing miscues. For the most part though, Hawks defense just needed to keep it simple and do a better job of hounding the Avs offense while in their own zone. It's very difficult, not to mention unfair, to blame Crawford for a majority of the goals, if not all, scored on him in that game. He had no chance on the first redirect by Stastny, the 2nd goal was just dirty and you could argue could have been played better by Corey. But otherwise, the other goals scored were certainly a result of lackadaisical and/or poor defensive coverage, something Coach Q was none too pleased with.
Under the circumstances, the fact that the Blackhawks were down 3-1 at one point and came back to get a point out of it in the end, is positive. On the other hand, the fact that the Hawks blew a 4-3 lead with less than two minutes to play certainly stings a little. The ultimate goal should be for consistency to grow as the season moves on in just about every aspect of the Hawks' night to night game, specifically in their own zone. This will make them a very difficult team to play against.
The Ducks come into the United Center tonight with a 4-3 record and most recently losing a long battle with the Coyotes 5-4. Getzlaf finished the game with 2 goals and was a +3, while Corey Perry notched one assist, +2 and Bobby Ryan had 0 points and was a +2. Obviously, Bolland, Bickell and Frolik will have their work cut out for them against arguably the NHL's top offensive line, though they haven't dominated on the score sheet all that much early on this season. They have 11 points between the three of them and 7 goals, which accounts for almost half of Anaheim's offense.
We shall see if Hawks' defensive corps and Dave Bolland's comrades can shutdown the Ducks top line and last year's league leading goal scorer in Perry. Last year the Blackhawks split their 4 game season series with Anaheim, outscoring the Ducks 9-7 over those games.
Despite the Hawks unfortunate Power Play, the Ducks special teams are even worse. Hawks PP is clipping just under 15%, while their PK is admirable at 94%. Anaheim's PP is a lousy 10% while their PK is coming in at 89%. With regards to special teams, Chicago certainly has the edge.
Crawford gets the start once again tonight vs Ducks. Chicago has no scratches due to injury tonight.
Ducks are missing Jason Blake who will require wrist surgery.
Make no mistake, Blackhawks should come poised to jump right out of the gates tonight against Anaheim in front of the home crowd in order to snatch 2 points to tie them for the Western Conference lead with Dallas, should the Stars lose to Phoenix tonight.
Hawk, Hawk, Hawk it up!
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