We’ve been saying since the start of the season that if the Hawks were able to hold the opposition scoreless on the power play, they’d probably be looking at an easy victory. With the Kings coming off a night in St. Louis and (likely) victims of the Chicago flu, the Hawks coasted to a relatively stress-free 3-0 win by killing both of their penalties and capitalizing on the first power play of their own.
This was a rather uneventful affair so let’s get to the bullets.
–The Kings…this is how quickly things can change in the NHL. A year ago, they were still to be feared. This year, I’m not sure if Darryl Sutter makes it out of February unless things dramatically change when Marian Gaborik returns. The Kings were really only able to generate offense if the Hawks made an unforced error. Then they were able to sustain pressure.
But creating off the rush or making plays in the neutral zone? Yeah, no.
Tonight, the Kings were either too slow or too busy taking penalties to be bothered. It’s one thing to be a slower team and still disciplined. It’s another to be slow AND take bad penalties. That’s who the Kings were tonight and that’s why the Hawks got their two easiest points of the season.
–Bestill my heart…the Hawks actually rotated their points on the power play to ensure everyone was in position to rip off a one-timer. Schmaltz, Campbell and Toews all rotated across the point with Campbell staying at the top, Schmaltz to his left and Toews to his right. Sure enough, the puck ended up on Toews’ forehand and he was able to get the puck off cleanly and quickly.
Peter Budaj was screened and the puck whizzed past his shoulder for Toews’ first goal of the season.
–Per Scott Powers’ Twitter account – Corey Crawford has made 159 saves on 163 shots for a .975% save percentage in 5-on-5 play. That’s pretty good on any planet.
–So after starting 0-2, the Hawks have got points in all but one of their next 7 games. Save for their 1st period and penalty kill woes, things are about as good as you can expect. The most important thing is they’re not getting pasted in possession and surrounding high percentage chances (like last year). I’m not sure we’ll ever get back to the days of the Hawks giving up less than 25 shots per game but as long as they’re hovering around the 28-32 mark, you can live with that.
So far, so good.
Andrew Desjardins and Gustav Forsling are also close to returning so that will help with the depth on both ends. This week will be a good test for the Hawks improved team speed as well. Colorado, Cal and Gary and a home and home with Dallas await. Should be fun.