by Vince Maranto on 12/22/11 at 12:45 PM ET
The Hawks beat Montreal at the United Center by a score of 5-1. The final tally is much more one sided than the actual game itself. More on that in a minute. The Habs, btw, is short for Les Habitants, a French nickname that was given to the team close to 100 years ago. I mentioned that it is French, just in case their new head coach, Randy Cunneyworth is reading this. (in case you haven’t heard, hard core Canadien fans are upset because their new coach doesn’t speak French) Any way the 2 teams met for the 555th time. (if that seems like a lot, remember that Coach Q just recorded his 600th win).
Before we get into the game, as a side note, Marcus Kruger is out with a concussion.He was hit by Engelland in the previous game against the Penguins. This is the play where after the hit, John Scott jumped to his aid and dropped the gloves WITH (key word here kids) him. There was no penalty for the hit, but Scott got an instigator penalty, along with the 10 minute misconduct. Toews was quoted as saying (and I’m paraphrasing) that every one in the locker room was 100% behind what Scott did. We’ll take that kind of penalty every time. I agree. To balme Scott because he is bigger is just plain stupid.
On to last night, to replace Kruger and Carcillo (now officially on the I.R.) the Hawks have called up Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin. These are two really good young prospects who I’m sure most Hawks fans are familiar with.
Crawford got the nod, in net, giving the recently well worked Emery a break. Cro played well, as I expected, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out for the rest of the year. This is NOT a controversy, this is 2 goalies, both very capable of playing very well. For Montreal, Price (the most time played by an NHL goalie this year) was given the night off. Budaj, 4-1-3 was his replacement. Brunette was back at wing in the first line, where he started the season. He was with Kane & Toews. Pirri centered the 2nd line with Sharp & Hossa. Bickell, Bolland and Stalberg, 3rd line. Morin, Mayers, Frolik rounded out the lines.
In the 1st period, we saw how fast the Canadiens are, this is a very quick skating team.. Not a lot happened, however. One successful Penalty Kill by the Hawks and Keith rang one off the pipe, but that’s about it. 7 shots on goal per team.
In the second, the Hawks had a couple of power Plays which yielded nothing. One was a goalie inference call on Frolik who ran into Budaj way outside the crease.I know you can’t make contact with the goalie, but what are you supposed to do when you are skating by and he comes that far out? On a Penalty Kill, Cro had 2 nice saves. Kostitsyn, on a redirect, scored for Monteal to make it 1-0 Habs. However, that is all they would score. Crawford had a great paddle save, flying back across the open net, but nothing went past him. Brunette scored first for the Hawks on what was originally credited to Toews. The puck actually went off a defenders skate and not Toews stick as it looked.Tied 1-1. 20 seconds later, Sharp lit the lamp. 2-1. It always amazes me how you can go so long without anything and then get 2 so quickly.
In the 3rd peiod, the game was pretty close for a while. Stalberg scored off great hustle by Bickell. We really need to see guys like this stepping up. Hands down, they are both the 2 players I have been disappointed with the most this year. Toews had an empty netter and then seconds later (with a goalie) Bickell was rewarded with a goal. 5-1 final.
The Hawks, now 12-2-3 at home, will play the Blue Jackets the day after Christmas I will be there with my son, my annual Christmas present to myself.
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