Chicago Blackhawks @ Buffalo Sabres
Final Score: 4-3 Hawks
00:14-BUF-Drew Stafford  (Derek Roy , Jordan Leopold )
2:43-BUF-Derek Roy  (Jochen Hecht , Stafford )
7:44-CHI-PPG-Patrick Kane  (Duncan Keith )
4:08-CHI-Nick Leddy  (Nick Boynton , Tomas Kopecky )
18:47-CHI-Marian Hossa  (Bryan Bickell )
3:36-CHI-Marian Hossa  (Unassisted)
5:24-BUF-Tim Connolly  (Steve Montador , Tyler Ennis )
The Hawks were looking to stop a two game slide Monday as they were facing the Buffalo Sabres.
The game didn't start out very pretty for the defending Stanley Cup Champions though.
14 seconds in, Drew Stafford scored first for the Sabres on rookie goaltender Corey Crawford, who was making his first start of the season.
Derek Roy brought the puck into the Hawks zone down the left wing boards and passed the puck to Stafford in the left circle. Stafford let a wrist shot go and it beat Crawford glove side.
It didn't get much better after that. 1:29 later, with the same top line for Buffalo out there, Stafford beat Brent Seabrook to a puck just above the red line and came around the net and sent a centering pass to the slot. Jochen Hecht picked it up and fired a shot on net. Crawford gave up a rebound and Roy, lurking out in front, got to it and managed to shovel it home to give the Sabres a two goal lead.
The Hawks closed within one at the 7:44 mark with a goal from hometown boy, Patrick Kane, on the power play.
In the high slot, Duncan Keith dropped a beautiful, behind the back pass for Kane. Kane picked it up and walked in to the top of the circles and let a wicked wrister go that beat Vezina trophy winner Ryan Miller topshelf, blocker side.
It spiraled back down for the Hawks after that when defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson got a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct after he dropped the hammer on Jason Pominville.
Pominville was along the left halfwall of his own zone, waiting for a pass from a couple of feet in front of him. He looked over his shoulder to see Hjalmarsson coming in for the hit. Instead of moving for said hit, he put his head down to look at the pass in his feet and got his world rocked. The hit was shoulder to shoulder, or shoulder to shoulder blade and Pominville hit his head against the glass and crumpled to the ice. Hjalmarsson was then jumped by Sabres defending their teammate.
Following that, Hjalmarsson was tossed, the Sabres got no penalties for jumping him--for lack of a better word--, Pominville was taken off on a stretcher, and the Hawks had to kill off a five minute Buffalo power play, down a key, shot-blocking defenseman.
The hit was a touch from behind, yes, which many people argue made it dirty, whereas others say it was a clean hit with an unfortunate ending.
"To me you can argue that it was even a penalty," Coach Joel Quenneville said, "I know that you don't want to see anybody go down and get hurt like that, but he wasn't even looking at the guy. He was playing the puck and just hit him. The way he went in, he was compromised, but there was no intent at all on the head."
The Hawks successfully killed it off and gained some momentum. At the end of 20, they were still only down one goal.
"I think that was the turning point, definitely," winger Marian Hossa said after the game, "Obviously to kill five minutes is not easy, but I think we did an excellent job. Everybody went [out] there for a short time and we kept rolling, I think, three or four units and that was great to see."
The Hawks tied the game up 4:08 into the second period with help from one of their youngsters.
Nick Leddy got his first career NHL goal with a slapshot from the high slot that deflected off of Shaone Morrisonn's skate and into the empty cage with Miller facing the other way. Hawks Captain Jonathan Toews made sure to pick up the milestone puck to give to Leddy.
"[It was] nice to see the kid get a goal," Quenneville said.
After Leddy's goal, Marian Hossa took over.
Hossa gave the Hawks their first lead of the game after Bryan Bickell sent a pass from the right halfwall over to him, waiting at the opposing blue line. Hossa walked in on the breakaway and from the slot, he faked a slap shot, and then wristed one past Miller, five-hole, for his second of the young season.
"I think they forgot about me. It was a late change," Hossa said about the goal, "I saw we had the puck so I kinda hanged up there and had a chance on the breakaway.
Hossa continued to tear it up and at the 3:36 mark of the third, added an unassisted goal for the Hawks' first two goal lead this year.
He stole the puck in the neutral zone and walked in along the left wing boards of Buffalo's zone on a two on one.
From the bottom right of the left circle, Hossa sent his quick wrist shot past Miller, glove side.
Not long after that though, Buffalo got one back with Tim Connolly's first of the season.
Connolly was waiting backdoor and put home a crosscrease pass from Steve Montador. Crawford really had no chance on it.
But the Hawks were able to hang on for their first win of the year, with some big saves from Crawford down the stretch.
After the game, Hjalmarsson had this to say about the hit:
"Everything happened so fast. But I thought it was a hit shoulder to shoulder. Everything went so fast out there and my intention obviously wasn't to hurt him. I heard our doctor [say] he's up walking so, that's a big relief. It's never fun seeing a guy lay on the ice like that."
On Tuesday, the league took disciplinary action against the young defenseman and handed him a two game suspension for the hit in which gave Pominville a concussion.
•Buffalo outshot the Hawks 35-30.
-The Hawks' power play went 1-3 and the Sabres' went 0-5.
-The Sabres won 32 faceoffs and the Hawks took 21.
•The 3 stars of the game were:
1. Marian Hossa
2. Derek Roy
3. Nick Boynton
•The scratches for the Hawks were:
-Brian Campbell [on IR]
-Jordan Hendry [healthy scratch]
•The Hawks' centermen's faceoff percentages were:
-Jonathan Toews: 56%
-Dave Bolland: 33.3%
-Patrick Sharp: 30.8%
-Jake Dowell: 0%
•Marian Hossa had 6 shots on goal.
-Patrick Kane had 5.
•Marian Hossa's 5 points [3G 2A] are tied for the league lead.
-Tomas Kopecky's 3 assists are tied for 3rd in the league.
•Duncan Keith was on the ice for 31:42.
-8:12 of that ice time was shorthanded.
-Keith also had 4 blocked shots.
•Brent Seabrook had 3 hits and lead the Hawks with 32 shifts.
•The win was Corey Crawford's second of his career.
•The Hawks' record is 1-1-1 with 3 points.
•The Hawks' next game is Wednesday night at 7:30 at the United Center. They play the Nashville Predators on Comcast Sportsnet.
|Nick Leddy holds his first goal puck.|
|Patrick Kane celebrates his 1st period power play goal.|
|Marian Hossa celebrates with Bryan Bickell after Hossa's first goal of the game in the second period.|