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Run To The Hills – Hawks 3, Jackets 2

With everyone and their brother braying about the Hawks’ best start since the Nixon administration, Columbus being the perpetual punching bag they’ve been, and Scum waiting here in town for their first visit to the U.C. this year, pretty much everything about tonight absolutley screamed “trap game”. And it pretty much played out that way until the final horn sounded.

The Hawks started out tonight as sloppy as they’ve been all year, and the retooled Jackets took as much advantage as they’re capable of, carrying the play in the early going, outshooting the Hawks 8-1. They would also dent the twine first, as Mark Letestu would bang home the opener on the third whack allowed in front of a scrambling Crawford fresh after a Sheldon Brookbank minor. That seemed to provide the appropriate slap to the back of the head for the Hawks to get their shit together, as the period would end with the Jackets only holding a 9-8 shot advantage with the score knotted at one after Dave Bolland followed up yet another Kane stuff attempt breaking in on the left wing mostly alone.

Bryan Bickell would give the Hawks the lead his forecheck led to a Niklas Hjalmarsson point shot that Bickell would deflect up and over Steve Mason. Three minutes later an ill-advised fight in every sense of the word between Jamal Mayers and Jared Boll would put the Jackets on the advantage, as Mayers instigated the bout coming to the unnecessary defense of Marcus Kruger. During that power play came the game’s most crucial moment- a disallowed goal due to what appeared to be phatom goaltender interference by Nick Foligno on a Derrick Brassard point blast. To the befuddlement of pretty much anyone with a set of eyes, the Hawks emerged still up 2-1 at the end of 40.

Jonathan Toews would seemingly put the game out of reach about 7 minutes into the third, deking Steve Mason into sweet oblivion after Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane conspired to strangle a Jackets breakout attempt and found Toews all alone in front of Mason with the Jackets already up ice. An Artie Anisimov rebound would bring things within striking distance for the Jackets in the waning moments, but their final flourish fell short. Hawks 3, Jackets 2, and get the fuck out of Ohio before they change the scoreboard.

Observations

  • While it’s certainly of no solace to the Jackets and all 48 of their fans, the only plausible explanation for ruling the disallowed goal from goaltender interference is that from the angle referee Dan O’Rourke had (in the corner to Crawford’s left), O’Rourke saw only Foligno come in and put himself in O’Rourke’s sight line while looking at Crawford flailing behind Foligno, and assumed he was bumped. Like I said, it’s not a good explanation, but I’m sure the Hawks aren’t going to argue with it.
  • Once again Crawford had many solid moments mixed with those that make everyone’s sphincter clench. But over the long term, allowing 2 goals a game is certainly a result the Hawks will take.
  • While yes, Marcus Kruger seems to have a sign on his helmet that says “Place Elbows Here”, the hit he took from Boll that precipitated the bout between Boll and Mayers was certainly far from vicious. Mayers doesn’t need to go to such lengths to justify his presence in the lineup, and nearly cost his team dearly in managing only to accumulate 17 PIMs while getting tossed by Boll.
  • Think keeping busy in the Swiss league has had some benefits for Kane?
  • Brent Seabrook is still a step slow.
  • While initially the game had a feeling that Keith and Seabrook were going to breathe heavily on 30 minutes of ice time for the evening, Keith ended up with 25:35, which, while not as light a workload as the first four games, is still preferable to what he’s endured the last two years.
  • It’s going to shock no one when Michal Rozsival is back in the lineup over Sheldon Brookbank tomorrow.
  • Brandon Saad got a couple looks on both special teams units tonight and didn’t look out of place. While there are some clamoring for him to score to prove his worth on the top line with The Ghost and The Darkness, those points will come if he keeps playing the way he has.
  • I had no problem with the 4 on 3 power play sticking mostly to the perimeter with a two goal lead and still penalty time to kill regardless of whether they scored or not. The movement on it was nice regardless, and Mason had to make some solid saves.
  • Though the PK was officially unblemished for the evening, there was the disallowed goal, and the first Jackets goal came shortly after a penalty had expired. Columbus moved the puck well and only didn’t score more due to having a seemingly terminal case of “Columbus Blue Jackets”. Tomorrow night Scum will make the Hawks pay dearly, even as sputtering as they’ve been to start.

Player of the Game

Two more assists for Slim Shady, and a threat every time he had the puck. It’s really amazing what getting more than 90 minutes of sleep a night can result in.

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