New York Rangers' Artem Anisimov left, prepares to score against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Friday, Mar. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
It may be cliché, but there are moments in a season where one can reflect upon and realize that a game won was the turning point in a season. While it is too early to determine if the Blackhawks’ victory over the Rangers was indeed the fortuitous season changer, their determination and aggression sure made it feel like one of those moments.
This one came down to guts, or another part of the anatomy I won't mention (this is a family show after all). Despite playing with energy and determination, the Hawks still found themselves trailing in the 3rd against the best goalie in the game and the best defense that the Eastern Conference has to offer. The Rangers could have coasted to victory without effort, but thanks to the Hawks’ resiliency they only enjoyed the lead for seven minutes.
The Hawks were clean in their own zone for the most part. Their gap on breakouts was where it needed to be, with forwards giving their defense options. Yes, the same hiccups emerged yet again, but no team is perfect. The Hawks were disciplined on the attack, getting pucks deep when there was nothing else available. Proof is in the pudding, or in this case four pucks in the net.
Each goal resulted from a hard forecheck, creating a turnover, and getting chances to seize opportunity. The first goal was all graft, as Andrew Shaw worked hard to create the opening for Johnny Oduya. Oduya did something the Hawks’ d-men haven't had the foresight to do all year- get a man down on the ice and create a shooting lane. It resulted in Shaw's tip.
The Hawks equalizer in the 3rd started with good work from Seabrook and Kane, but it was only finished because of the kind of brilliance that only Sharp, Kane, and Hossa can create. I don't know where Hossa found the lane to find Sharp. It resulted in Shaw’s tip.
The Hawks equalizer in the 3rd started with good work from Seabrook and Kane, but it was only finished because of the kind of brilliance that only Sharp, Kane, and Hossa can create. No one will ever know how Hossa found the lane to deliver the puck to Sharp, but that's why he's earning those large paychecks.
That is a comeback win over the East's best when the Hawks had to have it. It gives them a seven point gap on the trap door in the West, with a chance to spread that to nine on Sunday. For now, it feels pretty good.