Great road win on the second half of a back-to-back last night in Montreal. The Blackhawks have started out exactly how they’ve needed to at the start of the 2017-18 season. They’ve played four playoff teams from last year and have come away with 7 out of a possible 8 points. Pretttayyy pretttay prettty good. Like I said yesterday, we going to do a recap the morning after a game as much as my schedule allows(I’m traveling on Thursday for instance). Let’s get to it.
1) Corey Crawford Is A Superstar
Okay so just to clarify the opening paragraph. It’s great to get a win in that spot, but last night wasn’t necessarily a great win. It was a goalie win. Corey Crawford was spectacular. 41 saves and weathered the storm late as Montreal pushed. He’s now 8-0-2 for his career in Montreal. I feel like he still doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He owns a .971 sv% right now.
The Blackhawks need Corey Crawford, especially early this season. The reality is that they have a bunch of new players, especially on defense, they’re missing shutdown type guys like Hossa, Kruger, and Hjalmarsson from previous years. They are going to need Corey Crawford to cover up some mistakes as they break in this group of guys to Joel’s system. Being able to bank points early in the year while guys are still getting used to each other and their jobs is HUGE and they can thank Corey Crawford for that.
2) As Predicted, Alex DeBrincat Scored His First NHL Goal Last Night
In case you missed yesterday’s recap:
I can smell a goal coming of him. He’s doing enough good things that I think he’s going to earn that first NHL goal tonight in Montreal. It’s coming.
Everything I said there was true and came true. DeBrincat had been dangerous, he had been working hard, creating chances for his teammates. When you have good habits, good things happened, and he was rewarded last night. And it couldn’t have been any sweeter because it was a BEAUTY of a goal in hockey’s holiest city against the world’s best goalie.
He is going to score a ton of goals in his career exactly like that. Putting himself in a great position and used his elite shot to snipe one home. He and Sharp have been really good together this year. Sharp is another guy who understands scoring, how to find space, and how to put his teammates in scoring position. You put two smart guys with big time shots together and they’re going to produce. That line will be nice all year long.
I don’t like throwing shade at former Blackhawks, but it looks like the Andrew Shaw for 2016 draft picks #39 and #45 is going to be a win for Stan Bowman. DeBrincat appears to be the real deal and Shaw’s cap hit looks bad now that he has zero production and doesn’t even seem to bring the same energy he brought when he was in Chicago.
3) Connor Murphy Was A Healthy Scratch
The big chip the Blackhawks got back in the Hjalmarsson deal was the first right shot dman to be rotated out. Look, I understand wanting to get Cody Franson a game, I understand finding a good rotation among 8 defensemen on the active roster is tough, and I understand that Seabrook and Rutta have looked better in the first three games, buttttttt Murphy is an important piece to this puzzle going forward. He’s the guy the Blackhawks are committed to financially through 2022. He’s still a young player who needs time to develop. Maybe he was a sore after getting trucked by Matt Martin the night before. I don’t know. I also don’t know the answer to needing to find games for Murphy, Franson, Rutta and Oesterle. It’s not that big of a deal that Murphy sat I guess, but it got my attention.
4) The Thiccc Boyz Are Trouble For The Entire League
Saad, Toews, and Panik are beautiful to watch. Too big, too strong, too fast, too skilled. They are ANIMALS on the forecheck. The rate at which they’re turning the defense over and creating chances in unbelievable. Brandon Saad, who is still somehow only 24 years-old, looks like he has taken a BIG step in his development. Loaned him out to CBJ for a couple years, and now he comes back looking like a guy who can score 40 in the NHL. The Blackhawks needed more scoring depth around the Patrick Kane line, and they have it in a big way. All things considered, Saad-Toews-Panik has a chance to be the most effective line in hockey. They’re great all over the ice. It’s great to have guys that go to and finish around the net again.
5) I Love Tommy Wingels, Lance Bouma…Not So Much
Pretty early on last night we saw Joel Quenneville flip Patrick Kane and Lance Bouma in the lineup. It may have been for balance among the four lines, but to me it looked like it was because Wingels and Hayden were bringing energy and had the puck, while Anisimov and Hartman were fighting it a bit. With Schmaltz coming back into the lineup hopefully Thursday, you have to think that Wingels stays in and Bouma goes to the press box. Wingels just brings more to the table at this point. Love his energy and physicality. He’s responsible, he’s tough, and he just always seems to be winning races and battles. A 4th line of Wingels-Ker0-Hayden has real potential to be an impactful line for this team.
As I said, great job points 2 points in the bank by the boys last night. They did enough to win and got outstanding goaltending. 3-0-1 against the Eastern Conference to start the year, and now Thursday Night the Blackhawks will have their first divisional game against those lil bitch boys from Minnesota. Daddy is back, Minnesota.