Though not able to leave Jersey with two points the Hawks played a very solid game despite the first five minutes. For a newly offensive schemed team the Devils were impressive. Parise remains one of my favorite players to watch and I often ponder what kind of player it would take to get him in an Indian head. But nonetheless we learned a lot about this hawk team last night.
1. The ability to answer and dominate a game after an uninspired effort on home ice in the previous outing. They took it to the Devils and with out arguably the best goalie of all time in net, I think the Hawks win that game very handily. Brodeur was fantastic and continues to awe the hockey world.
2. Have all four lines establishing a forecheck and creating offense. It was not Marian Hossa's best game, but you still know when he's on the ice. Patrick Kane was good, not great, but for the most part played a solid three zone game. I liked the play of Marcus Kruger and the line of 16-10-25 was very good all night.
3. Lastly, I was especially surprised by the play of Corey Crawford. During that nine game skid a loss like the one to Nashville Sunday would have spiraled out of control. Crow was sensational and if not for him the Hawks lose in overtime. His save on Parise may fly under the radar but lets be honest, it was the kind of big save that he made in the seven game series with Vancouver last year. Once again he's coming on at an important point.
The negative- The PP woes continue and I will explain what needs to happen to fix it.
1. The Hawks need a player to step up and fill the role Brian Campbell had. Clean, crisp zone entry is one of the most important parts of a good power play. It allows the unit to set up and dissect where the space is that the opposing team is not covering. Detroit is the best at this and Hawk fans know how deadly their unit is.
2. Winning loose puck battles. The Hawks don't do this. On the Power Play the hard work is done when your team looses possession of the puck. A week or two ago Jamal Mayers was on the PP unit and I noticed PP goals and solid opportunities coming from it. He wins battles and works hard to get the puck to the skill players. The lunch pale skill players are what win those battles and keep power plays alive. They also finish checks on clearing attempts which can cause turn overs or misfirings resulting in opportunities.
All in all it is a point and it gives the Hawks a six point cushion to sit on going into tonight's action. Tomorrow brings the Western Conference leading St. Louis Blues to the UC and another heated rivalry game with the playoffs approaching.
Thanks for reading,