Blackhawks Extinguish Flames

The Blackhawks returned home after a mediocre effort against the Islanders on Saturday night and faced a well rested Flames team. But a strong possession game, especially in the second and third periods, got the Hawks back on the winning side of the ledger.

Tim Erixon CGY

Antti Raanta returned to the net and made 23 saves in the victory. With news that Corey Crawford is expected back soon, the organization will make a decision on which netminder heads to Rockford soon.

Jiri Hudler opened the scoring against Raanta at 4:27 into the second period, but that was the sum of the Calgary offense. The Flames outshot the Hawks 9-7 in the first period, but Chicago dominated the puck over the final 40 minutes – a return to the style of hockey that has been highlighted throughout the recent win streak but was absent on Long Island the night before.

It took only nine seconds for the Hawks to cash in on their first power play of the night. Crisp passing from Patrick Kane to Jonathan Toews to Patrick Sharp ended with Sharp’s fourth goal of the season and a tied game.

The game would stay tied for 25 minutes, until the Hawks picked on “Johnny Hockey.” Johnny Gaudreau had his pocket picked by Niklas Hjalmarsson, who got the puck to Toews. A pretty pass up the ice to a streaking Brandon Saad ended with the game-winner behind Jonas Hiller and put the cap on a fantastic night for Saad.

Coach Joel Quenneville spread out the ice time among his forwards in the second half of a back-to-back, with Toews skating only 16:24 but still winning 10 of 18 faceoffs and picking up two assists. Kris Versteeg led the Hawks with seven shots on net in 15:37, and also was credited with one takeaway. Kane led Chicago forwards in ice time, but only skated 17:30 in the game.

Within hours of being dealt to Chicago, defenseman Tim Erixon made his Blackhawks debut and skated 10:43 on 14 shifts and was credited with one missed shot in the game. Duncan Keith led the team with 26:09, while his partner Brent Seabrook had a team-high three blocked shots and was credited with two hits in the victory.

Daniel Carcillo was the only skater to finish under 10 minutes of ice time in the game. Bryan Bickell saw his ice time increased to over 13 minutes again, and he responded with a more physical game including a team-high three hits in the game. Bickell’s ice time has increased since Sharp returned from injury and joined him on a line with Andrew Shaw.

The Hawks penalty kill was perfect once again, taking care of three short-handed scenarios.

Minnesota visits the United Center on Tuesday night.

43 thoughts on “Blackhawks Extinguish Flames

  1. What a great game to watch. Sharps goal was deadly accurate power…from the left wing I might add, where he is supposed to be! Saads goal incredible…full marks to the Hammer and Toews on the setup and Saad delivered. My only regret is I wasn’t there in person to witness this great game.

  2. It might be better for the team game of 4 lines to have Sharpy there. To spark and ignite 3rd line. Its another good problem to have and it will work itself out. Nice to have even more options. Like the goalies. It really doesn’t matter who the ‘back up’ is because really they both are.

    Raanta look like hes been hunting in the woods.

  3. Nice bounce back game for the boys. More energy and focus and hence played with more pace. Good game for first home game after road trip and 3rd game in 4 nights.

    Saad was the man-child tonight.

    Raanta played well although he didn’t face a lot of quality chances because the Hawks had the puck most of the night.

  4. Excited that Saad has continued to skate w Hoss and Toews. Is it just me or does Saad’s game continue to evolve similar to Larmer. Just a thought.

  5. Good comments all…I must ask…is there a better ‘defensive-minded’ d-man in the league than Hammer? His game the past several seasons, in my opinion, is just so steady and reliable. What a beautiful pass to JT to assist with the game-winner, as well.

    Go Hawks!

  6. A very tight playoff type game . Both teams played excellent defense for the most part and keepers did their job. Everything that went in the nets the goalies had no chance. Raanta looked very sharp and flopped around much less than normal. He was lucky that one shot rang off the right post. From my perspective there was 1 foot plus open net on the right side to hit and he thankfully clanked it.

    Kane and Saad put on a skating exhibition last night. Both guys really had some serious jump as has been the trend the past 2 weeks. Little Johnny hockey Gaudreau can also scoot pretty good to. The guy is like a water bug out there. Kid has some talent for sure.

    Playing Islanders Sat and Flames last night left me feeling these two teams along with the Preds and Nucks have to be the most improved teams in the league this year. They have respectively bought into their coaches systems and they are playing disciplined hockey. Flames were relentless chasing down pucks, and sealing off open ice. Hawks had little room to create in the first half of the game but mid way through 2nd some cracks began to appear and the Hawks found room through the neutral zone. Could be all the Hawks cycling finally started to wear the Flames down. I didn’t see the face off wins, but the Hawks seems to win more than their share last night.

    Erixon looked ok in his debut. A fairly big guy. Seabs and Rozy looked a little slow out there last night. Yes ZebraGreg, Hammer has become a great D man. I think he is one of the best in the league for sure. Really smooth game. He reads plays so well and somehow gets better every year. Only disappointing season from #4 I can remember was his “sophomore Slump” campaign, where he appeared to be searching for HIS game.

    Good crowd at the UC last night, and more organ music played on Sundays is welcomed by me as opposed the ear splitting rock music in between whistles. They thankfully tone that down on Sundays. Hawks should feel good about that win last night. Wild up next so lets keep it rolling. Hawks right now are a really fun team to watch. Enjoy it while we can.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  7. Saad is another young player, along with Kruger, Shaw and Smith that according to some idiots here, coach Q has not ruined . The comments made yesterday about Q still piss me off. It is rare that this team plays bad, back to back,games. It stays within the system being coached and ALWAYS has a chance to win the cup. These are all signs of a well coached team but yet every move is scrutinized. We seem to forget the long line of bad coaches and terrible seasons. Also take a look at the train wreck called the Bears if you want to see but bad coaching. Every good team had a good mix of young players and veterans. Just because someone is good in the AHL doesn’t always translate to the NHL. People who continue to scream about calling up more players don’t understand the concept of team chemistry and the BUSINESS aspect of hockey. Sorry about the rant.

  8. Big Al — good post – as one who has criticized Q in the past and wish he allowed young players more time to become better – I still ask WHO IF NOT Q? All sports are more fun when you are an armchair coach as many of us are, but we don’t always know all the dynamics that go into the decisions. The only coach I would accept if Q left is Mike Babcock – and it almost hurts me to say that. So when we demand Coach Q play the young guys – we should all think about where we would be without his coaching expertise. But I am still going to complain the next time they bring some young guy up and play him 6 minutes, after all I am coaching from a really comfortable chair!

  9. Just because some of us call out Q on bad decisions doesn’t mean we think he’s a bad coach. He’s a Top 5 coach in the NHL and that makes him one of the best.

    Saad is an incredible player, having an incredible year. He’s probably my second favorite Hawk to watch behind Kane. He has some incredible vision and isn’t afraid to try anything. $$$$$

    Erixon wasn’t tested much, but I liked what I saw from him versus what I saw from Dahlbeck or Clendening. Obviously, he has more NHL game experience so he’s better adjusted to the speed of the game, but Clendening and Dahlbeck both struggled with gap integrity and it was leading to too many chances against.

    Hopefully Erixon works out so Rozsival can get a couple breathers because he looks like he needs them.

    I like the scoring that the 4th line has been doing since Carcillo was put there, but it is far from sustainable. They are getting smoked in possession and that will start leading to a lot of goals against soon enough.

  10. Mike57, I agree with your thoughts on Babcock. Not a put down of Q, but Babcock is the best coach in the NHL and by some margin. He is no longer in the shadow of “Scotty B”. His hated Red Wings are atop the EC and NO ONE would have predicted that.

  11. Some here are questioning the harsh critique of coach Q on this board. Many on here are season tickets holders and have a financial right to verbalize their discontent about the failure of the organization to deliver on its “One Goal” advertising mantra. We all want the Stanley Cup hoisted by our team/organization. If we didn’t feel that way, we wouldn’t be investing our money and time in watching the games and spending even more time reading and providing opinions on this forum. Yes, the organization and the fans have been spoiled by the success of the last seven years. That success has created GREAT expectations. We are all experiencing something that does not come along many times in a lifetime, a GREAT organization and a great collection of talented players coming together at one time. Having said that, let’s draw an analogy. Q is vary harsh on the younger players by sitting them over simple mistakes. Well, many on here are verbally benching Q when we question his methods and decisions. We have earned the right to do so because that is the standard and expectation the organization has established for us; Stanley Cups. If he does not win it every year, he is open to that criticism. What a great time to be a fan of an organization that is currently the best in the NHL. GO HAWKS!!!

  12. Booman, I AM a season ticket holder and also travel to away games. I spend about $30,000.00 a year on the Hawks so yes, I have the right to be critical WHEN NEEDED. If you think that the right to verbalize your discontent because we don’t win EVERY year is outright stupid. Are you perfect in your life, is anyone? How often does ANY sports team win championships multiple times. Putting you team in the position to win is the most important thing. Luck, timing, and a lot of other factors that coaches and GM’s can’t control play out over the season. I for one am very happy with the state of things on Madison. 2 Cups, 4 WCF and the look for a bright future are all a season ticket holder should look for. Expecting more than that in the business world of professional sports is just being stubborn and looking for something to complain about.

  13. Booman- Very well stated. We are blessed here in Chicago to have the best nucleus of talent we will probably see in a lifetime. Fan expectations are very high. Player expectations are at least as high. If you don’t believe that take a look at 19’s reaction when the LA Kings scored in OT in game 7. Q has been and is a very good coach. However he is not infallible. Take a look at last years playoff line management decisions. We as paying fans have every right to question decisions we disagree with. GO HAWKS!

  14. Very well said Big Al as it relates to the state of the Blackhawk’s organization and being a fully invested devoted fan. These are the years we have dreamed about as fans about years to seriously challenge for the Cup. We can ask no more from our team or the management. Player movements in and out will never be perfect, but the slogan of One Goal is still reflective of the organization to pursue excellence and put the best team possible out on the ice. Of course, some mistakes have been made, but I have trouble with fans that always think something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Doesn’t mean I give a pass to management or players when something glaring should be addressed. Those issues are well defined and discussed here at length. This forum is great for letting us air it out. I believe Hawks fans have much to be proud of and thankful about as it relates to where the team is and where it’s going. Hey, this is the shit guys, enjoy it while you can. This is supposed to be fun!

    Lets Go Hawks!

  15. I don’t think we’d watch the games if it wasn’t enjoyable. Absolutely ridiculous fortune has found it’s way to the West Side and we are lucky enough to be able to experience it.

    However, the front office sees every season without a Stanley Cup as a failure. We, as fans, should want the same.

  16. Last year was extremely disappointing to all of us. While I’m dating myself by saying it, losing to the Kings in CF on home ice in game 7 was almost as bad the loss to the Habs at the Stadium in 1971. It stung really bad all summer. They were there! What we need to remember though is winning at that level is drawn by such a fine line. Lucky bounces can carry the day. If you get that close and fail, it hurts, but at least they got there. Most teams don’t have that chance. Most teams in the league want what’s going on at the UC. We are still right in it.

    Just finished reading Chelios and Roenick books. Good perspectives on hockey, compete, and life in the NHL.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  17. How would we react if we were Edmonton Oiler fans?

    Man, that’s ugly up there!! Thank god for the Hawks!!

  18. Paying fans also have the right to disagree with and call out other fans who keep beating the same things to death over and over.

  19. Super off topic, but after reading the details of the Slava Voynov case, there isn’t a damn chance he plays in the NHL ever again. On a related note, it makes me think of Bobby Hull and how the Blackhawks keep trotting him out as an ambassador of the franchise.

  20. Well, JS, that’s such a sensitive topic…I am hearing that little voice in my head that’s saying “don’t go there”, but anyway… It’s tempting, understandable even, to look at people of another era through today’s prism. Strictly speaking, Bobby would have some real problems today if he was a current player (now there’s a daydream all by itself!). But he belongs to the 1960’s. He was bigger than life then, as brilliant a superstar as there ever was. His appeal went way beyond Chicago, too. Bobby Hull’s personality, his electrifying smile, his availability to the fans, and his good humor nearly exceeded his play on the ice, which is something current players really don’t have so much. They’d hold the team bus two hours until Bobby was done signing autographs. The Blackhawks were a joke before he arrived. None of that makes some of the things about his personal life OK, but I’m just saying that in a far different day and age, that’s how it was. Can’t judge him by today’s standards because we don’t know how he would have conducted himself, as a guy in his 20’s and 30’s, in today’s culture. Same goes for JFK, and Mickey Mantle, and Winston Churchill, too. In today’s world, those men I’m sure would not have lived quite the way they did back then. Either would have Bobby Hull. And I know I’m biased, too. I’m one of those guys that’s going to blindly stick up for Bobby anytime, anyplace.

  21. I’m going to verbalize all the discontent I want and I spend zero dollars on the Hawks in terms of going to the UC or traveling to watch games.

    Bobby Hull sucks.

  22. Big Al, Big man with a little mind. It is mental midgets on here like you that have to resort to name calling and insults that make this board less fun. You can’t articulate an oposing opinion without cyber bullying because you are ignorant. I hope people do not shy away from expressing their opinions on this forum because of imbiciles like you trying to censor what they have to say. Go Hawks!!!

  23. So Booman, I’ve got to say that was a humorous post. I hope you see the irony in it!
    You squawk about name calling and then label Al as:

    – a mental midget
    – a man with a little mind
    – a cyber bully
    – ignorant
    – imbecile

    Nicely done! lol, are you JimC in disguise?

  24. Regarding young Mr. Morin…I for one am glad he is gone, mostly for his sake.
    As has been beaten to death here and other well known blogs that I am sure most of you follow but may not admit to, the kid was never going to pan out here, not now, not with this roster as constituted. Hopefully he settles in with his new team and plays a solid bottom six role. Not sure if he will ever go higher, no matter the organization he is with. Can we put the saga of the Great Morin to rest now and concentrate on more important things, such as all the mud~slinging the children here tend to enjoy so much, lol…

  25. Hofmeister makes a good point re: Booman telling people to grow up… by calling them names…

    Act like you’ve finished puberty folks, even if you haven’t.

  26. Booman, please go back to my comments. I NEVER ONCE called you any names or insulted you personally. I said that I thought the concept of being upset that we don’t win every year was stupid. I guess I am the mental midget you say I am and clearly not as intelligent as you.

  27. Nice to see you back…hope all well. I may not have agreed with you all the time ( I did most of the time, lol), but I always respected your opinion and take on things, welcome back.

  28. Sr. Brad, please allow me the honor of introducing you to Mr. Hofmeister… You two are gonna get along just fine. Oh boy oh boy, this is gonna be great!(Flounder)

  29. Hof,
    I’m not a bleeding heart liberal. I believe in an eye for an eye. I will respond in kind. If you look at

    Big Al, you called everyone expressing issue with Q idiots. Look at your first entry on this topic. Then you referred to my prior post as Stupid. If you read my post and your post, we really made comments that paralleled sentiments for the organization sans the Stupid comment.

  30. Hey-Peace on Earth-Good will towards Men-
    this and the Hawks are on a roll, Love it
    Things may be picking up! Is this really Sr. Brad or a ghost from Christmas past?

  31. This one shows the two interviews with wife at hospital, were recorded. I am not sure if anyone knew this.

    prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/12/15/police-voynov-punched-kicked-and-choked-wife/

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