"The play was great...except for the shooting"

Or so it was rumored Mrs. LIncoln said when things went bad at Ford's theater. And so it was for this game. There really was't much I can complain about. I mean, if this game is anywhere in the beginning or middle of the season, everyone is probably disappointed with the outcome but really not all that torqued about the effort. The brutal truth though is that they needed THIS game and quite honestly, I had a feeling going into it that they would do okay. And though I should take the blame for being so rosy right before a game, I'm going to try and find a way to pin this on HH for letting me near the bridge. 

Anyway, to start things off, I thought the Hawks looked like they were trying to feel out the Ducks and vice versa. Overall, I think the Ducks outhit the Hawks. I don't think this made the difference, but it did seem to slow down the Hawks a little at first. The Ducks had some chances, and Crawford made some good saves. Later in the period, the Hawks started to seem like they were getting a little better puck movement and while cycling in the offensive zone, Frolik winds up with the puck near the boards and somehow bounces the puck of a Ducks skate. Off the deflection, the puck goes right to Hossa who quickly blew it right by Emery. The set up was a fluke, but the shot Hossa drilled was pretty damn sweet. 
Second period, I thought the Hawks looked pretty good. Defensively, they were protecting the house, they were making mostly smart plays with the puck (some home run passes were a little too risky for my liking) and they were getting the Ducks to open up and start going end to end. It didn't carry the day today, but I will stick by what I said earlier. If this team is to have more success this year, it is going to come from forcing teams to open up and start playing run and gun. Anyhow, both teams traded some good opportunities and both teams got some PP time from some marginal looking calls. After two, the Hawks were still in the drivers seat. Or maybe not. 
To start the third, the Ducks came out and scored right away. In a lucky break not entirely unlike the one the Hawks got, Toews was down low in the offensive zone and Kane had the puck at the half boards (kinda like he always does). As he attempts to pass out to the slot, the pucks bounces of a skate and deflects towards the blue line. This starts a three on two rush for the Ducks up ice that I actually thought Biscuit and Keith had under control. However, as Keith covered the guy in the slot, Perry comes zipping up the right wing boards and was all alone. A second or two later, Kane comes breazing in, but I don't think Perry was his guy to pick up. With time starting to wind down, Perry got himself in the right spot at the right time in the slot and appeared to catch Crawford in a spot where he was just a touch away from being square to him. The puck to me looks like it bounces off of Crawford's right shoulder and went in. From here, the Hawks really did push it and had some really good chances. They pulled Crawford in the end and kept control of the puck, but did not score.
Like I said at the top, if this is a game in the middle of the season, or a game against a team they are not in direct competition with for a playoff spot, the loss is not that big of a deal. But if there was any team of the remaining list they really needed to beat, it was this team. With eight games left, they realistically need to take five of those games and this will not be an easy task. So, does this negate everything we previously talked about? I don't think so. If they can pull off getting into the playoffs, they still have a lot going for them. Especially if they can get back Sharp. Dropping this game though hurt, especially because it happened on a night when everyone else who matters won as well. At this point, I don't see anything new for them to do. This one hurts, but I think they need to come back and play like this again on Monday. 

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  • The only plus is that Dallas lost their game. This keeps the Hawks a game up on them, but dissappointment is all I can feel. Like Vegas, I anticipated a win. The Hakws are much better than the Ducks, but the Ducks have a nack for finding ways to win. Since I missed the game, I have little to say.
    If they won, 4th place would have been a possibility. As it stands Vancouver might want to get ready to back up their words. Even after losing to the Ducks, the Hawks are only 1 point behind them and have played less games. Phoenix plays SJ 2 more times before seasons end and they have been destroyed in all of their meetings.

    LA lost Kopitar last night too (for a minimum of 6 weeks), so in the big scheme of things, nothing is set in stone right now, but the Hawks need to bring their A+ game from here on out. 5th or 6th is still within reach. Here is to the Ducks and Stars hitting a rough patch.

    I still cant believe they lost.

  • Vegas, I'm not sure whether you're saying the 'hawks played well or they came out flat, but my observation was they wanted nothing to do with the physical play. Anaheim dominated the board/scrum play and the 'hawks seemed timid from the get go. I had an inkling after the second that the Ducks were going to step it up in the third, based on what I have seen from their play recently. While Bowman has done an admirable job of finding some key players like Campoli and Frolik who fit the 'hawks' system he has missed the boat on finding physical, gritty players who can perform in this type of game. This is why I hope they land the wings in the first round

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    No, they were not physical, but they haven't been that team all year. Like you mentioned, Bowman has found guys fit a developing system. For better or worse it's not a physical system and won't be unless Bowman makes some trades this summer. When Brouwer is in the high phase of his constantly cycling game, he is that physical guy and at times Bickell is as well. When he gets dropped down a couple lines, something seems to stall him. Confidence? I dunno.

    In the context of a tight playoff race, this loss was unacceptable. But I still don't believe the physical piece really decided it. In spite of getting outhit, they still moved the puck, they still got shots on net and still had plenty of chances to win that game. They got caught with three forwards too deep on the first goal and Keith got danced around on the second. It wasn't horrible to me, but at this moment in time it was a game they needed to win and they fell short.

    There won't be any quarter when the season is done in terms of the standings, they will make it or not. I didn't see this as a statement game per se because it didn't tell me something I didn't already know. They need to play grittier, but they are not going to outgrit a team who lives on grit and winning by hanging around in a tight game. The wings have not done well with speed and I hope the Hawks bring that when they play them cause I don't see them winning otherwise.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Well as far as the Duckie game went, I had a bad feeling about the outcome roughly half way through the 2nd period. The Duckie just wanted it more. Shut down the Captain, shut the Hawks.
    By this time Wednesday, We'll know if we're talking playoffs or about next year. The Hawks need to win both games.

  • Like HH, I missed the game so I don't have too much to say... I checked the score on my phone and saw it was 1-0 after the 2nd period and had a bit of a sinking feeling -- the dreaded one-goal third period lead! If there's any story to this season for the Hawks, that's it.

    In other news, I did secure a couple tickets for Tuesday's game in Boston. There are few things more fun than sitting in the midst of 19,000 black & yellow clad fans while wearing a brilliant red jersey with the indian head.

    HH brings up a good point: injuries are always the wild card. Along with the mentioned Kopitar injury, it looks like the Wings will be limited to their 3rd goalie for a while. Hopefully the Hawks can use that to their advantage on Monday.

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