Havlat and Khabibulin Lead Blackhawks To First Win

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IOctober 15, 2008

The Chicago Blackhawks captured their first win of the season versus a young and very talented Phoenix Coyotes team.

The 'Hawks finally looked like the team everyone expected out of the gate, good offensively, solid defensively and great in goal (with their $12 Million invested in them).

The real key to the 'Hawks success was the the teams execution as expressed by Captain Jonathan Toews, “I think we executed,” he said. “All four lines played better tonight and that’s why everyone got more ice time. When you do that, we’ve got a heck of a team.”

You can see that Martin Havlat is once again health as he has five points in the first four games of the season and contributed the game tying goal tonight in spectacular fashion (The #2 play on ESPN's Top 10). He also assisted on the fourth goal by Brian Campbell, which was the nail in the Coyotes coffin.

Another big thing that I noticed from tonight's game was that the Blackhawks were far more physical, which you might be able to attribute to the return of Ben Eager to the 'Hawks line-up.

Eager made a nice hit on rookie forward Viktor Tikhonov and the Coyotes and the bench took exception. Then after the next face off Eager was pushed toward the bench and mauled the players on the bench. Daniel Carcillo landed a punch on Eager from the bench but no penalty was called which got frustrated coach Denis Savard, who could be seen yelling at the refs to make a call.

Patrick Sharp scored the game winning goal in the second period on the Duncan Keith rebound. Colin Fraser also scored his first career goal and Brain Campbell scored his first goal in a Chicago Blackhawks uniform. 

The real star of the game was Nikolai Khabibulin who made 29 saves on 30 shots for a 96.6% save percentage. Khabibulin made some big saves and also made the case to be this teams true #1 goalie. Huet did have a very solid game versus Nashville but had moments where he looked uncertain in net, not Khabibulin. 

Savard said going into the season that the hot goalie would start and right now that is Khabibulin, after a solid game versus the Washington Capitals and a superb game versus the Phoenix Coyotes, it is his spot to lose.

This might be the turning point for this Chicago Blackhawks team because they defeated a very solid NHL team and showcase that they deserved all the hype they got over the off-season. 

Well Blackhawks fans the 'Hawks finally got the monkey off their back. Hopefully we hear much more, 'Hawks Win, 'Hawks Win!, in the near future.