When Toews came flying out of the neutral zone and blew past both Vancouver defenders in the early part of this game, I jumped out my chair at the neighborhood bar and grill (that's where I watch games when I don't trust the internet). Now we're talking, this is what I expected to see, but much like this season, and this series is proving to be, disappointment set in when the puck stayed out of the net. What followed was a slightly better 1st period than last game, but an overall weak performance for the game.
Is the Blackhawk's season Over. A 2-0 deficit to Vancouver proves daunting.
Live or die by Toews. The Sedin entity scored twice to carry their team to a 2-0 lead in the series, while Toews finished with nada except for his -1. Unlike my counterparts Vegas and fourfeather, I do think the Hawks are giving it away. I now they have better, I have seen better, and when the loss boils down to defensive breakdowns, it says there is an execution problem, not a talent problem. All of our top guys are better than they are giving, and it is the back half of the roster that produced yesterday.
The defense that costs so much money is underperforming so much. Keith still hasn't stepped up, and his mistakes are the results of Vancouver chances and sometimes goals. The inability to clear the zone is what allowed the first Vancouver goal to happen, Campbell's fear of taking a hit to blame for that. Sometimes it was just a lack of communication. When the Chicago defensive line has to be the difference, no one can expect a win with that performance.
Where the terrible clearing attempts killed them early, an even more terrible excuse for a power-play killed them later. When Vancouver scored the late 2nd period goal I accepted it as the nail in my symbolic coffin. What followed didn't matter anymore.
And yet, this game was almost taken away from Vancouver.
Can I ask really quickly why Dowell was not on the ice? What the hell, I thought he had a good last game and he is far better than Kruger.
I fear that Vegas and fourfeather might have summed up the situation. Vancouver is too tight and conditioned for this depleted Hawk's team. This series is not over yet, but the Hawks are hurting, and I fear they were never prepared for this season. Present injuries are adding insult which leads me to ask if the Hawks need the summer off to regroup.
With all that said, I have not given up just yet. Game 3 is a must win and I feel some momentum shifting back to Chicago. The Hawks had 40 hits! Holy crap. Seabrook, who I think is playing just fine, had a big part in that. He, Brouwer and Bickell might be the only natural hitters on the team. Consequently, I have no gripes about their play, although I wish Brouwer would be more of a difference maker.
And What the hell got into Sharp? He looked kind of mad out there.Getting away with a wicked couple of slashes early in the game, he continued to run into Nuck bodies at any opportunity and got feisty on many occasions. Too bad it kept him from scoring. Which brings me to this question, "should the Hawks let Vancouver take them off of their game?" Being physical is not their thing, why start now?
Momentum can also be found in the 3 goals Chicago scored on Luongo last night. This can only be a good thing. The Hawks did not let him be the difference and we all know how fragile he is.
Stalberg, Bickell, and Smith had great games. When depth has been the reason for concern all year long, it is that so-called lack of depth that is stepping up when it counts. Smith is a treat to watch, and if Stalberg can get a pair of hands over the summer I feel he can be a giant scoring threat.
As fourfeather put it, the Nucks were standing the Hawks up on the blue line. When the Hawks finally began dumping and chasing things started to turn around. They showed resiliency in the end and that is something to carry back home. The game ended up being much closer than what the first half predicted. Got to give them that.
To win, the Hawks need to be healthy. We need Bolland back, Kopecky is a huge loss right now. Bickell didn't look good when he left the game holding his wrist. We need these guys, and we need the top players to step up and be just that. Hossa especially. If he continues his crappy playoff performance, leading to an early departure, I think it is his ass that needs to depart. If you can not show up in the playoffs than your worth is pretty low.
Prediction: If Toews gets a point Sunday, the Hawks win.