If there's one thing Hawks fans want to take out of this mini-road trip to encourage them about the rest of the season -- and it's probably too early to do that but let's have some fun -- it's how they closed out both games.
On Tuesday, with a lead entering the 3rd, the Hawks were able to kill a team off and make things easy on themselves. On Thursday, they tied with the hottest team in the league in their den, and the Hawks found a way to gain two points and held onto them.
These were two things the Hawks couldn't do last year, and any sign of not having to deal with the angina-kickings they gave us last year is a welcome one. How did it happen?
- The Hawks got a dominant game from Duncan Keith, which they require to be elite. Can't remember the last time that happened, but it's good to have it back. The Avs play the game that Leddy and Keith can deal with, they don't just put the puck behind the d-men and then try and grind their boards for their bread into the end boards. But still, the Avs were scoring goals for fun before this game, and it's good to see Keith and Leddy shut them down.
- The penalty kill is back. Shooting lanes are clogged down, and Keith and Hjalmarsson -- who had just about as strong of a game as Keith did --weren't allergic to tying things up in front of their net.
- It would have been a lot easier had Semyon Varlamov not channeled Poseidon to keep the Hawks at 1 for the longest stretch.
- The Avs also play into the Hawks' hands by having their d-men consistently chase below their goal line, where Jonathan Toews, Andrew Brunette, Marian Hossa and others are going to dominate their mediocre defense anyway. Both goals came from there. Keep it up Saturday, Avs. We don't mind.
- Their rookie Gabriel Landeskog is going to be a star very soon.
- Not sure why Steve Montador only got 12 minutes, but on this night I won't complain (I think La Russa just changed pitchers again).
- Kane hasn't scored in the last two. Look out Saturday