While things didn’t get off to the most ideal start in Big D, the Hawks would come roaring back in a fashion very similar to that of last Saturday afternoon in The Peg, however even more opportunistic.
After a Ginger Ninja goal just after the second Hawks’ penalty of the first 10 minutes of the game expired, the top line of Toews, Hossa, and Sharp responded quickly with some work down low after a faceoff win that just couldn’t be dealt with.
The Stars would regain the lead mid way through the second on a beautiful setup from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. More on them in a little bit. But it would once again be short lived, as Toews would lance home a loose puck underneath Kari Lehtonen’s pads three and a half minutes later. After killing off their fifth penalty of the night, the Hawks would finally get a chance of their own on a Trevor Daley holding call, and Sharp, Shawk, and Kane would connect on a relay across the width of the ice that Kane would hammer home on a one timer, giving the Hawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
In the final frame, the Stars would surge, helped with a few urpy and wandery moments from Corey Crawford, but Marian Hossa would provide the Death Blow (for different reasons altogether) as a prelude to Hammer’s 190 foot empty netter. Hawks 5, Stars 2, bullets purchased from a 7-Eleven because it’s Texas.
- Have a night, 10. While Sam has been predicting a Sharp scoring binge coming soon, I don’t think this is what was expected, though 6 points in two games will certainly do. Sharp is currently only shooting 6.2%. When that corrects itself (and it will, playing with Toews and Hossa), arguably the best line in hockey will become even more stupid.
- While Kane had two well-earned points tonight himself, he’d do well to heed Sharp’s example on the Hossa goal, where he didn’t leave the zone late, and engaged the Stars defenseman to chip the puck out where Hossa was steaming ahead. Kane’s back checking has come a long ways in now his sixth season, but flying the zone early, particularly with Pirri still finding himself in that department will lead to trouble against teams with more than one line.
- Speaking of which, Seguin and Benn are not going to be fun to deal with for about the next decade. And with Lindy Ruff’s fun and gun style imported from Buffalo, they’re going to have every opportunity to devour some of the also-rans in the conference and at least keep this team entertaining and spiky to play against.
- Ruff also did a good job of coaching his face-less (mostly because Stephane Robidas face has been battered into hash browns over the years) defensive corps to stand up the Hawks at the attacking blue line, which shorted out much of the Hawks’ attack in the first two frames. But by halfway through the second, the Hawks were utilizing a soft chip at the line to keep them honest.
- Brandon Bollig on the PK? It didn’t go balls up, so consider that a victory. With every game that passes, Bollig is showing fewer and fewer turd like tendencies and is at least showing he wants to play actual hockey, which is admirable. Still doesn’t mean he should be skating in favor of Jeremy Morin, however.
- Aside from his couple walkabouts in the third, it was another strong effort from Corey Crawford, with no save more impressive than robbing Tyler Seguin glove side, and bailing out a swimming Johnny Oduya.
- The ice times tonight were far more in line with what we’ve been calling for, with Niklas Hjalmarsson drawing a team-high 24:49, likely due to the 5 penalties in the early going. Though everyone can openly question the point of having Brookbank at forward and only giving him 5:50, all at even strength. Looks like Hammer could have used a break on D, so he could have been put to use. But overall this was smart allotment by Q with The Oil coming in tomorrow and the way they’ve kept pace with the Hawks in recent years, even though they’re coming off a loss in Philly, which is impressive.
Player of The Game
This was a pretty easy choice to make, even if the Sharp family basset hound is less than thrilled about it.