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The Blackhawks delivered a dominant third period against the Sabres last night, outscoring the visitor 4-0 and outshooting them 19-4 in that 20 minute span.
The penalty kill was perfect, the power play 1 for 4, and the Hawks got scoring from 3 of 4 lines and a defenseman.
So all that’s good—and they’re 2-0.
What’s a little troubling is that the Sabres are a team the Hawks should dominate, and they didn’t for most of the first 40 minutes last night. The Hawks came out flying, scored a couple of quick goals, then seemed to get a little intoxicated by the strains of Chelsea Dagger reverberating around the arena, and started playing way too cute—which the Sabres took advantage of as best they could.
Hey, things happen but the “cute” factor, as pointed out by Ed Olczyk on the CSN broadcast last night, was also evident against Dallas the other night, when the Hawks probably should have lost.
So this is something the Hawks will need to watch, though certainly Joel Quenneville’s facial expressions last night made clear that he was none too pleased by the end of the second period.
Another issue: forwards playing the point on the power play. In the absence of Nick Leddy, and unless David Rundblad can step up here, the Hawks are relying heavily on Brad Richards and Patrick Sharp in this regard and they got burned last night by Richards not being able to handle a puck, leading to a Tyler Ennis goal.
Rundblad had a miscue as well, seemingly due to hitting a bad patch of ice but was bailed out on a nice save by Corey Crawford. Beyond that, on the positive side of the line, I thought Rundblad (+2) and Trevor van Riemsdyk had nice games. And they certainly could use more of them as they try to step into regular roles on the Hawk blueline.
Finally, how about that Dan Carcillo, flying all over the ice, generating scoring chances, drawing penalties, scoring goals?
Wonders never cease. The Hawks are 2-0 but clearly still have some wrinkles to work out.
All for now,
This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.