Ray Emery, Defense Dominate Sens

After a comeback win against the Leafs that ultimately cost Ron Wilson the coaching job in Toronto on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks played a fantastic defensive game against the Ottawa Senators on Friday to earn two big points.

And no Blackhawks player was bigger in the outcome than former Sens netminder Ray Emery.

Emery, who was bought out by the Sens a few years ago, gave up an awkward goal to Milan Michalek late in the first period but was exceptional the rest of the night. Aided by one of the better defensive performances by the skaters in front of him, Emery made a number of huge saves in the second and third periods to earn the win. He stopped 25 of 26 shots in the game and fought hard to preserve the 2-1 victory.

He had to be great to win, though. Robin Lehner, the starter between the pipes for the Sens, was incredible. He stopped 37 of 39 shots in the game and was the only reason Ottawa was in the game after Chicago put 17 goals on net in each of the first two periods.

Bryan Bickell played another solid game, coming back to life since being put back with Dave Bolland. He led the team with five hits, was credited with three blocked shots and scored the game-tying goal early in the second period in traffic in front of the net.

Marian Hossa scored the game-winning goal against his former employer, his 27th of the season. Patrick Sharp had assists on both goals, and Patrick Kane played another really good game at center in the absence of Jonathan Toews.

As was the case on Wednesday night, the youngsters on the roster made a significant impact.

Jimmy Hayes was also strong in the game; he was credited with three hits in just over six minutes of ice time. Marcus Kruger had an assist and two hits, Nick Leddy had two blocked shots and a takeaway (in 22:32), and Dylan Olsen had a blocked shot.

Andrew Shaw was all over the ice in the third period, and was credited with two hits and two takeaways in 17:40 on the ice. Shaw played a great final 20 minutes on the defensive end of the ice.

This may have been the most complete defensive effort from the Blackhawks since before the nine-game losing streak, and Emery’s last five periods should (read: must) have cemented his place on top of the depth chart in Chicago.

12 thoughts on “Ray Emery, Defense Dominate Sens

  • March 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I find it ironic that the night Emery takes the starting job Carlyle also gets a job.Go Ray, if you can do a repeat of last year, we need it!

  • March 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I agree the defence played great…it’s encouraging to see what Oduya is bringing and Lepisto has been pretty solid too….

    But tonight was also about our offence. The Hawks dominated the first two frames and really the game should have been over after 2 periods if only Bruno & others could have finished on numerous quality chances. Kane was the best player on the ice again for the second straight game – good to see. Hopefully JT will return soon and if we can continue playing like this we could make some serious noise down the stretch.

  • March 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Great win tonight! The Hawks top line of Kane, Hossa, and Brunette have performed tremendously, especially tonight with numerous great chances and it was a TOTAL team effort. The kids played great. Time to get some rest b/c the Hawks have two REALLY big games coming up (Sunday @ DET and Tuesday @ STL). Let’s go streaking Hawks!

  • March 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Why the F hasn’t Quennville been using Lepisto all season? Especially compared with Scott. He’s been great.

  • March 2, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I just gotta say, I love Hossa’s game so much. He does so much outside the obvious of scoring huge goals and being our best back checker. The way he possesses the puck on the wing, and draws one and usually two defenders on him works wonders for our team—from allowing teammates to get into position in the offensive zone to giving others the opportunity for a line change. His game is absolutely brilliant.

  • March 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Decent game defensively against a high power offense. Ottawa is horrible on the defensive side of things and generally gives up a decent amount of scoring chances. Hawks need to start capitalizing on more scoring chances though especially against solid defensive teams such as the Rangers and Blues (who do not give up nearly as many scoring chances as the Sens). Teams are also catching on to the hawks tendency to turn the puck over when throwing the puck up the boards instead of using center of the ice. Kane is a better fit at the center position. He is more successful when he gets more touches and has more room to work with in the center. Oduya is decent defensively and is great at getting the puck safely out of the D Zone, he even sprung sharp with a great stretch pass. He already seems have good team chemistry. Good game against a team that has the same playing style as the Hawks. Emery was great tonight. In my opinion this was the first “goalie win” of the year.

  • March 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Much, much better effort from Kane…he must play like this if we have any chance of winning another game without Toews…the kids were wonderful to watch again, especially Kruger and Shaw…

    Kruger is becoming a GOOD NHL player right in front of our eyes…Hayes and Shaw are going to be very nice players for a long time…

    Emery was great…Crawford has really let this team down and it is up to Ray to lead between the pipes the rest of the way.

  • March 3, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I enjoyed that game but the next two will be tough buildings. St. Louis and Detroit. Chicago does play well against them and if they somehow get two points out of those two games I’ll be happy.

    Kaner at center was solid but hopefully his frustration doesn’t get the better of him. It does suck that he played so well and got no points on the stat sheet but make no mistake, he was extremely effective out there. Maybe Toews injury will help Kane grow as a player. In fact the whole team may, just may, bond tight as a group with no Toews to lean on. They did it in Pittsburgh without Crosby. Why not here?

  • March 3, 2012 at 3:48 am

    That was a great win. I’m a big fan of Crawford and I still am, but they’ve got to go with Emery as the starter from here on out. That guy knows how to battle and was moving very well. Kaner was a monster, and I like the energy from the rookies. Shaw is just not afraid to go anywhere and had to take a big hit once to let the puck through into the opposite end.
    Tough games coming up, but if they perform the way they did tonight, I wouldn’t be too worried about the result. Let’s go Hawks!

  • March 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I can’t agree more. There was energy…. specifically with all the forwards backchecking, heck finishing checks. Bruno was solid. His best game of the season.

    Kane… what can you say, fantastic. I agree, maybe he will seize the moment and take the step toward leadership. I have to wonder if he is finally feeling better, in reference to his wrist. His game is substantially different. Or is it just a mind set.

    Kruger has a great feel for the game. I wonder if he is the type of player who can develop into a #2 center. However he has to gain some muscle. His courage is something the entire team should respect. This little guy going to the net, awesome.

    Razer was again very solid. His hands are great. I still am worried about his legs. I think he got lucky a few times because he was a little slow from side to side. However you can just tell his experience is the difference between him and craw.

    Thanks…. now just don’t lay an egg at Joe Louis.

  • March 3, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Just like the Leafs game, nobody threw in the towel after the first period and said, “it just isn’t our night.”

    Yes we did seem to be jinxed on the breakaway’s but the good aggressive play that led to those chances was awesome. Also the passing out of our zone, thru the neutral zone was very clean and crisp. Yeah we can clean up a few things, but I like how hard and relentless this team is playing right now.

  • March 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse, boys. This was a decent game. We still let up way too many chances from the slot area. Emery needed to be solid and he was. Although we won the game, we played “soft”, at times. Example: On Ottawa’s goal, Bolland had Spezza lined up at the redline, Spezza lost the puck and Bolland had a chance to put a good, solid shoulder into his chest and he chose to try and play the puck. He missed the puck and Spezza regained control, passed to his left and they scored. If Bolland FINISHES HIS CHECK, they never score on that play.

    If we play like that against Detroit, we’ll lose. We need to do these three things against Detroit in order to win the game: 1. Crash the net 2. Finish our checks 3. Protect our defensive slot area. We do those three things, we win.

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