by Vince Maranto on 11/30/11 at 11:20 AM ET
It was the classic “how will the home team do after returning from a long road trip” game. The Hawks (14 wins) were back at the United Center for the first time in weeks. They faced the Phoenix Coyotes (12 wins) on Tuesday night. Corey Crawford was back in net (for awhile) against the 11-4-3, mike Mike Smith. There were several line changes to start, and by the 3rd period even more. The most noticeable was both Marcus Kruger and Dave Bolland on the same line. Bolland played a wing, although both of then did take face offs. The key to this game was seeing who would score first. The Hawks 9-0-1 when striking first, or the Coyotes 10-1-3. Also, Power Plays and Penalty Kills would be far and few between with the Coyotes 1st in the league with 8.4 minutes, per game, and the Blackhawks at 9.5 minutes per game, tied for 3rd.
In the 1st period, I thought that the Hawks came out from the start with really good energy. The game was very fast paced and fast moving. There were one, maybe two whistles in the first 11 minutes. Those 11 minutes of clock time barely ate up 15 minutes of real time. Bad news for anyone who arrived late and stood in line at the concession counter. Phoenix’s Langkow scored first. The Hawks were attempting a line change on a puck that barely cleared center ice. This resulted in a 3 on 2 and as a result, 1-0 ‘Yotes. Phoenix led the shots on goal 8-7.
In the second period, anyone listening to me would have heard, “Shoot the puck!” several times. The Hawks (our game plan is to keep it simple), went 8 minutes plus, without a shot on goal. Again, the old Wayne Gretzky quote comes to mind, “100% of all the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.” Also, I have been a little concerned with Crawford losing his crease from time to time in the last 4 or 5 games. Anyway. the Coyotes scored again this time on a 4 on 2. 2-0. A delay of game penalty led to the first and successful Penalty Kill, later in the period. Shots on goal again favored Phoenix 10-8.
There’s not much to say about the third period. Phoenix scored 2 more times to go up 4-0. Crawford was pulled, in more of a desperation “jump start” than a performance factor. There was then a 4 on 4, double minor period which yielded nothing for either side. On their only Power Play, the Hawks did score when Patrick Sharp lit the lamp late, to prevent the shut out. Final 4-1, Phoenix.
Islanders at the U.C. on Friday and then off to St. Louis on Saturday against the Blues.
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