Sometimes it’s difficult to find beauty after 18 games of not losing in regulation. Against a Columbus team that is still struggling to figure out how to score more goals than the opposition, the Hawks scored the minimum amount required to net two points. If there was a silver lining in tonight’s playbook, it was that the Hawks got a performance from their goalie that we’ve been begging for for a couple years.
No, Corey Crawford didn’t stand on his head or make a plethora of highlight reel saves. All he did was make the saves that should be expected of him. The Blue Jackets had a couple of good chances to find twine but they didn’t and Crawford didn’t give them any breaks by giving up any soft goals. It wasn’t a goalie win. It was a team win. Take it and move on.
–For a team playing its third game in four nights, the Blue Jackets played a pretty solid game. They had a strong compete level and looked way more engaged than they have the last couple seasons. The combination of a new young wave of high draft picks combined with a new coach and the loss of Rick Nash gives the Jackets a new dynamic. If it keeps going this way, it’s only a matter of time until they start winning games like tonight.
The one guy who impresses me the most is Cam Atkinson. For whatever reason, I’ve watched more Blue Jackets hockey than ever before and each game Atkinson has impressed me more and more. That little bastard is a handful.
–Another impressive performance out of Niklas Hjalmarsson. He had as much to do with preserving the shutout as Corey Crawford did. Late in the first, Hjalmarsson saved a sure goal by sacrificing his body in front. In the second, he cleared a loose puck with Crawford swimming in his crease during a scramble in front. He has been the Hawks most consistent defensemen this year. It’s almost humorous to recall his performances from the past couple seasons at this point; like he had some alien pod infesting his body during that time because the difference in his play is that drastic.
–As a fourth line player and top penalty killer, Michael Frolik is a lot of fun to watch. When you forget about the fact that he’s the Hawks 6th highest paid forward and was originally thought to be a key contributor to their secondary scoring, it makes it a lot easier to stomach.
–Maybe it’s the lack of sleep but I think I like Dan Carcillo on that fourth line. Certainly better than him on either of the top two lines.
–Did we really need a spear to the nuts to be reminded that James Wisniewski is a dirty player? This is the same guy who sent one of his groomsmen to the 12th century with a vicious forearm to the mouth. And if you think that Andrew Shaw is going to forgive and forget, you would be sorely mistaken.
–Michael Rozsival is a prototypical 3rd pair defensemen. That doesn’t mean he should be excused for letting not one, but two guys slip behind him for breakaways. Crawford bailed him out one time and the post the second time. Both times, Rozsival was caught napping and let guys slip behind him. Yeah, one guy came off the bench on a change but Rozsival was on the other side of the red line during a penalty kill. That probably shouldn’t happen.