The Hawks continued their mini Canadian Tour Thursday night with a stop at the old Saddledome for a battle with the Calgary Flames. This was an interesting match-up for me because I was curious how the Flames would approach this one after the embarrassing loss to the Hawks a few weeks earlier. Close to game time it was announced that Jonathan Toews would not be playing as he was out with a non covid related illness. This is the second time he has missed a game for this reason, and with his history of medical issues, anytime he is out for an illness you hope its a flu bug and nothing more serious.
The Hawks came out much better than they have in the last three games as they actually out shot the Flames 9-6. Raddysh’s solid season continues as he got the Hawks on the board late in the first for his 13th of the season. However, the Flames would tie it up as they scored with under 30 seconds left in the period. Classic Hawks letting up a goal in the final minute of the period and usually when this happens their opponents come out buzzing the next period, but not on this night. The Hawks would go on to score 4 unanswered goals, mostly from role players such as Katchouk, Dickinson, and Lafferty. Murphy would put the bow in this one, scoring his 5th of the season in the final minute of the 3rd period.
This was a great response game for this team, as I mentioned earlier, their last few games have been extremely bad with a poor performance from the offensive side of the puck. After being held to 18, 19, and 14 shots in their last 3 games, this team was able to get 29 shots on net and looked a lot better in the Flames zone. What I really liked from this team as an offensive unit is that 13 players recorded at least one point and this included every forward expect Reese Johnson. I love seeing the depth players get involved and be a major factor in this game and I think the role that players like Dickinson and Lafferty have played this season, might have just played themselves off this team and help get us a few more draft picks, but more on that in a few weeks. Also have to give a shoutout to Luke Philp who would register his first career point when he assisted on Katchouks 2nd period goal.
Now, as much as I love it when the offense is firing on all cylinders, what I really have been loving is the goaltending this team has been getting as of late. These guys are playing great and making sure we aren’t getting embarrassed on a nightly basis. I really have to give a shoutout to Jaxson Stauber who was making his 2nd career start, and man if you didn’t follow the Hawks you would have thought he’s been in this league for awhile. He stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced and finished the game with a .971 SV%. With him picking up his 2nd win of the season, he has done something no Hawks goalie has done since 1971, which was win his first two career starts. I talked about it after the St. Louis game. I am not sure what the future holds for Stauber and where he fits into the future plans in net. However, if he continues to take advantage of his opportunities, he might force management to really consider putting him in their plans.
The Hawks tonight will wrap up their 3 game road trip against the Edmonton McDavids and then go on a 9 day break. Things will start to get very interesting once this break is over as they have 12 games in the month of February and 7 of those games come against teams who, as the standings currently sit are in the bottom 10 of the league. It’s worth noting that only the bottom 10 teams could land the first overall pick in the draft lottery this spring. What is also going to make things interesting is once the Hawks are back on the ice, there will be only 24 days before the NHL Trade Deadline. Things will start to heat up as teams make their push to solidify their rosters for the playoffs. I think what I take comfort in knowing is that its just a little over three more weeks of having to listen to every dumb Kane and Toews rumor out there. We will finally have answers.