by Vince Maranto on 03/17/12 at 01:00 PM ET
If the Playoffs started today…... The number 6 Hawks beat the number 3 Stars in Dallas at the American Airlines Center on Friday night, 4 - 1. Of course, with around a dozen games left, things could change. This would be the Hawks best, first round match up. (Hawks & Stars split the 4 game series this season) But, we shall see. Crawford, after the perfect outing in relief of Emery last game, got the start. (23-16-5) He was matched up against Kari Lehtonen (29-15-4). Lehtonen was coming off of consecutive shut out victories. (That would end rather quickly) Emery (under the weather??) stayed in Chicago and Carter Hutton, #38, was the back up. See my blog from 3/9 “Goalie of the Future for information on him. The lines and D pairings again were pretty much they have been in the last couple of weeks. It was, by the way, the largest crowd in the history of the arena for a Stars game, 19,099. There were as usual, many Chicago sweaters in the stands.
10 seconds into the game, Bolland ended Lehtonen’s save streak to put the Hawks up 1 - 0.The fastest goal to start a game in Hawks history, was Bruce Sutter, who scored in 8 seconds against the Canucks in 1995. The Hawks were 20-7-2 in the all important scoring first category. Then around a minute later, Sharp made it 2 - 0. Make that 2 goals in the first minute and a half.Crawford had some very good saves only facing 5 shots on goal in the period. It seemed like every shot they took was a scoring chance. Bolland just missed goal number 2 catching the inside of the crossbar, as well as Seabrook ringing the iron later. A 4 minute high stick Power Play was negated by a Keith penalty halfway through. This was due to some really poor puck handling. Neither team scored, still 2 - 0. Shots on goal, 12-5 in favor of Chicago.
Crawford had more good saves and very good rebound control in the 2nd period. There was one tense moment when Kane went down after getting hit with a shot on the inside of his leg. Again, by the half way point of the game, Dallas only had registered 9 shots on goal, total. The Stars by the end of the period, had out shot the Hawks 11-6 for the period. A lot of action and control of the puck was had by the Stars and the momentum began to swing in the last 6 or 7 minutes. The score, however, remained 2 - 0.
Any momentum that might have been building towards the end of the second, was quickly squashed early in the 3rd. Hossa scored 33 seconds in. 3 - 0 Hawks. Sharp AGAIN scored a minute later to make it 4 - 0. Crawford had more good saves but was beaten (barely, in between his body and the post) to break his bid for the shut out. Later in the game, the Stars had a neat little play after a face off in their zone. Winning the draw, a player bolted for the bench and another play came over the boards sneaking behind the defense. It didn’t work but was a good call, and something to go to school on if the two teams meet later. There was a Power Play for the Hawks with around 4 minutes left that was played in a smart way. That was it. A great 2 point road pick up.
The Hawks play Sunday at the U.C. against the Caps. Get the Madhouse Burgers ready, my son & I will be there.
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