Patrick Sharp Returns, Ray Emery Shuts Down Wild

For the second time in four days, Ray Emery led the Blackhawks to a 1-0 road victory.

Before the game, the Wild announced that Dany Heatley had successful shoulder surgery, and that his season was over. Once the game started, the home team struggled to get the puck away from the visiting Blackhawks.

Niklas Backstrom did everything he could to keep the Wild in the game. He stopped 30 of 31 shots, but the one goal he allowed to Marian Hossa was enough for Emery to earn another victory.

Emery was perfect once again; as was the case on Saturday in Nashville, Emery stopped 20 shots to earn another shutout victory. The Blackhawks defense in front of Emery was outstanding throughout the night, blocking 11 shots in the game.

Patrick Sharp returned to play left wing on the second line, starting with Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger. Throughout the game, coach Joel Quenneville swapped Andrew Shaw and Kruger as the third skater on that line, but Sharp took the majority of the faceoffs.

And Sharp looked good at the dot. He won six of nine faceoffs and skated 17:58 in the game. Sharp was also credited with one hit, one takeaway and a team-leading five shots on goal; Jonathan Toews was also credited with five shots.

Toews once again dominated at the dot, winning 15 of 22 faceoffs. Michal Handzus won only five of 11, but was also credited with two blocked shots in the game.

Once again, the Blackhawks were perfect on penalty kill, and worthless on the powerplay.

If the Blackhawks didn’t want a controversy in net, Emery isn’t doing them any favors. He has now allowed five goals in his last five starts, a stretch that includes three shutouts. In three April starts, Emery has a .952 save percentage and two shutouts, and the conversation about whether or not the net should be his when the postseason begins is very real.

Quenneville indicated that Crawford would get another start soon, possibly Friday when the Red Wings visit the United Center. There is very real pressure on him to perform if he wants to be the man for Chicago in the playoffs.

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31 Responses to Patrick Sharp Returns, Ray Emery Shuts Down Wild

  1. Tim G says:

    Great game by the defense. I really enjoyed this one. It did worry me slightly that we only had 4 shots in the 3rd. We had the lead… we were out shooting them 27-14 after 2, and we didn’t keep pressure on Backstrom. But we held on never the less.

    I would be lying if I didn’t say i was atleast a little concerned over the hit Sharp took at the end of the game. I know he said it was just a stinger, but when you see a guy come back from a shoulder injury and he takes one of those, it makes you hold your breath.

    I felt we had very good pressure in the offensive zone (albeit only one goal). The 29-26-25 line looks very pestering in their zone. They didn’t get a lot of good chances, but it seemed Minny couldn’t clear a puck cleanly. Very good sign!

    13 players recorded a shot 9 of which had 2 or more… and Sharp came back hungary (5 shots by himself). When a team plays like that, goalies wear down. They can never rest or anticipate a play going to a certain player. EVERYONE on the Hawks will shoot.

    Also, shoutout to Carcillo for not taking that fight (and thus drawing the penalty on Rupp).

    Go Hawks.

  2. wall says:

    Emery- wasn’t Really tested- but looks much more stable and doesn’t flop around as much as Crow- (who lately resembles “fish out of water” Turco)

    Looking at schedules—

    My guess is we play Detroit or San Jose in 1st round…
    Which I prefer over Blues and Wild… both of these teams play tight games…

    Blues just added Jaskin (Played w/ Danault and averaged 2 pts/game- big stud), as if they needed more SIZE!

    Maybe the Hawks should give this Ross a go on 4th line… maybe he is Shaw/Saad ready!

  3. JS says:

    Not sure if I’ve ever seen a 1-0 game feel that one sided. Did the Wild have more than 3 minutes of possession in the offensive zone? Certainly didn’t feel like it.

    Apparently Pominville skated almost 20 minutes? Weird. I didn’t notice him.

    PK back to it’s early season dominance. Great to see.

    Emery got a shut out! Probably the easiest shutout he will ever get in his career. As I have said a bunch of times, if the defense plays like that, it doesn’t matter who is in the net. No second chance opportunities and almost every shot was from a bad angle.

    I’m sad that second line didn’t score 3 goals yesterday. Now Bolland might go back to playing there when he is healthy.

    Handzus had his worst game as a Hawk, yet I still noticed him more than Pominville. Not really liking him on the power play, though. It’s seriously time to think about why the second PP unit has been generating more chances from the first. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out. My thought is 8-88.

    Anyway, dominating win on the road against a team that probably really wanted to beat the Hawks. Keep playing defense like that, just score more goals please!

  4. Mike says:

    Lots of surprises in this game for me. First was the speed of the game, seemed like slow ice. Minny played uninspired hockey, particularly for a team in their position. Not much emotion from them at all. I was a little surprised that Sharp logged 18 minutes in his first game back. Also surprised that Carcillo got just 7 minutes.

    Funny, I was not pleased when SB picked up Carcillo, then signed him to an extension. I may be wrong, I think Carcillo has found himself. Helping the team instead of blowing up……kudos. As long as Carcillo keeps his head on straight, we might not see Bolig or Mayers the rest of the year.

    I do not know what Q sees in Brookbank. Not on him but Rosival is simply a better hockey player. Brookbank/Oduya pairing just does not work for me. And finally, what is up with Seabs. He just does not seem to be into it, little energy. Is he hurt or sick? He is one of the keys to a long playoff run.

  5. Tab Bamford says:

    wall – Shaw & Saad got time in the AHL. Ross should get the same. But, with that being said, his performance at Saginaw this year opened a few eyes and he could be another late-round steal for Bowman’s crew. If his style of play is similar to Shaw’s – and he can produce as well offensively – the Hawks could be building really dangerous depth moving forward.

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    re: what Q sees in Brookbank vs Rozsival – Quenneville sees a team that’s running away w/ the top seed in the Western Conference, but knows that the ONLY thing that matters is winning your last game of the postseason. I could care less who the 6th defenseman is the rest of the regular season, as long as the Hawks have 6-7 healthy guys ready to play good hockey in May & June.

  7. Pete says:

    Anyone worried about that hit on Sharp at the end of the game? It looked like he hit the same shoulder. Also was that a clean hit by Suter on Sharp? It looked to me like Suter hit him in the back and right in the danger z0ne a few feet from the boards. Any of you technical experts out there want to weigh in on that play.

  8. EbonyRaptor says:

    Nice to see Hoss get off the schnide.

    Razor is making a case, and that’s good for the team.

    With 9 to go and Anaheim in close pursuit, it puts meaning in these games and that’s a good thing. No coasting into the playoffs … please.

  9. wall says:

    Tab, the Ross comment is more of a “wish” that they catch lightning in a bottle…
    but word is he plays like Shaw… and he does have past w/ Saad- would be great to see if just for a few games when Hawks are resting some guys prior to Playoffs…

    As far as Rosey- agree- rest him and keep that Caveman ready/fresh for Cup run…

    Seabs- continues to Kill/scare me on the PP!!!

  10. Sr. Brad says:

    Some post game notes…

    Hossa is starting to find his game legs, and began to dominate last night, but as Wall mentioned, Hossa’s style is different from Toews and Saad, who play the cycle to perfection…I think it may take a little time for the 3 of them to get on the same page, but wow, when they do, watch out opposition…they are a real danger to score on every shift.

    I love how after Toews tried the long shot on the empty net (which resulted in an icing call) he bore down and won both of the last 2 face-offs to seal the win…now that is will and confidence.

    Patrick Kane is frightening in our own zone…he should not be on the ice in the last 2 minutes…plus MINN hit Kane every chance they could and that took Kane off of his game.

    Patrick Sharp was amazing…1st game back and it was like he was never away…that’s why he wears the A on his jersey…he is a true professional on and off the ice. The announcer’s called Suter’s hit clean, but it wasn’t…he exploded into the back of Sharp while Sharp’s head was exposed to the boards…that’s a penalty that could have caused a horrible injury…the refs tried everything they could last night NOT to call penalties against the Wild. Q’s decision to have Sharp take the face-offs is huge…this could help put us over the top!

    Handzus was not the same last night…maybe a little sick? The 3rd line has such an advantage against whomever they play because of their size, quickness, but Handzus wasn’t feeling it last night…Bickell and Stahlberg were, and did a good job to dominate puck control…but get Handzus fired up again, and this line is going to be critical for us in the post season, mark my words.

    I thought both Shaw and Kruger did good jobs last night (on both sets of lines), but they both struggled at the dot, and that has to change…they are such great kids though!

    Shaw/Frolik/Carcillo is a nice line…they make things happen and are a danger to score, plus are good defensively…4 nice lines right now.

    Sheldon Brookbank…wow, what did Bowman see in this guy…he is SLOW and he is nervous out there…he had 2 huge giveaways in the 3rd and both almost caused goals. I hear what Tab is saying about Rozy and I agree, but come on, I watch the Rockford games and both Clendening and Stanton would do a MUCH better job than Brookbank…sorry guys, but he is BRUTAL.

    Emery was better than you think…many comments suggest that Emery did little…not so…it looked like Emery did little, because he made it look that way…we had a number of turnovers during the game that Emery not only stopped, but CONTROLLED THE REBOUND. Right now, that is the major difference between he and CC…that and body control. And if CC doesn’t start denying rebounds, he will find himself the #2 guy going into the playoffs…this is the style the Hawks play…opposition teams get very few chances, and when they score against us, it is usually from a rebound. If our goalies can control the rebounds, the opposition has virtually zero chances of scoring, which is what we saw again tonight with Emery. It’s a tremendous skill to possess as a goalie, and when you have it, you make goaltending look easier…that’s what Emery is doing right now.

    Seabrook is not the same this season as he has been in the past…I am not sure what’s wrong, but Brent is not the same player…also, don’t you love how if Leddy makes a mistake, he goes out of his way to rememdy it? That’s a competitive edge that will make him great.

    As for Ross, I love this kid, but Tab is right…what he needs right now is to settle in at Rockford and understand the professional game…but I agree, I think he is going to be a big part of the Hawks future, maybe even beginning next season.

    Welcome back Patrick Sharp! We missed you!

  11. Stinky says:

    A NHL defender with 300 games under belt is better than a random rookie. Yeah Brookbank is slow, yeah he isn’t the best player ever, but he ate 15 minutes and nothing bad happened.

    Emery didn’t do anything last night and still looks awful moving post to post. Give the guy credit for making the saves he was supposed to but he wasn’t asked to do much yesterday and his rebound control sucked, lots of juice in front of the goal that was luckily cleared up. While not as bad as Keenan, Q still seems to like to jack with goalies.

    Kane is fine in his own zone. He picks up so many loose pucks and pulls so many out of the boards it is ridiculous. It is silly to think he is deficient defensively.

    Carcillo still sucks at hockey and Handzus is old and will have ineffective games especially after long weekends like this one. Does not help that Stalberg did not have his best game ever and I am not to sure if Bickell played or not.

  12. Tab Bamford says:

    Couple responses to Brad’s thoughts:

    Kane has been terrific defensively all year; to say he shouldn’t be on the ice for the final 2 minutes of games is effectively putting the Hawks on PK duty to close out the game. I have no issue w/ Kane closing out games; having an offensive presence on the ice keeps the defensemen honest as well.

    Seabrook has been a step slower than last year, but he’s been a physical player (which is needed). He’s also, for the most part, been a good passer. And yes, Leddy is fantastic.

    re: Rockford kids replacing Brookbank – obviously the Hawks are respecting the IceHogs playoff push by leaving a few players down there right now; if the IceHogs were out of it, we might have Hayes & Morin skating with the NHL club right now. In the playoffs, having the ability to use Stanton/Morin/Hayes if needed is a nice option for a coaching staff. But to Brad’s question about what Bowman saw in him: a CHEAP veteran that can skate half a season. Look at his cap hit and the fact that Rozsival can sit out of a game and the Hawks still win 1-0. He wasn’t great, and did turn the puck over a couple ugly times (as did Hjalmarsson), but nobody made the epic mistake Stoner did. And the Hawks won. At the end of the night, whether or not Brookbank was an all-star matters less than the regulation win.

    With Handzus skating more regularly on the 3rd line, and with Sharp looking pretty good at the dot last night on the second line, the Hawks bottom six could be very dangerous when Bolland comes back. And that’s exciting, because the top six is as good as any.

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, Kaner has been excellent all year defensively to Kane’s standards…which is greatly appreciated.

    Sebs has continued his physical play, but he seems to be a step slower mentally, if that makes any sense…there’s just something that’s not the same.

    I understand your comment on Brookbank, and I thought he was going to be better than this, but he isn’t…and while it is nice for Rockford to make the playoffs, the needs of the Hawks should always come first…even for just a couple of games I would love to see Stanton get the call to be that stay at home 6th DMan in Chicago.

    You are bang on with the Sharp taking face-offs statement. I mentioned it earlier, it could literally be the one thing that puts the Hawks over the top. With puck possession assured on the 2nd line with Sharp playing wing and taking the draws, it leaves a powerhouse lineup for the bottom 6…matching up come playoff time, our 3rd and 4th lines are going to give teams fits…and that’s with Carcillo looking for ice…that’s how deep this team is…no more Mayers and Bollig.

    Frolik has to be the best 4th line forward in the league.

  14. Sr. Brad says:

    A number of people make the comment with Emery that the Hawks play better in front of him than they do CC…which is ridiculous…it may appear that way because Emery is his own “best friend” with rebound control.

    A number here comment that the Hawks leave CC hung out to dry…and while there have a been a few occasions where that has been true for both goalies, for the most part, CC has been his own worst enemy. I honestly think the main reason that Q is running with Emery right now, is to let CC look at what strong positional play and rebound control do for a goalie’s game.

    There is no doubt that Crawford has the physical size and skills to be a top NHL goalie, but his mental game is still not there. Emery’s biggest contribution to the Hawks may end up being a strong teacher/mentor for CC moving forward.

  15. Tre says:

    Re: the goalie situation.

    The Hawks are in a great situation having two very strong starter-caliber goalies to choose from. But, with the Hawks playing it very close–lots of games ending shoot-outs–without checking the stats, I believe Emery has been hands down better in the shoot-out. I often wish Emery was in net when heading to the shootout with Crawford in net. So I say Emery’s the go-to guy.

  16. Stinky says:

    No shoot outs in playoffs

  17. Mike says:

    Stinky……..Thank God there are no shootouts in the playoffs. I hate shootouts…..too many 3 point games. NHL either needs to go to a 3/2/1 system or run 5-8 minutes of 4 on 4. No one scores end in a tie….one point each

    Wonder if they would ever use 4 on 4 in OT in the playoffs. Perhaps after the first 20 minutes of OT.

  18. JS says:

    Overtime in playoff hockey is perfect as is. No need to touch it. The idea of 4 on 4 in the regular season was to create more goals so there would be less ties. Can’t tie in the playoffs so 5 OT’s is nothing but thrilling.

    I’m not too wrapped up in the great goalie controversy of 2013. I like Crawford and I think he will ultimately get the starts. However, you can’t really say Emery has been bad. Good situation to be in.

  19. RyanDale says:

    We just played a game where we averaged a single hit every 12 minutes.

  20. Dickie Dunn says:

    Sr. Brad, “Sebs has continued his physical play, but he seems to be a step slower mentally, if that makes any sense…there’s just something that’s not the same.” – I agree and it does make sense…he’s a little off. To me, it seems to have started around the time he lost the fight with Roussel. (Concussion?) Seabrook hasn’t been awful or even bad, he’s just not playing quite as well as he has in the past.

  21. JS says:

    Ryan- would you prefer if they let the Wild have the puck more often so they could throw more hits?

  22. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    The big story out of this game is of course goaltending, specifically Razor. So here is my 2 cents. I think Q is trying to motivate Crow to step up his game in time for playoffs. If he doesn’t Razor is a nice option 1b. I think if you go away from Crow again you’ve lost him, his confidence and long term success as a Hawk. I think Crow has a higher upside then Razor but a much lower floor, it that makes sense. I think the Hawks can win a cup with either guy, but I still back the Crow personally. However, if Crow fails there is a guy in LA that I’ve wanted in Chicago between the pipes for a LOOOONG time. Go Hawks!

  23. Tails says:

    Both goalies have been excellent this year, really. I see goaltending as a non-issue. Their stats for the year are:

    Crawford: 15 W (tied for 12th), 2.01 GAA (4th), .922 SV% (9th), 2 SO (tied for 15th)

    Emery: 15 W (tied for 12th), 1.9 GAA (2nd), .924 SV% (7th), 3 SO (tied for 6th)

  24. RyanDale says:

    JS , a simple observation of a rare feat where no opinion was given . Doesn’t mean I would ‘prefer’ the team DO anything at all….

  25. Sr. Brad says:

    Great comments everyone…Ryan, you are right…while puck possession is our game, there are at least 30 opportunities a night to finish the check by taking the body. Yes, it can be tiring, but even more so for the player taking the hit…there is no excuse for 5 hits…

    Dickie, thank you…you are absolutely right…Sebs has had what 3 major concussions in 2 years??? Plus the fight this year…I believe this is a consequence to those hits…which is a shame…the NHL must start taking the punishments for such hits deadly serious…certainly things are better with Shanahan in there.

    SSHM, completely agree…CC has the huge upside…Q is trying to teach CC the huge importance of rebound control by having him watch Emery.

  26. RyanDale says:

    Thanks Tails, its amazing how close those numbers are between the 2 of them. Outstanding numbers too . If the playoffs were here and I was checking out the numbers of the opposition my team was up against and saw those numbers, I’d be worried ! Not sure why that doesn’t translate into me being confident about our guys though,ha. Nature of the beast I guess

  27. 'hawks58 says:

    Brad, the Hawks don’t play better in front of Emery on purpose, he just has been lucky enough to have a motivated team in front of him most nights (mainly because he has simply had fewer starts, so less chances for the occasional off night by the rest of the team).

    Just an FYI, vs playoff contenders (all teams .500 or better right now):

    Emery is 8-1 in 10 games with a .927 Sv%
    Crawford is 13-1-4 in 19 games with a .930 Sv%

    Emery is a fantastic 1B and will be fine if he is called upon in the playoffs for any reason, can we just leave it at that? Crawford is the #1. He’s been better the whole season vs better competition (about 85% of his starts vs winning teams, Emery is about 53% of his starts vs winning teams)

  28. Stinky says:

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/feed/2011-06/nhl-free-agency/story/ray-emery-hip-injury-chicago-blackhawks-flyers-anaheim-ducks-avascular-necrosis

    Really great piece on Emery from a little bit ago. It is tough not to root for the guy. Not sure if I posted that here or not but it is a good read.

    I think Seabs came into the season out of shape (Sharp as well to a much lesser extent) and he has been trying to play his way back in. Also he has strung together a few very good years and was bound to have a “down” one at some point. Hammer can probably eat +26 minutes in the playoffs so not too concerned.

  29. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Nice stats hawks58 those are really good. I didn’t realize how well Crow played against tough opposition.

  30. Sr. Brad says:

    Nice article Stinky, thanks.

  31. BigSmokeJ says:

    Unless Crow falls apart before the playoffs I believe they will go with him.

    The one thing that I worry about with Emery is his movement side to side. It is usually not an issue because he is excellent in positioning himself in a way that he doesn’t need to. But if you watch him when he has to, he doesn’t move that great. That and I’m sure there is still concern if he can hold up for 16 games.

    Having said that if Crow doesn’t respond to this, they will have to go with Emery. Either way they should be ok for the playoffs if the defense stays strong.

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