Blackhawks Escape Columbus, Remain Undefeated

It took them roughly 15 minutes to show up, but the Blackhawks once again handled their business against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

Corey Crawford had another strong game, allowing a goal in the first period against a Blue Jackets rush that was more consistent than the offense the Blackhawks offered through the first two periods. A late third period goal for Columbus (with an extra attacker on with the net empty for the Jackets) means Crawford has allowed two goals in all four of his starts this season.

Crawford made 24 saves in the game and improved his record to 4-0-0 on the season.

The Hawks were flat for the first 15 minutes, but a bad boarding penalty by Jack Johnson on Dave Bolland fired up Bolland and his teammates. Bolland took a bad slashing penalty that wiped away the would-be power play for the Hawks, but picked up a soft rebound off a Patrick Kane rush to tie the game within seconds of leaving the box.

Kane continued his incredible start with assists on Bolland’s goal and, early in the third period, on Jonathan Toews’ game-winning┬átally. Marian Hossa was credited with the second assist on Toews’ goal.

Columbus played the Hawks tough through the first 40 minutes, but stupid penalties cost them what should have been a four-minute double-minor on Bolland in the third; two quick penalties turned a potentially short-handed situation for Chicago into a 4-on-3 powerplay.

The Hawks’ second goal came off the stick of Bryan Bickell, who tipped in a shot from Niklas Hjalmarsson in the middle of the second period. Michael Frolik continued his strong play to begin the season throughout the game, and was credited with the secondary assist on Bickell’s goal.

The game was not without controversy, as the Jackets had a power play goal wiped away on a questionable (read: terrible) call in the second period. That goal would end up the difference in the contest.

Nick Leddy failed to post an assist for the first time in five games, but the Hawks coaching staff spread out the ice time among their defensemen yet again. Duncan Keith led the way with 25:35, but once again Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya were all between 21 and 24 minutes in the game.

Chicago comes home to face the Detroit Red Wings for the first time on Sunday.

Bolland CBJ

20 thoughts on “Blackhawks Escape Columbus, Remain Undefeated

  1. They found a way to win when they weren’t at their best, and that’s the mark of a good team…Crawford was solid, and the stars were good…

    One comment, I like the Hawks defence a lot better with Rozy in the lineup instead of Brookbank…IMO he hasn’t been very good at all this season, whereas Rozsival has been very good. Frolik is off to an excellent start on the season!

  2. Agree with Brad’s observation; they clearly were not on point tonight but still came away with the W which is what counts. Yes, definitely a mark of a good team.

    Far too many scrums in front of the Hawks crease tonight one of which resulted in the first Jacket goal. I thought there was a lack of assertiveness for much of the night protecting Crawford. Even with the gift reversal of the disputed goal that was washed, there were two Jackets edging the paint with nary a Hawk in the picture. Crawford played well as both he let in that counted were legitimately not on him. Nor would the reversed goal have been with two Jackets in his face with a deflected shot to his near left. Can do nothing with that.

    Also agree that Frolik is doing an awful lot of little things very well that don’t show up in a score sheet. So is Hammer; he’s off to a form that looks like his first two seasons.

    And Kane is playing like a #1 overall draft pick.

    Go Hawks!!!!

  3. Agree with Brad. Brookbank was, I guess, supposed to add some of that size and toughness many believe the Hawks lack (need)…? He hasn’t been very good. Frolik and Rozsival have been very good. I think Crawford has been really good, as well — I almost dread Emery’s next game…maybe he just had an *off* night in Phoenix? I didn’t check the ice time, but it seemed like the top 6 forwards and top 4 defensemen played more than in the previous games (Tab?) — I guess that’s to be expected some times? Whatever gets you thru the night…

  4. Tab, good article as always! Agree with Brad and Dickie. I like Rozy a lot better than Sheldon. Rozy has above-average hockey smarts, creates less turn-overs than Brookbank and gives young Leddy more stability on the ice as Rozy can read the game much better. Honestly, I fail to understand why Coach Q replaced Rozy with Brookbank (was it for that one turn-over against Dallas?). I don’t think Q does Leddy any good by having him play with a different partner every other night.
    Anyways, hope to see Rozy back against the wings.

  5. Rosey is better than BB- but Hawks know they are both slow and Older- I think Q doesn’t want to play them in back-back games… unless the other is hurt.

    Hawks were exposed last nite- Jackets forced Hawks to dump the puck w/ lite forechecking and by standing 4-5 guys at blue line… the Hawks displayed their inability to play that type of game- it will be interesting to see if other teams try this approach w/ Hawks ( really negated their speed and skating.)

    Shaw has become this year’s Frolik- ( He seems to have a hole in his stick)…
    And should not be our net presence on PP… but other wise doing ok…

    Hammer has looked great…
    Keith- still can’t move a body from net (I think he was on ice for both goals?)
    Saad is doing a lot of little things well… but I think he is pressing to hard on that 1st line/timing w/ 19-81 seems a little off! Wouldn’t mind seeing him skate against other team’s weaker lines and maybe get him some confidence.

  6. I think Quennville sat Roszival for coughing up the puck in the Hawks end in the game vs Dallas that led to a goal. None the less he is still much better than Brookbank. Seabrook looked real good tonight after a horrible game vs the Stars. I hope Crawford starts in goal tonight vs Detroit.

  7. The team is 5-0 with 4 road wins! Hard to ask for a better start and any one of us would have called that a pipe dream 10 days back.

    At the same time Tab is 5-0 against his competition in offering the best post game report on each victory. Let’s hope both are 6-0 by midnight tonight!

  8. I was thinking they were going to rest Crawford last night and play him tonight against the Wings seeing that Emery’s only outing was not good. If Emery took the ice last night and played like he did against the Yotes, the Hawks probably would have lost that one.

    Anybody know who’s in net tonight?

    Great write-up as usual, Tab!

  9. I don’t think Q wants to play Emery on the road right now, and so he will likely play tonight, as will Rozy…

    Wall, Shaw does look at little snake bitten with the stick this year, but he is doing everything else right…he is a high character guy, and that’s infectious…I love what he has done for Bickell’s game, as Bick is a player we needed to have game in and game out, and thus far he has delivered playing next to Shaw. I agree with Saad, he is pressing too much out there with Tazer and Hoss…I would like to see Stahlberg elevate to the first line and let Saad play on the 3rd or 4th line for now.

    Plus, Bollig is likely to play tonight…I want to see him skate and forecheck hard if he is going to play…he has thrown some good hits so far his season, and we need 8 minutes a night of this kind of play from him, not the 4 minutes of “hiding” that we got from Scott. Bollig can develop into a pretty good hockey player is he remembers to skate hard!

  10. Not to be a downer or contrarian (as I am as happy as anyone that the Hawks are off to such a good start/record), but the holes from the past 2 years are STILL a big problem for this team and I fear will prove to become more apparent as the season progresses. #1: Mediocre goaltending: Crawford is mediocre. At best. Period. He was decent last night (as he has been all season), and makes some good stops in stretches, but continues to let in easy goals each game (last nights was a ref gift.) As was the case in last years playoffs, when games get tighter in the playoffs, those gift goals are killers. Hawks need to acquire a goaltender as we’ll not get the cup with Crawford. Just one man’s opinion (regrettably.) #2: Lack of physicality (particularly in front of the net on D.) The short training camp season is/was a big advantage to skill/fast teams like the Hawks (as Kane acknowledged in his interview), as most are playing their way into shape and trying to catch the faster teams. Yes, 5-0 (maybe 6-0 after tonight?), is fantastic, BUT- as the season progresses and games get tighter and more physical, if we can’t clear the net this will re-emerge as a big problem (particularly if Crawford is our goalie.) Further, when teams get in better shape and on their systems, they will start beating on our skill players again (just like the past 2 years, as this is the book against the Hawks.) At that point, if someone can’t keep the rough stuff off Kane and Toews (we’ll need Carcillo back for that), we’re still where we were when we exited the playoffs the past 2 years.

    On the sunny side, #4 looks stronger than at any time as a Hawk, Bolland is off to a good start at #2C, Kane is motivated (for now), and most importantly- Toews and Hoss are clearheaded and rested. No doubt we’re among the most skilled offensive teams in the league.

    My view? Hoping we keep on this early roll (as momentum can be hard to stop), acquire a goaltender and use our cap money for a big/tough C/W to add protection when the going gets tougher…

  11. @Negzz – I appreciate your commitment to reminding us that Crawford is mediocre, and emphasis on allowing soft goals. And yes, the Hawks are only 5 games into a 48-game regular season. While I appreciate that we’re cautious with optimism, there’s reason to give credit where it is due: Crawford has allowed only 2 goals against a few of the top teams in the Western Conference. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point (until he shows otherwise). His last couple third periods have been very good.

    re: physicality – yes, the Hawks still aren’t clearing the paint as well as anyone would like. But they’re clearing pucks like they did in 2009-10, which keeps them out of the net as well. There are enough teams desperately looking for a goaltender and/or a 2C that I really don’t think the Hawks MUST leverage their NHL depth to make a move at this point… and the players you would want wouldn’t happen for a couple prospects and a draft pick. It ain’t broke, friends…

  12. A brief update on the Hawks prospects…in case you didn’t know, Rockford has lost 4 in a row since the mass roster exodus…Jimmy Hayes has been on FIRE since he was sent back down to Rockford…in the 5 games since, he has 4 goals and 2 assists, and is throwing his weight around consistently…

    Danault was traded 3 weeks ago by Victoriaville to the Moncton Wildcats…since the trade, Danault has 3 goals and 10 assists in the 6 games…he is having a monster season in Junior hockey!

    Mac Carruth is doing everything a goalie can in Junior hockey to suggest that he will make a good pro…he just set an all time win record for Portland goalies, he has a 1.89 goals against average, and a .934 save percentage…and considering his size, I would say that Carruth has a good shot at making the Blackhawks next season…

    Finally, what can anyone tell me about Vince Hinostroza playing in the US Hockey League??? He is tearing it up with 23 goals and 28 assists in 33 games.

    Add to these names, Teuvo Teravainen, Mark McNeil, Ben Smith (still injured), Adam Clendening, Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Ryan Stanton, Shawn LaLonde, Dylan Olsen, Kevin Hayes, Stephen Johns, Dillon Fournier, Maxim Shalunov, Joakim Nordstrom, and Justin Holl, the Hawks are loaded with talent and character guys that puts this franchise at or near the top of the NHL…

  13. re: Rozsival vs Brookbank – I like that Q is alternating them early in the season. Get Brookbank some exposure and see what they have in him as a 6/7 defenseman. Obviously Rozsival is the better player, and has a track record of playing significantly more minutes than the Hawks will likely ask him to play, but having Brookbank in game-shape is important with the shorter season. That said, I prefer Rozsival as well.

  14. Hawks are certainly off to a good start no question. Many positives.The only issues I see so far are that they are being out hit badly every game and, other than Toews, their performance on face offs is pathetic e.g. Bolland.

  15. Bolland and Kruger had been better, and Shaw is doing well at the dot…

    However, last night, Bolland was only 5 out of 18, and Kruger was 0 out of 7…and both guys lineup time to time on the PK and the PP…that is flat out not good enough…

    Shaw has shown that he is going to become very good at the dot, and is a real keeper IMO.

  16. Another negative when Brookbank plays is that Leddy sees less ice time (last night only 12 minutes) and with the way Leddy is playing, that number should be higher…plus Keith’s # goes way up (last night almost 26 minutes)…

    When Rozy-Leddy play 16 to 18 minutes a night, that means there is no stress on the top two pairings and is a HUGE factor to the Hawks winning close games.

    If Crawford can stay strong in net, I see the Hawks winning the WC…

  17. Negz is spot on whether you guys want to hear it or not. We’re all loving this start but it’s not gonna last for the reasons he stated. This team’s gonna be roadblocked by the mediocre goalie, period. We need a #1 goalie or we’re not winning a Cup. You can’t be blinded by the numbers and record. After watching every game, there’s a lot of flaws on the team.

  18. As usual, a highly spirited blog with everyone’s opinions very well spoken. However, EVERY team in the NHL has weaknesses. Last year, even the L.A. Kings had a weakness, but the Devils couldn’t score enough to expose it.

    Scoring goals exposes ALL weaknesses on your opponent. On the other hand, scoring goals hides alot of your own weaknesses. Right now, the HAWKS SCORE GOALS!! In 2010 the HAWKS OUTSCORED THEIR OPPONENTS!! They played good defense and had good goaltending. Possibly very average defense and goaltending. But they won the cup!!

    In this day and age of hockey, the rules dictate that teams cannot move players from in front of the net. It’s not 1995. So, like many teams, the Hawks allow the shot to come and tie up the player after the shot. This is not a weakness, this is what the rules allow.

    I am a HUGE advocate of physical hockey. The Hawks are physical enough to get the job done. The Hawks have an abundance of skill and speed and they use it to hide all their deficiencies. Right now, they don’t have to be physical. They are winning with skill and speed……..just like 2010. When teams get physical with them, like St. Louis, the HAwks don’t get physical, they turn up the speed and puck control. You beat physical teams with speed, not being physical.

    Toews, Kane and Hossa are still the same guys they were in 2010. Skilled, fast, smart, deceptive and shifty. The reason this team is so good at this time, is that guys like Frolik, Stallberg, Krueger, Leddy and Saad are stepping up their games and providing solid efforts, so far.

    In goal, Crawford is Niemi of 2013. If you can win a cup with Niemi, you can win it with Crawford. This team is NOT stupid. They realize that they need to protect Crawford, allow him to track the puck as well as possible, beat teams to the rebounds AND believe in him. I am NOT a Crawford fan, but he’s our goalie and this team is winning games with him in the net, so he’s the man whether I like it or not.

    Lastly, what speed does more than anything is puts opponents back on their heels and force them to take penalties. Right now, the Hawks are #1 on specialty teams.
    Speed+special teams+solid goaltending+healthy players+puck control=STANLEY CUP!!!!!

  19. All good points but I think you know yourself that the Hawks can’t win a Cup with Crawford. The Niemi/Crawford comparison doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that you’re trying to be positive and use “they can win it with Crawford” like you’re trying to talk yourself into it. They aren’t stupid and that’s why you’ll hear goalie trade rumors all season long with the Hawks. If they can pull the trigger and get a Kiprusoff, Miller, etc then we’ll have a shot at winning it all. If not, we won’t, simple as that. The Hawks can only mask and protect Crawford for so long. Do we forget last year when Emery had to be the #1 for half the season? Has Crawford suddenly become some great goalie in the offseason? No, he is what he is. Mediocre, not good enough.

  20. Belnik and Negzz: Are you really insinuating that Niemi was anything more than an above average goalie? He was decent in the swedish league… he had a great run for us, but then is GAA has gone up each of the last 2 years. Blame that on more time played, or more shots againest or whatever, but thats the stat. Yes Crawford has had his pitfalls, but thats not to say he cant rebound. He has been a full time goalie for only two years. He had is sophmore slump and he looks to be rebounding nicely. Lets give the guy a little credit.

    I mean seriously… Glenn Hall had higher GAA’s his first 2 years with the Hawks than Crawford. And as good as Belfour was his Vezina/Calder year, he followed up with a year that he had a Save % under .900 (and we went to the finals that year). ALL goalies have their bumps. Their legacy is how they respond. Crawford is off to a good start and until it is warrented, there is no need to call for Kipper (who probably only has 1 seasons left) or Luongo (a guy making 7 mil/yr. from now until the end of time).


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