Streaking/Slumping: Sharp leading surge
March, 6, 2012
By Jesse Rogers
Getty ImagesPatrick Sharp and Corey Crawford are heading in opposite directions for the Hawks.
1. Patrick Sharp, Forward: Plenty of accolades go to various Hawks over their three-game win streak, especially the last two on the road, but none of it happens if not for Sharp’s contributions in all four Hawks’ goals scored in Ottawa and Detroit. He had a goal and three assists plus earned a penalty shot chance and totaled 13 shots in just those two games. It all adds up to problems for the opposition which has to keep an eye on Sharp the shooter -- and playmaker -- after his highlight reel little dish to Patrick Kane for the game-winner against the Wings on Sunday. He has 25 goals and 30 assists despite missing almost nine full games and training camp. He’s as solid and consistent as they come for the Hawks.
2. Ray Emery, Goalie: When you earn a star of the week in the NHL you automatically qualify for streaking. Emery has given up just three goals over his last eight periods of hockey and one was meaningless with just seconds left in a win over Toronto. His solid performances in Ottawa and Detroit were key to a team struggling on the road all season and currently playing without it’s captain. More than anything Emery isn’t letting any soft or weak ones in and the defense in front of him is doing its part by limiting the high quality chances. Emery gets the star but the assist goes to the blue-liners in front of him.
Honorable mention: Kane and Marian Hossa.
1. Corey Crawford, Goalie: If the (old) backup netminder is streaking then the starter must be slumping. Crawford came off a string of good performances only to be pulled in his last two starts. He’s played a total of 47 minutes in his past two games, giving up seven goals. He has lost his last three overall with a brutal save percentage of .777 over that span. Not everything has been his fault -- the final two goals against Toronto last week were team breakdowns, but the first one scored in the first minute simply squeaked by him. Too many of those have over the last few months and so now Crawford finds himself behind Emery on the depth chart for the moment.
2. Viktor Stalberg, Forward: Stalberg has turned into a streaky player in his own right. And right now he’s streaking the wrong way. He has no points since -- you guessed it -- the last time the Hawks played Columbus on Feb. 18. That’s a span of eight games (and just one point in 13). He’s done most of his damage against the Blue Jackets this season. He’ll need to pick up his game whether he’s a second or third liner come playoffs as he’ll be the perfect candidate for secondary scoring the Hawks need. But it will have to come against a little better quality of opponent than the Jackets. He’s only been a minus player once in the last eight so he’s holding his own on defense but the speedster needs to create some havoc in the offensive end and subsequently some points.