The Hawks had to give more last night than they should have had to given the way they started the game. Outplaying Detroit, they let the game get into OT. As a result, a tired Hawks team took the ice tonight. Not showing yet in the early minutes, although Boston did have the better of the chances in the first period, exhaustion had set in and Crawford would be the only Hawk worth talking about by game's end.
Like a swift punch in the face the Hawks lose in Boston
Crawford was huge early on more than a handful of chances for Boston. He kept the Hawks tied for half of the game. The Hawk's D found themselves a bit sleepy on a few plays and Crawford was there. He was there on a breakaway against and he was there when Boston bombarded the net time and time again. The shots were 8-0 before the Hawks would get a break in the form of a power-play. They get a good chance but can't jam it home. Otherwise, the PP was weak. Another PP had similar results later in the game.
The Bruin's D were reading our shots well, and many never got to Thomas who ended up being perfect when called upon, though he was not called upon often. Where Boston's D was tight, the Hawk's D was getting beat. In fact, it would be the Bruin's pointmen that would be the cause of the first 2 goals.
Probably the most tired player out there, Hossa gave his best early on. His line was the product of the best offensive pressure in the first half. I thought Hossa was trying to do too much though, and eventually his battery ran out. Sloppy plays followed and I turned hope to the Toews Line to get something going. The fact that Toews and Kane couldn't find the flow might be one of the largest factors to the butt kicking tonight. They were about as weak as they have been in recent weeks.
There were a few chances here and there, and I even had hope that the stellar play of Crawford would buy enough time for the Hawks to steal it away, but the Hawks just didn't have enough. A critique on Q would be that he did not use the 4th line enough early given that his top guys were obviously fatigued. I thought Stalberg might have been more useful on the first line instead of Brouwer who seemed lost all night.
Into the second and again, for a time Crawford kept it tied, but as it usually does, the constant pressure of Boston payed off. The Hawks had trouble getting the puck out of their zone and eventually that puck found its way behind Crawford. Off of Campbell's knee compliments of a Chara shot, this shot and the next Boston goal seemed to have eyes. Not winning faceoffs killed the Hawks again and after Boston went up 2-0 the Hawks just gave up and got super lazy. The rest was brutal to watch.
I have not seen the Hawks skate this flat and dead for some time. They couldn't reward Crawford for his strong play, and the loss in Anaheim now looks even worse. Only winning 1 of their last 3, and that one in OT, the Hawks are not at their best right now. The missing Sharp and Bolland are hurting too much. With the way things look and 6 games remaining the Hawks need to be great and win 4 of those 6 in the least. They may even need more if Dallas or Calgary decides to put a late winning streak together.
Surprisingly, the shots ended up close, but the quality is were it counts. Maybe even more surprising is that the Hits count favored the Hawks 23 to 17. Again, it was the quality of hits that mattered most, and nothing about the Hawk's game had quality written on it. Dallas plays later tonight, and Nashville dropped their lead to Vancouver late. The craziness ensues.