The Hawks fell to Detroit early Sunday evening, battling to a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation and forcing a shootout. Unfortunately, a dazzling Bertuzzi shootout goal, and a follow up by Zetterberg were enough to surpass the 3 pucks that Brandon Pirri was able to put behind the goal line.
Based on the earlier portions of the game, getting to overtime was a feat by our young Hawks. Most impressive tonight was Mr. Pirri, number 37 in case you missed him. This performance coupled with that of earlier preseason games has this Hawks fan convinced and expecting more than a few appearances during the regular season. Scoring 2 goals (1 a shorty) and a shootout goal are enough to talk about, but what excites me most is his all around game presence.
Another young guy who has shown strong in all of his performances this season is towering Jimmy Hayes. Picking up a shockingly patient goal that showcased the soft hands of this 6'6" 220+ forward, his size and skills are making a tough case to ever seeing Scott on the ice again. Like Pirri, it was not only the goal that stood out. Hayes has been preforming well all through training camp and this game was no exception.
In net for his first full-game experience was Alexander Salak. Arguably the main reason that the Hawks even saw the shootout, Salak battled threw a bountiful display of Detroit firepower. Still displaying a need for improvement and many lessons to learn (getting beat high all 3 goals), his size and rebound control paired with his poise show much potential. No doubt that he is the current front-runner for CC's back-up position.
If your looking for a more detailed review of the game, the most important element is that the coverage of the Hawks was severely lacking. Salak was hung out to dry on many occasions. The lack of playing time together is evident in the overflowing Hawk's roster. Im sure this will change in the coming weeks as the active roster thins out.
Other noteable moments included Pirri's shorthanded blast, the offensive pressure produced by Frolik, another strong performance by Mayers, Olsen using his size effectively on defense, an impressive PK moment by Mclean, Leddy getting destroyed behind the net, and more blunders by Montador, who is doing nothing to counter my complaints from his last performances.
Worth mentioning is that Saad had his first struggle of training camp. Not a bad game, just an obvious struggle. I am still in his corner for making the team, but names such as Hayes and Smith provide reason to question. Most likely out of the run is Kruger, given Pirri's performance yesterday, I see little reason to question that choice.
Also worth mentioning was Frolik's performance as a center. Looking pretty comfortable in that position, he might be the better route over Sharp as a center.
It was encouraging to watch the Hawks battle back in this one. Looking down and out after Detroit took a 3-1 lead, the squad full of youngsters and hopefuls proved resilient. Next time just stay out of the box a bit more.