The Blackhawks lose in Tampa but pick up a point in the process.

1 point is better than no points, thats what my mom always said. With Calgary now tied in points and Dallas only 1 behind, that 1 point kept the Hawks in 4th place, although they are still only 2 points out of 8th. It was vital for the Hawks to not lose in regulation, and Tampa felt the same way which was shown in their attempts to secure the tie late in the game. Tampa came out a lot harder than they finished and they are lucky to have gotten the tie, let alone the win. Usually the Hawks establish the pace, but last night their opponent had the upper hand early. Tampa brought their physical game along with their speed and laid a couple of big hits on the Hawk's top skaters. It paid off for them when they took the lead after Stamkos scored a weak goal against Crawford. It might have been a bit tricky, but Crawford should have stopped that one.

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Kaner would equalize it later with a bullet from the high slot and keep the Hawks in a period that was getting away from them. Bickell even had a chance to get the Hawks up shortly later, but missed his spot on a wrist shot from the stick side. Unfortunately for Bickell, it would not be the last missed opportunity. 
Late period goals are killers. When St Louis came in and shelfed the puck after the Hawk's D seemed to stand around and let it happen with only 20 seconds or so left in the period I thought the game was over. Instead of going into the 2nd period tied after beating up on the Hawks, they went in with the lead. Everything changes if the Hawks can keep that puck out of the net for another 20 seconds.
The big news is that Campbell never started the game due to a lower body injury and Bolland left the game early with an upper body injury never to return. Bolland was elbowed in the back of the head, so you I fear the worst. There wasn't even a call on the play which is pretty bad on the officials part.
Crawford looked to be struggling early on, but found his game late. Along with the Hawk's power house line, Crawford helped them battle back into the game after going down 3-1. Kaner scored the first, and Sharp would find the second goal after picking up a loose puck in front of the net. The goal came after the Hawks figured out how to deal with a strong defensive formation by the Lightning. Get the puck deep and win your battles down low. The goal ignited the Hawks and you got the feeling they smelled a take over. John Scott nearly had the equalizing goal after nailing the crossbar, and a few other chances followed for the Hawks. Fighting to keep the lead, Stamkos and St Louis found themselves with a 2 on 1 after a Seabrook mistake and the Hawk's comeback started to look grim. CRAWFORD makes the save of the game here with a half-windmill glove save to keep the Hawk's comeback alive. As I said, late period goals will kill ya, and the Hawks almost got one of their own after Hossa made  a brilliant centering pass to Frolik who just missed his mark with 3 seconds remaining in the 2nd. That would have given the Hawks a win for sure.
What followed was a team playing hard to win, and the other team trying to preserve a tie. Toews wins a big face-off early in the 3rd and ends up deflecting a shot from Hjammer a moment later. 3-3, and the Hawks have momentum. I give kudos to Q for keeping that line together after the Bolland injury. I was worried he would make too many changes, but his new found ability to limit changes in the line formations payed off here. The Kane, Toews, Sharp line had all of the Hawk' goals. Actually, Tampa's big line did most of their scoring too. I guess it was a battle of the top lines last night.
The 3rd was mostly controlled by the Hawks with Tampa getting a few chances here and there. Crawford seems to have lost a bit of his composure and strong positional play lately, as seen when he found himself way out of the net and had to be saved by Keith and Dowell. Possibly a wake up call, the Hawks turned the gas up a bit and really started to lay it on the Lightning, and the Lightning seemed comfortable watching the Hawks get their chances. I was expecting the Hawks to get the go-ahead goal by this point. Bickell almost answers my assumptions when he found himself with a slight breakaway, chooses to go behind the net and just misses a streaking Frolik. Then Brouwer steals the puck from behind the net and almost finds himself the game winner. It was not to be. The Hawks did up their physical game late and it seemed to pound the Lightning into submission, but they held on for the tie and both teams earned a point.
In overtime, Bickell gets a breakaway chance and just misses his mark. A pesky Stamkos never let him have the space to finish the deal. Seabrook almost tipped the game winner in for the wrong team, but nothing ends up happening in the OT. To the shootout where St Louis scores the only goal on a fancy spin around move that I think should not have counted. They went to Toronto supposedly, who issued a quick verdict, and I have to disagree with it. I am all for allowing the players to make some crazy moves during the shootout, but this puck obviously stopped forward motion. St Louis practically stopped in front of Crawford, pulled the puck backwards and then lifted his back hand over Crawford's shoulder. Just get rid of the rule if you want players to be able to create moves like that. For some odd reason, Q has Hossa take the last shot who does nothing with it. And that is the verdict, Hawks lose but pick up a much needed point.

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  • I missed most of the game, but saw the OT and SO. I've always thought those types of spin moves are bogus in a shootout and shouldn't be allowed. But the thing that irks me even more is that the Hawks never take advantage of the rule and try them since they ARE allowed. I know I say it every time, but when are the Hawks gonna do something new in the shootout, and why does Kane turn into a rec-league lazy deker every time?

    One point out of a possible four these past two days -- and against two teams that have been struggling lately. What a wasted chance to really gain ground on the Wings who lost as well.

  • The Good: The Hawks were able to step up their hitting as well and after the first period I thought the Bolts slowed theirs. The Bolts are a legit playoff team who had a better record then the Hawks coming into this game. The Hawks fought back after getting down early and they stayed competitive without Campbell and after losing Bolland. I'm afraid to say this last one, but it looks like the Hawks are finally learning to deal with a trap.
    The Bad: Crawford has let in some pretty long shots now. He's the number one, there is no argument on that but I just don't think he can play every game through the end of the season and playoffs. Bolland knocked out of the game and no call. Hammer's no delay delay of game called. This is the stupidest fucking rule in hockey and it looked like they got it wrong. The first period didn't kill them tonight, but it hurt a lot.
    The Ugly: It's on everyone's mind. That penalty shot was bullshit. Plenty of players are able to execute that move without stopping the puck and that was an egregious stretch of the rule. With brief exceptions, the Bolts were playing to not lose for 40 minutes. Only taking one point out of four possible is probably a guarantee they drop to the bottom of the stack by the next time they play. Down the road, this road trip could bite them in the ass very hard.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    Wow Vegas, now tell us how you really feel. I do agree that Crawford is being played a wee bit too much. Turco should have had the start last night so that Crawford would have been fresh for the Cap's game on Sunday.

  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    Did you guys feel that way about Niemi last year too, once Huet's butt was stapled to the bench?

    He had to come back with Crawford last night. You can't pull him one night over one bad period of play and then sit him after a great stretch of play he's just had. He's the go-to guy going down the home stretch and into the playoffs. No time now to jerk him around and play with his confidence. There's too much at stake here, and moreso after giving up three points in FLA. Crawford has 3 days to rest before the Caps. He'll be fine.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I wasn't worried about the one bad period, just the back to back games.

    BW

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Actually, I was one of those very strange people who felt Huet had a lot of extremely bad luck and got a bit of a bad shake. In a normal rotation schedule, I don't think it's a lack of confidence to rest Crawford but I would agree it needs to be handled properly by what Q says.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    I was a Huet supporter too, until it was obvious he came unglued. I watched him when he played for the Habs and he was a standout. He just didn't seem to be the right fit here.

    Don't get me wrong about C2. He does, or is going to, need a break here and there. If he has a couple of bad games where he lets the team down as opposed to them letting him down, then you make a switch. But he hasn't done that yet. FLA was as poorly as he has played in a long time. The time is not now, the games are too important. If the 'hawks manage to secure a playoff spot before the last game of the regular season, then we'll start to see Turco, IMO.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I always thought that Huet got lucky when he was playing well. He never put together a long enough run of strong play, and his positioning along with his sheer talent at stopping pucks was always suspect to me.

  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    Well, since you put it that way, I'm unhappy with the loss.

  • The whole idea of giving out a loser point is bogus to begin with. A hard fought game decided by some circus act. As it is just about every year, the proliferation of three point games at this time of year grows. Ah yes, the great equalizer. I wish I had the time to calculate the standings if no shootout existed. Three points for a win in regulation, two in overtime, and, if the shootout must stay, one point for the winner only. The longer it goes the less the value.

    Anyway, the two guys they needed to stop the most last night, Stamkos and St Louis did the damage. I still can't believe the St Louis goal in the first was allowed to happen. That was a messy game, and the 'hawks got through it ok I thought given they were down two roster players after Bolland went out. Take the point and get out of town.

    The 'hawks only need to play a game above .500 from here on out to secure a spot. This mess in the WC standings isn't going to go away I think. Right down to the final weekend I bet.

    Vegas is right. By Sunday, they will be seeded much lower than today, and possibly out of the top eight. So much for the view from the upper deck.

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