Blackhawks Defeat Sharks, Stay On Top Of The NHL

Despite a miserable early performance, the Blackhawks were able to dig out of a couple two-goal deficits in a wild first period.

And this time, it was the team’s youngest players leading the way.

Corey Crawford got off to a rough start, allowing two goals in the first 5:18 on Tuesday night. But a flurry of action that included four goals in 89 seconds got Crawford off the hook and saw two of the league’s better defensive teams tied at 3-3 when the first period ended.

This time, however, the kids picked up the veterans.

Brandon Saad finally got on the board after improving in every game this season. His tally opened the flood gates that resulted in the 3-3 score; Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger also scored in the first period. For Saad and Kruger, it was their first goals of the season; it was the second for Shaw.

After the first period ended, Crawford settled down nicely. He ended the night with 30 saves against 33 shots in the game, shutting down the Sharks’ offense – all 23 shots – over the final 40 minutes to collect the victory.

The tape from Tuesday night will certainly be in the file when Jonathan Toews’ credentials for the Selke are considered this year. He won nine of 10 faceoffs in the third period (17 of 26 in the game), was credited with four takeaways and two assists in the game. One of his takeaways led to Patrick Kane’s game-winning goal, scored at 11:52 in the second period.

In the middle of the second period, Andrew Desjardins hit Jamal Mayers high,  sending Mayers to the ice. Earlier in the game, Desjardins hit Duncan Keith behind the Hawks net and Keith was slow to get up. This time, Keith took exception to a high shot on a teammate.

Keith jumped in to fight Desjardins, and the result saw Keith called for 19 total penalty minutes and Desjardins sent to the showers early; the Sharks center received a match penalty in addition to the fighting major.

In spite of his 19 PIM, Keith finished the night plus-two and still skated 17:38 in the game.

Plenty of Blachawks factored into the five goals scored in San Jose. Kane scored twice (including an empty net goal late in the third), making him one of four Hawks that had two points in the game. Toews (two assists), Brent Seabrook (two assists) and Kruger (goal, assist) also had multi-point efforts.

Also credited with assists for Chicago were Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell.

Bickell stepped up his physical play late in the first period and put good pressure on the Sharks throughout the game. He was credited with three hits and two takeaways in the game.

Dave Bolland skated 18:11 in his return from a leg injury that kept him out of the lineup in Calgary. He won seven of 16 faceoffs and was credited with one hit in the game.

As we mentioned before the game, special teams were a crucial part of the game as well. The Blackhawks killed all four of the Sharks’ power play opportunities in the game, but Chicago also failed to convert any of their three advantages.

The Blackhawks are now 8-0-2 to begin the season.

Saad first goal

27 thoughts on “Blackhawks Defeat Sharks, Stay On Top Of The NHL

  1. It was nice to see CC settle down after that bad third goal…he did what it took to win…Tazer was a monster all night with fresher legs…just a huge effort!

    Congrats to Bowman, because Saad, Kruger, and Shaw all had good game once again, and all had goals to show for it…I don’t know how you send Saad back down to make room for Carcillo…he has such elite speed and quickness to his game.

    Finally, Seabrook and Keith were a lot better after their debacle in Calgary, and I really respected what Keith did in response to the hit on Mayers…the Hawks are doing all the little things that suggest a winner.

  2. Brad, I agree on Keith… he did man up for a old man Mayers. CC has to be better.

    Saad played another good game… more importantly, I thought he finally showed some poise and chemistry on that line ( and I am not talking about the goal)… He has always been great battling for the puck. But he finally had some good passes w/ 19-81. ost of his success so far has been of the 1-1 kind.

    Glad to see Saad on the PK- if he keeps getting PK time- he WILL score some SH goals- his stick and acceleration are elite!

  3. Great W yesterday….but the bad news is once again this experiment with Bolland as the number two center is a failure. This continues to be a main priority Bowman has been unable to address and is currently being shaded by great start the Hawks have had so far this year.

  4. re: Crawford – last year, one of two things would have happened last night. Either Quenneville would have left Crawford in too long (read: five first period goals allowed before the change), and Crawford would have allowed those 2 more goals & his confidence would have been totally shot, or Quenneville would have pulled him immediately at the timeout to “spark a rally” (read: stop the bleeding before it got out of control).

    Credit Crawford for two strong periods after the awful start. The knock on him last year was that, once the door was open, it wasn’t shutting again for a week or two. Last night it took a timeout by the bench to get his head on straight, and a dynamic offensive performance to get him off the rocks. San Jose had plenty of decent chances in the final 40 minutes last night – especially while the Hawks were w/out Keith for 19 minutes – but they were kept off the board.

  5. I REALLY liked seeing Saad & Shaw out for 4-on-4 time after they had scored earlier; it’s good to see Quenneville riding the hot hand and rewarding the kids for playing their butts off. My real hope is that, when Carcillo returns to the lineup, Saad stays on the top line w/ 81 & 19 for the majority of the game. He’s earned it, and Carcillo’s abilities would add a dynamic to the Hawks’ bottom six that it doesn’t have (read: Bollig can go back to Rockford).

  6. There is one stat I never see, that I would like to see with regards to this team vs the NHL.
    The Hawks have been awesome at responding after surrendering a goal. They come right back and either pour it on or score. I want to see the time to goal after surrendering a goal. I think that is one of the major features of this team that gets overlooked- they are much more mature than previous seasons and dont let the other team control the momentum.

  7. Tab, that is encouraging to hear your thoughts on Saad…I too hope he stays…that kind of speed/quickness along with his hustle (and size) simply don’t come around that often and can’t be replaced by a Carcillo. I agree, send Bollig back down, and let Carcillo play on the 4th line predominately…

    Wall makes a great point, in that Saad did finally look like a line mate last night, instead of just impressing mano e mano. It would be a shame to take him off that dynamic line just as he is finally clicking with them. I personally think that Saad is going to become a VERY good NHL’er…he is very effective and dangerous on the PK because he has that quick acceleration, and it was fun to see Saad and Shaw out there together.

    Can you imagine what this team will be like when Patrick Sharp wakes up???

  8. This is from coach Q last night…

    It was a monumental moment for Saad, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was just as pleased for him. Quenneville has praised Saad’s play throughout the season even though Saad hasn’t had the numbers to show for it.

    “It was matter of time,” said Quenneville, who put Saad on the first line after Daniel Carcillo suffered an injury in the season opener. “He’s been special for us. That line has been dangerous and effective. He does so many things instead of the production. He doesn’t have much to reflect on that, but his play has been just the way you want it to be.

    “Eventually, he’s going to score. Hopefully one day, he breaks out because he compliments the other two guys (Hossa and Toews) and they compliment him, and it’s been a real good line for us.”

  9. I didn’t think Crow was that bad. Maybe the first one the rebound, but then a top corner shot, that goes in on most people. And then the 3rd one was in off the post. So really I didn’t think he was too bad and after that save where he pumped his head, I was like he will be good the rest of the game.

    Yeah Carcillo on the 4th line of Kruger, Car bomb and frolik HAS to be the best 4th line in the NHL. WOW. So while I see #19 pointing in ways that don’t involve Saad, if he starts producing that will be great.

    I think back to Ken Yeremchuck, Krivokrasov and those fast guys that are “skilled” and skate around real fast but don’t produce anything. I hope Saad is not like that. I don’t think he is. that pass on the 2-1 with Hossa was right on his stick and then he hit #19 but it went over his stick. He is starting to give other people chances, so that’s good. Can you imagine if he was REALLY impactful, like that Tarasenko. THAT is a guy who you KNOW is a top 6 guy. So I like Saad but I hope he can start to produce.

    Our D play 1-6 is SO Much better. Hammer is better, way better. #6 guy is SO much better playing 11 minutes a night v 5-6 for that old guy from Philly or Scott etc. Leddy on the last pair with that solid Brookbank is great for him too. Elite top 6 forwards can’t expose him D wise.

    We are solid. If Crow keeps this up, look out. They are fun to watch.

  10. Steve B. – good analogy- so far Saad shows some great talent- but until last nite hasn’t really clicked… hopefully it is a combination of playing too fast (when you don’t have to) and lack of practice time w/ 19-81-

    He made a couple passes that could have been highlite goals. There was one in 2nd where he passed to 19 in left circle (who was drooling to drill it) and pass was about 2 feet out of his wheel house (19 showed a little frustration)- the point is Saad didn’t realize he had time to make a sweeter pass! Hoss, Kane, ( Teuvo)– they are so calm w/ puck…

    I still think it is huge if C-Bomb can come back healthy… he can fill the 1st line roll nicely- and Saad will only get to the net 1-1 better against 3rd pair!!!
    Of course, if Saad continues to improve chemistry w/ 19-81- that would be great too!

    It’s a no lose for Hawks— A healthy C-Bomb is better than Mayers-52 options.

  11. All great points by Tab and the posters. The only negs seem to be the stale PP, face offs, and lack of hits. Bolland may be in over his head on 2nd line and I don’t know what’s up with Sharpie. Crawford to me still isn’t good enough and I expect him to be a bottom third of the league goalie. He’s holding it together well for now. The positives far outweigh the negatives. This team is something to be proud of and I’d be very hesitant to change anything except the PP. What a great start!

  12. Meh. Sharp being mediocre is more concerning than Bolland.

    This Hawks team can win with average goaltending no problem.

    Tough for the 1st or 3rd line to hit anyone…. They have the puck the majority of their shifts. Sharp, Bolland and Kane are not physical players. The 4th line plays pretty much exclusively on the PK… Maybe 4 other shifts. Kruger and Frolik are to be the enforcers? Not sure where these hits are supposed to magically appear from?

    They’re not going to out hit anyone. If the 3rd line can sustain pressure and score occasionally like they are and the PK remains stellar they will have zero problems beating any team in the NHL in a 7 game series provided there is a reasonable level of health.

  13. Good summary, Tab…and, good comments ALL (thank you).

    I think it was great that Bickell contributed (LARGE!) – I hope he can continue.

    In my opinion, NO way Saad goes down or even leaves the first line. Carcillo returns to the 4th line and Bollig to reserve or Rockford makes sense.

    Bolland – although he can’t win a faceoff, is it time to consider the second line center “experiment a failure? Maybe he and Shaw can simply switch? I don’t like Arnott for this team, and I don’t like rent-a-player moves unless it’s somebody really good, and if that’s available it shouldn’t be just a one year plug-in “missing piece” – I mean if he’s “really good”. When a team is winning it’s difficult to justify shaking things up / disrupting the chemistry.

    On to Phoenix. GO HAWKS!!

  14. A few things I noticed from the game:

    1) The Hawks weathered the physical storm very well. They didn’t get off their game. They stuck to their guns and figured out the pace and ended up dictating the tempo.

    2) Their puck possession continues to get better and better. The D do an outstanding job drawing the forecheck to them and using their D partner. We’ve seen that chemistry with Seab/Keith for a several seasons and now we’re seeing it with Hammer/Oduya. Hammer has tons of confidence with the puck and can buy a lot of time.

    Further, their neutral zone play was under control. One of my favorite plays of the night was a long pass from D to Bickell at about center ice; Bickell then fired it cross ice back inside the Hawks’ blue line to Stalberg who was in full stride; Stalberg then moves through the neutral zone in about 4 strides and has a nice clean zone entry. That is fantastic scheme with guys who like to play with each other.

    3) I’m really glad Bolland isn’t injured. For the Bolland haters out there—I don’t know what alternative you think is out there (without us sacrificing big pieces on this team) but Jordan Staal isn’t walking through the door so learn to love what you do have. I was glad to see Bolland taking the body and he can also carry the puck through the neutral zone.

    4) That Marleau line is scary. Next week is going to be a big test when they’re not on their 3rd game in 4 nights.

    5) Thorton is total fucking cunt. I don’t know what his problem is with Toews. They play on team Canada together. Maybe it’s because Toews was MVF of that team? Maybe b/c Toews has a Conn Smyth and Thorton pissed away half of his career? I don’t know what it is but I really hope Bollig or Bickell or Brookbank gives him something to think about next week.

  15. McKay – totally agree about Thornton. It seems that almost always “tough guys” hold to some rule that they fight only the opponents’ “tough guys”. (This wasn’t always the case – John Ferguson had no qualms about pounding Eric Nesterinko or Dave Schultz beating Dale Rolfe…and others) If Thornton got his jaw and/or nose broken for the cheapshot on Toews (- he was responsible for the concussion?), it may have been an effective deterrent to any repeat performances.

  16. Dickie and Mckay………..I couldn’t agree with you more. If someone from the Hawks takes on Joe Thornton and does some damage it will pay dividends down the road.

    On Thursday, I’d like to see the Hawks have a 3 goal lead with 10 minutes left in the third period and Bollig or Brookbank take Raffi Torres to task. This thug needs to pay for the hit on Hossa and 21 games is NOT enough.

  17. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Hossa take just a nice healthy check on Torres into the boards to see how he reacts? Any sign of a retaliation would be good cause for someone to plaster him then…that’s appointment TV in my mind!

  18. Really? You would take pleasure in seeing Thornton’s jaw broken? That’s brutal, he didn’t do anything close to that.

  19. Looking ahead:

    IMO- the toughest 3 weeks of the schedule-
    Most games are at home… but Sharks twice, hot Ducks, Blues, Canucks,— Preds and Oilers (we never play well)-

  20. Rose, “…Thornton’s jaw broken? That’s brutal, he didn’t do anything close to that.” – last season, wasn’t it Thornton’s (Clowe was also there) shot to Toews’ head that caused his concussion? That’s the stimulus (for harsh retaliation) to which I refer. Toews missed 22(?) games, and with concussions, who knows about the prospect of (hopefully not) cumulative/future damage? So, yes…the broken jaw (brutal) seems “reasonable” and throw-in the broken nose. Just my opinion.

    Nobody says Hossa can’t have a BIG game in addition to any other statements.

    GO HAWKS!!

  21. No retaliation…most games in the NHL are won or lost by a single goal…we can’t be giving a team a 5 minute PP just to get back at someone…the league, under Shanny, will take care of such matters (as in the case of Torres)…we just need to focus on winning hockey games…now, if the opposition precipitates an on ice action during the game, then (like Keith did) we need to protect our own.

  22. 29th in the league in hits…..this doesn’t concern anyone? Everybody says this team looks like the 2010 team and that’s only because they are winning. I am happy about the start don’t get me wrong but instead of this team that looks like the 2010 team, it more closely resembles a team like the sharks, maybe win a presidents trophy finish 1 or 2 in the conference….raise a banner in the united center, but without physical play this team will be bounced in the first round. Everybody knows the playoffs are a grind and it’s the team that’s last standing. Im afraid we wont have anybody standing come playoff time without an addition or 2 of guys that will hit anything that moves, no big buff no brouwer= no stanley cup. We dont have to be the most physical, but for pete’s sake somebody lay into someone!!!

  23. NOTE: You can’t hit people while possessing the puck. Hawks have had the puck A LOT this season. If we want to split hairs, they could use more hits… I’m OK w/ them winning games

  24. I love wins to…and I agree we could be splitting hairs? You think we beat boston or pit? I guess we find out, its pretty obvious so far the western conference has a huge talent gap fortunatley for us we are at the top along with st.louis and san jose

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