I’m sure that the majority of the people that attended or tuned into the Portland/Kelowna game this afternoon didn’t expect the outcome that occurred, but that is, as they say, why they play the game.
The Hawks special teams that struggled so badly against Seattle on Saturday looked like a totally different group against the Rockets. A couple power play goals and killing eight of nine chances against was one of the best performances by the Hawks special teams this season.
They often say that your best penalty killer should be your goaltender and that was the case today, with Kurtis Mucha making 39 saves on 42 shots to get the victory for Portland. While I didn’t have Mucha in the three stars, he deserved to be there and I said so in the post-game show. Sometimes it is hard to get all deserving parties in the three stars. That is a good problem to have…it is harder when there are no players that deserve to be in the stars.
Jamie Benn certainly showed his goal scoring prowess in the third period with three very nice goals. I can see him in a Dallas Stars uniform in the very near future.
As far as Michael Backlund goes, my first chance to see him live was a bit under expectations. He showed good skill, but didn’t really create much against the Hawks defense. I think he missed the larger European ice surface in this one.
For Kelowna, a tough return to Portland for Mark Guggenberger, getting yanked after four goals on 19 shots. I’m sure he envisioned it turning out better in his head prior to the game. Portland got into his grill enough to get a couple deflection goals and it was nice to see all four goals scored within a ten foot circle around the net. Greasy is good.
Chris Francis’ two assists extends his point streak to 8 games, chipping in 5-8-13 during the streak. He is now three points shy of 50 for the season. When he gets there, he will be the first 50 point man for the Hawks since 2005-06, when there were 5 players over that mark.
That’s it for now…