by Vince Maranto on 01/21/12 at 02:55 PM ET
Before any one in Canada or even northern U.S. states calls us wussies, let me explain. If you have ever tried to negotiate Chicago traffic on a Friday evening rush, you know what happens when 6-9 inches of snow is thrown in right at the same time. Needless to say, no one was going any where for a while so the game was pushed back 30 minutes. Still over 21,000 attended—no wussies there.
As for the game, the Panthers (with ex GM, Dale Tallon) brought 5 ex Hawks with them. Versteeg (I always hated seeing him go), Campbell, Kopecky, Madden, and Skille. It was Ray Emery (the BEST off season move by Bowman, in my opinion) 10-3-2 against Jose Theodore (14-8-5). All of the Hawks lines and defensive match ups remained the same for this game as they did for the last game. A very rare occurrence to Coach Q and the boys, to be sure. The Hawks were victorious, 3-1. Their ability to be the only team in the NHL without shutting out the other team also remained.
In the 1st period, a Penalty Kill (26th @ 79%) was negated a little more than a minute in. A high stick by the Panthers led to the old, PK, 4 on 4, Power Play, with the game remaining scoreless. A few minutes later, an actual full time Power Play (tied for 9th @ 18.8%) also yielded zip. Then with less than 3 minutes left, the Hawks came alive and score twice. The first was a goal by Toews off of a great pass from Kane. Toews went forehand, backhand to put the boys up 1-0. A boarding penalty put the Hawks on the Power Play again. Duncan Keith found the back of the net with a slap shot from the point, 2-0 Hawks. They weren’t many shots on goal that period. Chicago won that battle 8-5.
In the 2nd period, they was a Penalty Kill & a Power Play. That was about it for a while, unless you were a big fan of icing. There were PLENTY of those for both teams. Then Kane (could he ACTUALLY be coming back to form) took the puck from his own zone and yes, rather than passing, shot and scored 3-0. Brunette then batted one in that was quickly called no goal on the ice, high stick. After replay, I thought it was good, but the call on the ice stood, no goal. There seems to be no real way to change these calls when they review them. Camera angles plus the shooters actual height makes it tough to no for sure. Any was each team had 10 shots on goal.
A P.K. early in the 3rd led to Florida’s goal. Garrison’s 13th (which if not leading the league, has to be up there for D-men). Although that was the end of the scoring, I liked the way that the Hawks continued to play aggressively and not go into that “prevent defense” that I hate. For some reason, Florida waited until 1:20 left to pull their goalie. Shaw just missed and open net. Game over.
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