With the Lightning coming off a hard fought overtime win against Winnipeg the night before, they came into the United Center looking to jump out early and hang on. Corey Crawford stood tall in the early going and it turned out to be all the Hawks really needed from him.
There was a Tyler Johnson post in the third but other than that, there weren’t a whole lot of opportunities to be had.
Meanwhile, the Hawks threw everything at old Kristers and he was more than ready to meet the task. Which shouldn’t be surprising seeing as though he stood toe to toe with a Canadian all star team in Sochi.
Jonathan Toews then decided enough with the silliness and went 1-on-3 to finish it off.
–The Hawks second line is a thing. The first is still getting its sea legs and as has been discussed here, the third line is where things need to get figured out.
Teuvo hasn’t really had much continuity with his linemates to start this season off. He’s gone from the Lottery line and now seems to be locked into this bum-slaying role on the third line. From the old eye test, it sure seems like Teuvo isn’t playing with a whole lot of confidence right now. Often times, he’s not nearly assertive with the puck as he should be, looking to immediately dish the puck in the neutral zone to someone else.
Teuvo needs to recognize he’s the best player on the ice, in terms of his linemates and who he’s being matched up against, and act accordingly. Once he does, things will hopefully start to take off for him.
Of course, it would also help if he could have someone on his line that doesn’t look to immediately chip the puck off the boards as soon as it gets on their stick. LOCAL BOY Vinnie Hinostroza, who’s pretty much a less skilled Andrew Shaw, and Ryan Garbutt don’t exactly look for opportunities to make plays with the puck as they gain entry into the offensive zone. That’s why it’s critical for Teuvo to make things happen for them.
–Looks like Ryan Garbutt read today’s Indian, had his meeting with the two Bobs and figured out what he did here. Garbutt had his most active game as a member of the Hawks, putting six shots on net and was the best Hawk in the first period.
Not to be out done though, he proved my point above on why Teuvo should never pass the puck in the neutral zone. In the third period, Garbutt led a 4-on-2 and tried to make a pass at the blue line to Teuvo. The pass was in Teuvo’s feet and took everyone offsides in the process.
It was not an inspirational moment.
–I have to admit, I can’t get enough of the Brandon Saad revisionist history taking place so far. If you listen to the broadcast or keep up with stories being written about the Hawks top line or read between the lines of the head coach’s comments, you would have thought Saad never left Toews and Hossa’s side during his tenure here.
Nevermind that Saad got bounced around through the lineup like anyone else and didn’t even play on the top line to open the playoffs last year. It’s much more convenient to look for the guy who’s not here anymore as the reason why Toews and Hossa haven’t gotten their groove back. (Maybe find a LaStella to play with them. HEY, HEY)
Tikhonov has played well in the moments he gets to skate with them. Hossa has openly professed his love for him. Maybe just let this thing play out and see what happens.
The good news is that Tikhonov doesn’t get in the way of those two and simply looks to open space for them. Pretty much the ideal linemate for them, no?
–In two games without Duncan Keith, the Hawks defense has looked adept and solid. While a lot of the credit belongs to the forwards for committing to the defensive end and not looking to fly the zone immediately upon gaining possession, all six defensemen have also played strong thus far including the Trevors.
Viktor Svedberg still can’t make a vertical pass to save his career but he takes up so much space that you can see why the organization wants to give him an extended look. Maybe the league will start to make him look goofier than he already is once the book gets out on him, but so far, he’s done a good job of not letting guys behind him and denying opportunities on his side, be it with his nine foot tree trunk stick or size 42 skate.
–That pass Seabrook made to Kane to spring him on a breakaway. Mercy.
–The Hawks fourth line was the only one under water tonight but when you’re matching up against a team as deep as the Lightning, they’re going to beat you somewhere in the lineup.
–2 games without Keith, 4 points. Hard to believe but the Hawks face their first Western Conference opponent on Monday night in the free-falling Ducks. Maybe Bruce Boudreau will be there, maybe not.