Sometime last week I tweeted out that if Corey Crawford kept all the points he’d stolen for the Hawks this season for himself he alone would still be ahead of the Jets and Avs and Preds in the standings. You can throw one and possibly both tonight on that stack, at least for the 2nd period and parts of the 3rd.
There isn’t much else we can say about Crow now. It just looks so easy to him. Even lately when he’s lost his net at times, he doesn’t panic and just slides back into position and remains aggressive. His four-save sequence in the 2nd was a perfect example, where he stopped three shots on the doorstep, was out by the circle by the end of it, and was able to get back in place to come out and challenge a blast from between the circles which caused him to fall down in pretty funny 80’s style. With Crow playing like this his teammates don’t have to do all that much to rack up the wins. The Hawks haven’t needed him to bail them out too much during this streak, arguably only in Pittsburgh and at various points but not a whole game. Tonight they obviously did.
As for the rest, the top line continues its resurgence that’s heavily drawn from a very competent and flashy streak of hockey from Andrew Shaw who seems to have turned off the “Shop Demo” mode on his game and has kept it more straight line. When he’s simply helping to do the dirty work on the wall and in the corners and then clean with his passing, this is what you get.
Let’s get to it.
The Two Obs
-I had mentioned in the preview that the Habs love to chip or float the puck out of their zone behind everyone and let their streaking forwards try and catch up to them. This is what they were doing a lot in the 1st, along with hard ring arounds as well. But the Hawks were obviously on to this, because their defense sagged back and cut everything off. This left a huge gap between the Habs’ D and their forwards on breakouts, which helped lead to the Hawks having the better of the play.
They changed this in the last two periods, trying to break out as more of a unit and thus turned the flow of the game.
-On the other side of the Therrien coin, after absolutely dominating the 2nd period and only having Crawford stand in their way, he then blew up every line but his top one for the 3rd period, letting the Hawks back into it. So… still an idiot.
-Shaw made a great play to set up Toews, spinning off a Plekanec check to get to the middle. But PK Subban and Andrei Markov won’t very much like the video on it. Subban was below his own goal line even after Shaw fought through Plekanec, and Markov got stick-wavy to let the pass to Toews through. Subban’s wonderful but the work in his own end still has a little ways to go.
– I know the 4th line has scored in two of the past three games, and Q loves the added mobility without Bickell, but let’s not go nuts here. They got the goal because Garbutt produced a shot he’ll never be able to replicate, and the rest of the night they were middling. I know the goal of any 4th line is to be middling or above, but this isn’t Draper-Maltby Redux just quite yet. Let’s remember Panik couldn’t even crack the Leafs lineup this year.
-The Hawks gave up one goal on a night where they had to play Scuderi and Rozsival together. This is probably more impressive than Crow’s night, though obviously the two are connected.
-Nothing I saw tonight convinces me there’s something rotting with the Canadiens. Their bottom six could use an addition or two, and their top six simply isn’t scoring (good thing they gave up on Semin after five minutes then). But this is what they’ve been watching more often than not, just rotten luck. Will they be equipped to beat the Caps in the playoffs with Price? No, almost certainly not with out some additions. But they’re still able to play faster than most teams. Just not the Hawks.
They’ll do it again Sunday. The Hawks go for 10 tomorrow in Toronto where the Reimer-Darling matchup is a tad one-sided. Onwards…