It took about 30 minutes, but the Hawks came roaring back against a team that hadn’t won a game since December 23 to win their third game after trailing through two periods. Never mind that the Senators are a divot full of wastewater runoff. Two points is two points. Let’s.
– Someone ought to give Mats Hallin a number just so we can retire it. He’s struck gold once again with Dominik Kubalik, who continues to complement his booming shot with speed and the exact kind of toughness along the boards and in front of the net that make things move in the nethers. He’s now on a six-game points streak and a five-game goals streak. He has 10 points over those six games and a cumulative 61+ CF% over those six. Tonight, he was second among all Hawks forwards in CF% (76+), led everyone in the universe with a literally unbelievable 96.87 xGF%, and had nine shots on goal.
He’s been dominant recently when given the chance.
– Which is why someone needs to tell Jeremy Colliton that absolutely no one tunes in to watch him put on Kissinger’s toilet glasses and flex his Throbbing Genious Brain. Look at the game flow chart here:
This is where Colliton stopped playing with his pud and put Kane with Kubalik and Toews. Who would have thought that loading up your top line against one of the NHL’s urinals would lead to complete dominance going forward? This “spreading out the scoring” horseshit only works when you have forward depth, and the Hawks absolutely do not have that. If the Hawks want to continue this playoff-team farce—and whatever, I’m here to watch them win—Colliton must stop trying to show everyone how fucking smart he thinks he is.
– Drake Caggiula had himself a great game. He led all skaters in 5v5 possession with an 88+ CF%. He also had a hilarious 94+ xGF%. He’s another fine bottom six guy who can contribute when not asked to play so far out of his element. He exceled when Coach Gemstone finally slotted him off the top line. It’s doubly encouraging that he did so well in just his third game back from the land of wind and ghosts. Yeah, it’s Ottawa, but whatever. Gotta start somewhere.
– Friendly reminder that the Blackhawks could have traded Erik Gustafsson at any point during the season before the deadline last year. Or during the off-season. Instead, we get to watch him get turned inside out in the slot by Chris Tierney for absolutely no good reason on the Sens’s second goal. You may have been willing to forgive such atrocious coverage when he was putting up 60 points, but he’s not going to do that ever again. There aren’t any other options because Stan Bowman is a moron, but it’s nonetheless agonizing.
– Jonathan Toews put up another good game tonight. It’s amazing what he can do when he’s not forced to drag AHLers and glorified fourth liners around. His 71+ CF% and 96+ xGF% tonight were a feast for the nerds. And he was easy on the eyes, contributing to every single goal the Hawks scored.
On the first, he won the puck behind the net and flung a crisp pass to the slot. Kubalik missed on it, but it found a waiting Kane, who ricocheted a shot off Kubalik’s shin pads.
On the second, Toews dropped a two-line stretch pass onto Kubalik’s stick, who exploded through the neutral zone for his second goal. No muss, no fuss.
And of course, Toews pantsed Hogberg in OT. An all-around outstanding performance from the captain.
It was more of a struggle than it needed to be, but when Colliton got out of his own way, the Hawks pulled it out. We can only watch and wonder whether he will keep his most dominant line together tomorrow night in Montreal, and if they want to keep flirting with the idea of going to the playoffs, there’s no excuse not to.
Beer du Jour: Kalamazoo Stout
Line of the Night: “I heard there might be some beer on that train.” –Steve Konroyd describing the train ride the Hawks are taking to Montreal