Ray Emery, Blackhawks Put Out Flames

Ray Emery had his best night as a member of the Blackhawks and the offense came through again as Chicago won their second game in as many days.

But, after struggling for a stretch, what has changed?

In the last two games, the Blackhawks have taken advantage of two simple realities:

1. The Blackhawks were playing inferior teams.
2. Chicago’s defensemen were aggressive on the offensive end of the ice.

The two wins have been impressive, and the Hawks have played well. But fans should not ignore the fact that Columbus and Calgary are, on paper, two of the worst teams in the NHL. The Blackhawks were supposed to hammer both teams, and did.

That’s a good start. Last year, the Hawks lost too many games they were, on paper, “supposed to win.” This year the Hawks are handling their business, and it shows in their record.

But more important has been the apparently green light given to the Hawks defensemen.

Before Thursday night in Columbus, Nick Leddy had the only two goals scored by a Chicago defenseman. In Columbus, Steve Montador got on the board (albeit in a forward position on the power play), and against Calgary both Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook scored their first goals of the year.

The wealth has been spread more than just to goals, too. Against the Blue Jackets, Chicago’s defensemen combined for seven assists. The Hawks also have 19 takeaways in the last two games, and have outshot their opponents 67-55.

Also noteworthy, Chicago has scored on three of seven power plays after scoring on one in 30 opportunities in their previous eight games.

Perhaps most importantly, the Hawks have received excellent, timely goaltending early in games. Calgary came out of the gates with good energy on Friday night, but Emery was fantastic. Indeed, how he wasn’t one of the game’s three stars is a head-scratcher.

When Edmonton comes to the United Center on Sunday night, they’ll be riding a two-game losing streak that includes a shut out at the hands of the Red Wings on Friday night.

Fun Fact: After Friday night, the Blackhawks are 5-1-1 in games John Scott plays. Crow tastes great after a win.

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7 Responses to Ray Emery, Blackhawks Put Out Flames

  1. Tuke says:

    I knew Scott – Squatch was the key to the whole season!!

  2. wall says:

    Tab, Scott is still terrible… but he has improved his skating (not really faster, but his transition is much better), Olesz and Kruger still trending up.

    But you forgot # 3 reason:
    Hossa w/Toews and more importantly Bruno on 4th line much w/ less minutes!

    Ben Smith scored twice last nite.

  3. James M says:

    Tab – What do you think about Jesse Rogers’ theory that Scott is on the roster only to deter teams who have enforcers that don’t respect Carcillo and Mayers? That’s one great thing about Scott – he can fight well.

  4. Brad Stevenson says:

    Good article Tab…the Hawks haven’t suddenly become an elite team again…they have problems and until they fix them, they are going to continue to ride this up and down wave…

    Better play from the Defence is a key, but not the only one…I think one thing that was overlooked last night was the fact that 4 lines rolled, almost evenly all night long…and although some scoring chances were given up by having Scott and Olescz on the ice, it kept the top 3 lines fresh so that they often dominated on their shifts…the same goes for the defencemen…Keith and Seabrook were both about 22 minutes, and that’s where they need to be…when Keith plays 30+ minutes he is invariably awful on the ice…he wasn’t last night…

    Emery was great last night and is rounding into form…the more he plays the better Crawford will get, as Corey needs to be rested and plays well with competition…

    Even when Bolland comes back, I think it is important to have Marcus Kruger get at least 12-14 minutes a night, he is a good, young player

  5. Al says:

    Nick Leddy is starting to carry up the puck with a lot more confidence. Looks like a young Campbell in the making. It is obvious that when the defense gets involved offensivley, the Hawks are a better team. Also, who knew what a good player Car Bomb was. He has impressed me most this season. I thought he was going to be a joke, boy was I wrong. The kind can play…

  6. Ivan says:

    Some scoring chances were definitely the result of playing Scott, Olesz not so much. Not anymore or less than a star player.

  7. Milton says:

    John Scott is not an NHL hockey player. The fact that we are 5-1-1 with Scott in the lineup means nothing. Eventually we are going to get burned having him in the lineup. Send him to Rockford and let Mayers and Carcillo do the job. They may be overmatched in a few situations, but they are not liabilities as Scott is.

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