Oh Shit, pardon my french. The Hawk's fate now lay with a Dallas defeat. It was theirs for the taking, nervousness aside, they just didn't play smart enough. Power-plays favored them largely, the bulk of calls going on their side, they scored the first goal and had the early edge, but a Stalberg miss queue turned that edge quickly. There is little to say even though I have pages of things on my mind. We all knew it would come down to the last minute, but I don't think we actually saw this coming. Literally, this came down to the last minute, one last power-play, one last drive to the net and one last chance for Keith to redeem his crappy season on a centering pass.
Pure Disappointment, Hawks Fall to Detroit 4-3.
Win, and finish in 5th. Lose and possibly miss the playoffs entirely. A win would have placed them in Anaheim for day one of the playoffs, and now the best is a trip to Vancouver or worse to go nowhere. 97 points wasn't good enough for a sure thing, and the West missed having 4 teams tied with 99 points by a goal or two.
Of the reasons for defeat, a poor power-play, a terrible centering pass, and a weak performance by the goaltender are at the top. Defensive breakdowns, missed chances early, and a lack of any physical presence also hold some weight. It was surprising to see Detroit come at the Hawks so hard, especially late, but the Hawks fate was on the line. Hossa's reputation, not Datsyuk's was on the line. Keith's not Lindstrom's, and now the Hawks are on the brink of making history, just the wrong kind.
The breakdown of this game seems futile at this moment. I will undoubtedly have more to say after tonight's Dallas game, which I will miss to play in my own. Like I said, the Hawks came out with the edge. Some big chances early, a PP early, strong pokechecks early, and a huge save by Crawford on one of Detroits lone chances. It would be one of his only big saves of the night though. My stomach churned and I left my seat at every turn, every hit, and every pass. Dowell missed stuffing maybe the difference early, and I soon realized things would be different than last game.
I thought the first goal would come off of the winning team's stick when we headed into the second with goose eggs. Detroit's support was strong during this game, but a Kane steal still caused the first goal. 3 goals in two nights coming off of his defensive play, not too shabby. My stomach eased as Frolik buried his shot. However, that would not last very long.
Even though they gave up the goal, Detroit's defense became more confident and instead of waiting for the Hawks, they met them and started standing the Hawk's up. Stalberg's speed would be his curse as he beat that positioned defense to a loose puck that was dumped in along the boards. A following Kopecky looked to be going to the net, but he changed his mind just as Stalberg sent it hard to the slot. With no one in sight it just flew out of the zone and unfortunately (maybe the most unfortunate thing of the season now) landed on a streaking Holmstrom's stick. The Chicago defense was late to regroup and Crawford missed a shot that probably should have been saved. I fault Crawford and Kopecky here, but Stalberg has got to be more careful with the lead.
This was the turning of the tide and it took less than a minute for Detroit to really had salt to the wound. Datsyuk, coming off of a weak performance made the Hawks look stupid as he found the go-ahead goal while Hawks just stood around and watched.
The rest is a blur. I saw good plays and not so good plays. The Hawks needed to dig deep and find their best hockey of the season going into the 3rd, but it would again be Detroit with the next strike. This could have possibly been called goalie interference, but the overcommitting of Crawford was more to blame. Hope was leaving the door, and then a Seabrook blast from the point asked it to stay a little bit longer.
While the Hawks got away with a few calls earlier in the game, Detroit got away with a few late. Turnovers were the Wing's defeat last game and the Hawk's today. An unnecessary giveaway by Keith in behind the net would lead to the game winning goal by Detroit. And Although he would battle back to pick up a loose puck in front of the net later to make it 4-3, this would not be enough. Had he found twine in the last second, then I would have forgiven everything.
The last chance came on a Detroit penalty. With about 2 and a half minutes the Hawks were given their 3rd PP of the game. Having not scored on the prior man advantages I was quite optimistic. A chance to pool Crawford had 6 on 4 in sight and I just thought the Hawks wanted to win more than Detroit. Apparently they don't want to make the playoffs, because what followed was pathetic. 1 lonely chance was generated, and as the seconds rolled down to nothing, a centering pass found Keith all alone and it seemed like he was already accepting the loss.
Now we wait.........................................