John Jaeckel: How To Win On The Road

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Two points. Two points on the road. Two points on the road against a very good team. Two points on the road against a very good team when you don’t play your best game.

Check. Check. Check. And check.

The Hawks did it all last night, taking a 3-2 shootout win against the Stars in the season opener.

A lot of Hawks didn’t show up last night, but fortunately, Patrick Sharp (1G/1A), Corey Crawford (brilliant all night) and Niklas Hjalmarsson did.

So there’s much to feel good about as the Hawks come home to face a rebuilding Sabres club Saturday night. Or is there?

You know I can’t have a silver lining without a cloud.

Well, the Hawks showed again that they are an elite club that knows how to win in tough situations with the complementary and depth players to step up when the top stars might not.

The penalty kill was, for the most part (1 for 6) stellar. And the Hawks got a power play marker themselves

Some concerns might be that the Hawks might need to juggle the lines a bit and find some chemistry. The much ballyhooed Saad/Shaw/Kane line was nothing special last night, especially through the first two periods.. Though Kane was at times magical, especially in the shootout. Mr. Lehtonen, you may claim your glove and jockstrap at lost and found.

David Rundblad and Trevor van Riemsdyk didn’t play a lot, further demonstrating the coaching staff’s wafer thin faith in young players, and how vulnerable the Hawks are to an injury on their Top Four.

Overall, with the exception of Sharp playing with some snarl and Bryan Bickell absolutely crushing Kevin Connauton, the Hawks were fairly manhandled by a team with a lot of speed and skill as well. And yes the Hawks were outshot by a fairly wide margin—Crawford however delivered like a $6 million a year goalie.

So if you’re the Hawks, you take the points and move on, realizing you can’t just throw your sticks on the ice and win, particularly in a stacked Central Division.

All for now,

JJ

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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