Well, the first two periods of tonight’s Chicago-Columbus game may have been the most boring 40 minutes of hockey I have ever paid to see. Especially from the perspective of a Chicago fan.
— John Jaeckel (@jaeckel) December 29, 2019
At the second intermission, the Hawks were down 2-0 and had registered an anemic 12 shots on goal. That “lovable” Erik Gustafsson, pressed into playing bigger and more important situational minutes in the absences of Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta and Brent Seabrook, had made an inexplicably bad play from behind his own net that led directly to the second Columbus goal.
But the Hawks came out in the third and decided to make a game of it—and they did—first when Dylan Strome tipped a Connor Murphy point shot past Joonas Korpisalo, and then in the waning moments of the third when “Gus” gained a measure of redemption by blasting one over Korpisalo’s shoulder, pushing the game to OT.
The Hawks had some chances in OT, thanks mostly to a Columbus high sticking call, but they failed to convert, and the game went to a shootout. While Robin Lehner had been strong really all night to that point, the Chicago faithful—well represented in Cbus tonight—were on pins and needles for the one real flaw in Lehner’s game: the shootout.
— NHL (@NHL) December 30, 2019
First, Lehner made a save on Pierre-Luc Dubois. and Jonathan Toews beat Korpisalo—with the starting CBJ netminder coming up lame, which forced Elvis Merzlikins (yes, a dude named Elvis, who is also named Merzlikins) to warm up. Then Lehner was cleanly beaten by Gus Nyquist. But the shootout, and the game, ended when Patrick Kane went forehand/backhand and roofed one over Merzlikins—who had to know that was exactly what Kane was going to do—and still couldn’t stop it.
The Blackhawks quite fortunately picked up two points in this game, albeit against a Columbus team with nearly as many injuries as Chicago has.
It’s nice to see the Hawks, as banged up and, well, crappy as they are picking up two straight wins. But is anyone out there getting excited again about this team? Share your thoughts on our message board below.