The Blackhawks managed to beat the Wild in a shootout last night in a very good, back and forth game. Those two points managed to get Chicago into second overall in the NHL, but still second in the West, two points behind Minnesota, 44-42. This very well could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals, and it would be a very good series. Did I mention Minnesota is for real?
The shootout was a bit lopsided, 2-0. A full video of the shootout is below. The announcers were a bit backwards, they thought Patrick Kane would shoot before Jonathan Toews, but that doesn't really effect much. You might notice Cullen tried the same sort of move that Kane pulled off, but Emery was able to keep his composure and stay with it.
Ray Emery seems have solidified his spot as the Blackhawk goalie this year. This isn't all that surprising. He was a top notch goalie for Ottawa for his first three years in the league before turning into a bit of a journeyman the past few years. He looks like he's back to 100% now, and it also looks like maybe Chicago has some trouble evaluating goaltending. A few years ago, veteran Nikolai Khabibulin was supposed to be the guy, and he played okay, but not as well as back up Cristobal Huet. Huet was then the man going into the next season, but was unseated by Antti Niemi, who led Chicago to a Stanley Cup.* After he was let go, the Blackhawks signed solid veteran Marty Turco, who was outplayed by rookie** Corey Crawford. Crawford was supposed to be the guy this year, but Emery has looked awfully good. Why the carousel? I don't really know, but at least there's always somebody to plug into the crease.
*Niemi was a victim of cap space after that season. What he was awarded in arbitration was ridiculous. Niemi was good, but he was no threat to win the Vezina, and outplaying the Philly goaltenders in that series was nothing to write home about.
**Crawford made a few appearances as early as 2005, but not enough to lose his rookie status until 2010.
Also, below the shootout video, you have to see Marian Hossa's goal from last night. Scored it from between Toews' legs. Toews was given an assist on the goal, which was his 300th career point. Not bad for a guy whose only been in the league since 2007.