by Vince Maranto on 03/10/12 at 06:15 PM ET
Sure, they only played 2 games this season, but still it’s a sweep. The Hawks took the second of the two meetings, this time at the United Center and beat New York, 4 - 3. It was Emery again, (14-9-2) against Vezina hopeful Lundqvist (31-13-5). This marks the 7th straight season of 30 or more wins for the King. His 8 shoutouts leads the league. He also has a .937 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average. Quite the year.
The Lines for Chicago reamined close to the same, with Coach Q loading up Sharp, Kane & Hossa on the first line several times through out the game. Hjalmarsson returned (hopefully to stay this time) to the line up. It was Keith / Seabrook. Oduya / Leddy, and Hjalmarsson / Olsen, for the “D” pairings.
The 1st period began like the last time the Hawks played the Rangers (4 goals in the first 10 minutes) but with out the scoring. 15 seconds in Hossa had a breakaway and was stopped by Lundqvist. Unfortunately, the Hawks reverted to their “pass up an open shot to try & squeeze in the ‘perfect pass’” mode. They managed only 4 shots on goal in the first 15 minutes. The NHL leading Rangers in the hits department (over 700 more than the Hawks this season), played their usual physical game. A successful Hawks Penalty Kill (78%, tied for 26th) ensued Then, you guessed it, the thing that has been a HUGE problem with this team, the Rangers scored with 46 seconds left to go. New York was 30-2-3 when having the lead after 1 period.
Early in the second period, a shot high off the glass came back over the net and Lunqvist turned around and trapped it against his chest. I can’t ever remember a save quite like that one before. Bollig & Rupp dropped the gloves in a match that yielded lots of punches. A very aggressive Penalty Kill (the kind I like to see) was then turned in by the Hawks. Shaw redirected an Oduya blast to tie the game at 1 - 1. It was Johnny’s first point as a Hawk. A Power Play (15.9%, 25th) led to only 1 scoring chance, and that’s being generous. The Rangers overall, had a lot of off sides and icings in the game up to this point. It was 16 shots on goal, cumulative for both teams through two periods.
The third period began with neither team really taking control. Then, the Hawks had some really good chances, with Shaw just sending one over the cross bar, in close. Off a rebound, later, Prust put the Rangers ahead 2 - 1 With 7 minutes left, it went Kane to Hossa to Sharp, bang bang bang. to tie it at 2-2. It was the kind of play that you would expect to see with that type of line. 62 seconds later Oduya got his first goal as a Hawk on a slap shot that made have gone off a defenseman’s stick. Either way it was 3-2. The Hawks showed great pressure (again, what I LIKE to see with a lead). A Kane empty net goal put the Hawks up 4 - 2. But then again, like a few games ago, the empty netter was not the last goal scored in the games. The Hawks let in a goal with 46 seconds left (6 attackers) to make it close. They held on, and that was it. 4 - 3 final.
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