They’re not bad because they’re inconsistent, they’re inconsistent because…well, tonight I won’t bother to finish that sentence. The Hawks beat a crappy team, as they should, so let’s take what we can get, right? To the bullets…
–Early on, it felt like things were going to go off the rails again when Max Jones scored less than five minutes in. But the Hawks righted things well enough, to the point that while their play in the first can’t be described as “good,” it can be described as “not horrible.” Jonathan Toews had a great opportunity where he actually shot the puck through John Gibson‘s five hole but it bounced off the post in some weird quirk of physics. But, he made up for it minutes later with a wrist shot, again five-hole, but buried it straight up. The best part was, he was on a 2-on-1 with John Quenneville and at no time in the entire sequence did he even pretend like he was going to pass it to Quenneville. He was absolutely right in his decision-making, but the lack of even the slightest pretense was great.
–Dominik Kubalik is tied for the league lead in rookie goals. He now has scored five goals in his last four games, two of which came tonight so he was basically the difference maker and was deservedly the first star of the game. The first goal was off a beautiful backhand feed from Patrick Kane, who’s got a six-game scoring streak of his own going, and the second was a tap-in of a rebound off a long shot from Zack Smith. Kubalik has made it impossible for Colliton to reduce his ice time or maroon him in the bottom six, which you could just tell this doofus was itching to do, and that brings joy to my cold, black heart. The team really tried to get him a hat trick with an empty netter, but you know how empty net attempts go for the Hawks. No big deal anyway, Kubalik was great tonight.
–Adam Boqvist had a good night too, or at least, a much better night than his last game. In the second, Keith had his stick vaporize in his hands, giving the Ducks an easy breakaway and Boqvist hustled to strip the puck, bailing out Keith and preventing even a shot on goal. He also generated a chance in the second, which was his only shot of the night but it was the kind of play we’re all looking for–a nice wrister from the dot after a nifty move into the zone. Boqvist finished with just a 41 CF% at evens and had the least ice time of any defenseman, but he was faster and more confident than Thursday against the Predators.
–Connor Murphy, on the other hand, did not have a good night. He gave up a couple bad turnovers, including one that led directly to Jones’s goal. And yet he had a 58 CF% so it wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t passing the eye test, either.
–Robin Lehner looked excellent in his first game back after a bruised knee or bruised ego or whatever it was. He ended the night with a .946 SV% and made a number of key saves in the third to keep the Hawks in the lead (if the Ducks had tied this oh lord I don’t want to think of how that could have ended). There was a particularly crazy save on Gudbranson early in the third that you’ll see on highlight reels somewhere soon. All the way around, a quality start for Lehner.
–If Olli Maatta scores on you, you know you suck. That’s all I have to say.
They needed to win against this shitty team and they did. It doesn’t mean all their woes are solved but it’s better than losing to a shitty team, no? Onward and upward…
Line of the Night: “Getzlaf had a chance but instead of shooting, he tried to pass.” –Eddie O describing…Ryan Getzlaf’s MO
Beer du Jour: Beach Blonde lager, Crystal Lake Brewing