Within the first 5 minutes it looked pretty bad for the Chicago Blackhawks. It is pretty safe to say that if a team has a weakness, Trotz will expose it and then hammer that team into the ground. The Predators are not exactly oozing out the sides with talent, but he knows how to use what he has. The part that worries me the most, and I don't want to over analyze this game, is that the Preds were actually ripe for the taking. Without a few of their biggest names and Pecka Rinne not exactly on his A game, this was as good of a moment for the Hawks to pounce all over Nashville.
Pouncing never happened. The Hawks were beat in just about any way imaginable. It was so bad in fact, that they could only muster up 10 shots by the end of the first 2 periods. Things looked somewhat promising when Hossa willed his way to the net and shoved the puck under Rinne, giving the Hawks the first lead of the game, but by the time the Preds made it 3-1 in their favor during the 2nd period, the game was long gone for the Hawks. Hossa would again will his way to a 2nd goal on the night, but you just can't come back from a 4-1 deficit with the Predators. Nope, never gonna happen.
I am going to go back to the Panthers game for a moment here. I mentioned a lack of killer instinct in my recap, and I sort of reasoned it off to playing smart when facing a more formidable opponent less than 12 hours later and in a different city. The fact is, the Hawks weren't exactly awesome in their win against Florida, and the only player to log too much ice-time was Keith. So, my question is this, do the Hawks have an excuse for the pathetic excuse for an effort in last night's game, because they had played only 9 hours earlier?
As I said, it was clear from the first 5 minutes that the Hawks had absolutely no life to them. Not only were they not looking all too sharp, but their legs looked they were caught in quick-sand. It was pretty bad, and the preparedness for this game was obviously non-existent. Besides the Hossa line, nothing was going on. Well, besides a couple of Stalberg's efforts. Give props to Hossa for showing up, as he has been kind of quite these past few weeks really. Glad he kept the score within some kind of reason. But, 5 goals for the Preds is an absolute beat-down.
Even Toews was out of it. And then he was gone, and the Hawks overall play showed it. They win or lose by their captain. I just hope he isn't too badly injured. He kept wincing in pain during the Panthers game, and it has me slightly worried now. I guess being out during the break is the best time to do it though. Oh, and throw in the fact that Seabrook (who has been the Hawks best defenseman) also looked injured all night and we have ourselves a few problems. Could it be that Q's management of certain player's ice-time is coming back to bite him?
And there is the goaltending thing. Im pretty sure that Crawford was not in the position to give an effort like that. Going into this game I was sort of sold on the fact that Ray Emery should be considered the #1 guy. I am now completely sold. Crawford has been good for at least 1 gimme goal to the other team every night he plays. That is just not going to cut it, and last night he gave them more than just 1 in my opinion. Sure, the defense was back to old ways, but Crow allowed 4 goals on 17 shots. Not good.
Just in case you haven't noticed yet, Detroit and the Blues won both of their games. This caused some shifting to occur, and if the Hawks lose their next game it could get really ugly before the Allstar break. The Central Division is crazy close right now, and looks to stay that way until the end.
I could go further into the loss last night. I questioned the earlier calls against the Hawks which gave the Preds a power-play goal at the end of the 2nd one. I could look at individual efforts that were lacking, but it just seems better to move on, and to focus on winning the next one. The Preds wanted this game a lot more than the Hawks. So, the Hawks better want the next one more.