‘coz every girl’s crazy about a sharp dressed man

What. A. Comeback.

Short one goal for a hat trick, there was no better way for Patrick Sharp’s return to have played out than it did today against the LA Kings. First goal of the game. An assist for the second. An empty netter from deep in the ‘Hawks zone to clinch the win–I don’t think he was even trying to get that one; it looked more like a lucky bounce more than anything else. (And just for kicks, Havlat scored another one too, bringing the tally up 4-1.) Hell, he even overtook Patrick Kane in the race for lead goal scorer, coming up with 25 goals to Kane’s and Havlat’s 24, only 4 goals behind Toews’ 29. It’s the Blackhawks’ first win in the last 6 games they’ve played, after going 7-7-3 without Sharp, who was injured on Valentine’s Day in a game against the Dallas Stars.

I knew the team was hurting from Sharp’s absence, but man, I didn’t know they were hurting that much. I honestly did not expect him to play the way he did tonight, but you know what, that’s because I’ve always thought all those Mighty Duck-esque stories were just in the movies.  (Who am I kidding? This is hockey. This is the Blackhawks. Those stories are real.) And the great thing–the fantastic thing–is that Sharp isn’t the only one who shone tonight. Not by a long shot. Those three regulation losses were hard to take, and the overtime losses? They were bad, but they showed a team that was building up to an effort like tonight. (May I also mention the spectacular LACK of penalties taken? Save for Pahlsson’s interference that cost us a shutout and that first penalty for too many men on the ice, we were squeaky-clean. Meanwhile, the Kings were all over the place.)

Martin Havlat

Come on. Beautiful passing between Marty and Sharp led to the second goal of the night, and then that second empty-netter with 18 seconds left in the game basically clinched it. He’s already given one lucky fan $1million from scoring at the 10:00 mark in January’s Monday game against Minnesota, but tonight he also gave all the United Center attendees a Big Mac from scoring in the last minute of the period.

Brent Seabrook

Seven hits tonight. Seven. Hits. (Take a look at everyone else– Keith had just two and the rest of the 19 total hits are spread out among the rest of the team.) This is the sort of physical presence that our boys have been lacking most of the season, and it’s just damn good to see Seabrook stepping up.

Brian Campbell

Oh, Soupy. Coach Q has hinted before that Soupy was simply lacking in confidence somewhat, and well. It looks like he’s getting it back. He played a mean 25:57 minutes of ice time tonight, 30 seconds MORE than the Blackhawks workhorse Keith, and he’s learned to read plays enough to be offensive or defensive accordingly. No crazy, botched Spin-o-ramas for Soupy tonight, and here’s to hoping he’s really on his way back to being the D-man he was at the beginning of the season.

Duncan Keith

This man needed a star, but I guess there weren’t enough to go around. From a +27, he earned a +3 in tonight’s game (and they weren’t just passively earned– he had assists for all of them) to get him to +30. Of course, the +/- leader is Zajac from the Devils and Wheeler from Boston, with +36 points each, but they’ve also played 72 games, while Dunc’s only played 67 thus far.

The Last Eleven Games

Of course, I hardly think this means that everything is going to be easier from here on out. Quite frankly, the Blackhawks will have to start fighting tooth and nail to come out on top (or, well, maybe at least fourth seed?) at the end of the season, because damn, it is not going to be easy.

The last three games of this home stand will be against San Jose (currently gunning for first in the Western Conference, maybe even the President’s Trophy), New Jersey (Does Brodeur’s 552nd win ring a bell? Which team was that against again? Us? Oh.), and Vancouver (who keep insisting on unseating us from 4th, gah, go away, home ice is ours–OURS, I say!). Then we’re up against Montreal (no comment) and April will be a mix of home and away games against the Central Division, against whom we have our worst record. 

So yeah, if we wanted to be a little realistic, we probably blew off what could have been the ‘easier’ part of the second half of the season, but hey, tonight is just the kind of night we needed, and maybe this will help us a lot in the next games to come. 

Like Jonathan Toews said, “If we keep working, we’re going to get the breaks. We have to. We’ve got too much talent and too much character in this room not to.”

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