December 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am
Doug wanted at least three points on the recent back-to-back, and he got four. However, it’s a time of giving, and I could argue that all four points were gifts from the hockey gods. As I said on the recent podcast, if Ivan Vishnevskiy hadn’t fumbed the puck into our own net, Dallas would have tied that game; I’m sure of it. And last night, Nabby withstood a hailstorm of biblical proportions, making 45 saves, giving the Sharks the win despite being on the short end of just about every statistical category, even faceoffs.
Watching the post-game interview with Dan Boyle with the sound off, you would have guessed that they lost. Other than the power play, which was pretty damn good, there weren’t a lot of high spots. One high spot was Patrick Marleau, who again made the Hawks defense look incredibly foolish, generating chances for himself out of very little. This guy HAS to be on the Canadian Olympic team. In fact, it was a veritable showcase of Olympic talent last night- Marleau, Heatley, Thornton, Boyle, Pavelski, Kane, Toews, Keith, and Seabrook all have good shots at making their respective teams, and that’s just North America. Nabby, Hossa, Hjallmersson, and Murray are the European reps.
Clearly this was a marquee matchup, and the Sharks came out on top. A win’s a win, right? I suppose. It’s difficult to believe that the Sharks would win another game if they played Chicago ten more times like that, so it rings a bit hollow with me. As I’m writing this, Doug just texted me with “Last night was a perfect example of why the Hawks will not win a Cup with Huet.” But I disagree. Huet had two consecutive shutouts before last night, and gave up only two goals on 33 shots the night before that. I do admit that Huet wouldn’t be my first choice to backstop a Stanley Cup contender, but given the Hawks are best in shots allowed, and second best in shots taken, they can continue to shield Huet if they keep playing like this.
Actually, there were times last night where I thought to myself that this Hawks team was not unlike the Sharks last year. Gaudy shot totals, though many were of the unscreened long range variety. Top of the league in December (they still are in my mind, because they have two games in hand). Could Chicago meet the same fate at the Sharks did last year, because they “peaked too early”? Who knows? All I know is there’s no way I’m missing the final matchup of the season between these two teams on 1/28.