Is it that we were really good in the third period, or that Chicago was really bad?
I think it is a little of both. If we look at the season so far there is a pattern of Chicago collapsing in the third, and the Rivermen being strong in the final frame. The Rivermen have been perfect in the third period, giving up exactly ZERO goals.
Chicago has… um… sucked. If I have done my math right (no guarantees) then last night’s four goals in the third were the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th goals given up by Chicago in third periods alone this season. Their offense has been anemic as well, but yet they still manage be ahead in the win column at 4-2-0-0 (one being an OT win against us).
The Rivermen offense has been largely absent as well, I mean PELUSO as our leading scorer? Is this odd to anyone else? But it finally seemed to jump to life last night. The team once again bent but didn’t break, helping to ease the memory of the total cluster[censored] that was the Abbotsford trip. Grachev finally managed to get a whack at a puck and, oh look, found the back of the net. He’s a big guy, and has good hands, he just needs to use them. Peluso padded his goal count – now having three goals on the year versus only one fighting major.
What I was excited to see was some good chemistry developing between Hensick and Schwartz. With the NHL done through November it looks like we get to keep the kid longer, and this is just fine by me. He’s exciting to watch, and I think as he gets more and more in his game at the AHL level the excitement level around him is only going to grow. I like having him and Henisck on a line together, watch two guys who can really move the puck get to work. Honestly, I would like to see Cracknell on that line more to give them some cover in case someone tries to get too rough with the hands guys. Cracknell would give you that cover, and at the same time provide someone who can contribute on that line. Just a thought.
Allen seems to have shaken the Abbotsford meltdown from his mind. That’s good. He needed to right the ship, and do it quickly. Allison has gone to him for every game now, and Allen’s form seems to be coming back. He still has his moments where I worry about his rebound control, but overall I am happy with his play as of late.
That being said… it is time to free McKenna. I want to see what he can do. The two shots he faced in relief in Abbotsford are not enough work. I am sure we’ll see him Saturday or Sunday against Charlotte.
It seems that now the team is starting to really get comfortable. They are starting to work together a little more – there were a couple of times last night I could see guys making passes to where help should be in the system and having those passes connect – and the defensive play that was a sore spot last year has improved. I am not saying the defense is solid, the goal against was some horrendous defense, but it is much improved. I think we’re going to make those occasional mistakes, but if we limit the mistakes we’ll win more games than we lose 3-2 or 2-1.
Charlotte comes to town next. Anyone need a reminder of what happened last time we saw them?