With both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane missing a concurrent, protracted amount of time for the first time in their careers, the Hawks could probably be forgiven for looking a bit adrift during this final kick, which they are apparently conceding to a certain degree anyway. But other than a few brief stretches over the past two nights, that hasn’t been the case, and they’ve been learning to adapt while earning 4 points in the process.
In a game that the Jackets needed to have more than the Hawks did, they came out looking to pummel the Hawks into submission, and got an early goal when Derek MacKenzie did what you’re supposed to do with about the juiciest rebound anyone’s ever seen courtesy of Antti Raanta. But the Hawks would continue to absorb the hits and adhere to their ever tightening structure, and were able to draw even when Jeremy Morin wonderfully utilized a triple screen on a long distance shot after, imagine that, a clean zone entry with speed and control.
The second frame would see the Jackets regain the lead early on a goal from Ryan Johansen that was inexcusable for Raanta to not have, only to have the Hawks take control of things, putting 17 shots on Bobrovsky and converting on two of them, one from Sharp and one from Hossa. A bank shot power play goal from Artem Anisimov would keep things knotted after 40, where they would stay for another 19 minutes and 56 seconds. With a late draw in the Jackets’ zone and the game seemingly destined for OT, the Hawks were able to gain control and get a shot on net with plenty of traffic where Ben Smith would skewer home the decider underneath Bobrovsky. Hawks 4, Jackets 3. Bullet time.
- While it might have been against two decidedly mediocre opponents, those opponents also have playoff aspirations, and the line of Stepchild Line of Morin, Regin, and Bickell has had their way with both, and provided go-ahead goals in the third each of the last two nights. Peter Regin in particular is looking to be quite a useful pickup, particularly when properly slotted as a bottom six center. Naturally all three will be scratched Sunday due to a lack of “more”.
- Speaking of “more”, the Bickell/Boll fight reeked of Bickell having internalized some of the garbage spewed in the wake of the Orpik hit, and acting upon in with Boll, who promptly forcibly fed Bickell his fist. Bickell was lucky that he didn’t receive and instigator for getting at Boll, and luckier still that the Hawks were able to convert on the penalty that Boll had taken initially (which was iffy at best).
- With Daydream Nation on the mend, if the Hawks were to have any bit of success it was going to be on the backs of Sharp and Hossa from the forwards, and to this point the appear to be up for the responsibility. While yesterday saw them cheating out of the zone more than they probably should, they were a bit more reined in tonight with a couple of exceptions.
- Ryans Murphy and Johanson are going to be a thing for a long time in Columbus, hopefully Jarmo can keep them there and keep them competitive for the sake of the market.
- If this is the last even remotely meaningful game action Antti Raanta sees this season, that’d probably be for the best.
- No one is more anxious to have Johnny Oduya come back than Niklas Hjalmarsson.