When the Coyotes scored in the third, I started to leave the room to write this wrap; I had no doubt the game was over at that point. Before I could sit down to the computer to type, the Yotes had scored again. I texted someone in my family a message after the first period that the Yotes had already won the game. The Hawks came out flying, shooting, controlling the puck and Phoenix absorbed every bit of it. Hawks win a tie game? Phoenix wins two (now three). Hawks make questionable contact with Smith? Torres sacrifices his punk ass to knock Hossa out for who knows how long. The Yotes know how to play this team. If a Hawks player had the puck and did not have a Yotes hanging on him like a cheap suit, it's because that Hawk was not remotely in danger of putting the puck in net. Over and over and over, the Hawks came up the wall to Smith's right, went to the top of the slot and attempted to drive up the middle through three Yotes. It didn't work. If a Yote swept with his stick, it was going to hit the puck away from a Hawk carrying it. Like a fucking magnet or velcro.
Anyway, for two and a half periods, the Yotes frustrated the shit out of the Hawks, and as you can see above, the writer of this wrap. Then, Phoenix gives the Hawks a classic Yotes double tap to the head. Twice the Hawks got mugged defensively, and twice the Yotes dented twine. Just to make themselves and the fans more bitter, the Hawks then scored two goals, one each in the only two ways that you can on Smith. One the first, Brendan Morrison put a long shot on net that caught a bad deflection for Smith. On the second, Bolland played the odds to try a puck move around a defender, and whatya know?, after the Hawks had been stymied pulling that shit 75 times prior tonight, it worked this time and Bolland was able to shake his defender, get the puck on net, and Frolik picked up a garbage goal. You don't score on Smith any other way. But, of course, overtime means that we go right back to playing choke hockey where the first team to make a mistake will lose. This is not something the Yotes remotely fear. So, as I said in the comments on the last thread, the Hawks must score three goals IN REGULATION to beat this team. And of course, the goal that goes in to win the game was a very shitty goal to give up.
Specific blame right now seems kinda pointless. Tippet and the players he has were made for each other. It's taken them several seasons now to perfect the art of choke/trip/douchebagging their way to winning games. However, make no mistake, that team works it's ass off every night, fears no one, and plays with a contempt for every team they face. Tonight, with the exception of protecting the house the way they always do, they let the Hawks do a lot of what they like to do, they let them cycle and move the puck, but in the time it takes to blink, they could reposition themselves and either block the shot, strip the player driving the slot, or slap the puck away on the rare chance it landed in the crease. Would Hossa really have made the difference tonight? I say no, probably not.
Saad played tonight and got himself about 13 minutes of ice time and even time on the PP. I dunno. He didn't do anything glaringly bad and at times actually showed some good sense defensively. However, because the situation is so intense, I don't think he really had a feel for where he should be with his linemates. Hard to not expect that. Crow, twice now, has more then done his part to give his team a chance to win in regulation. Sure, in both games he has given up a shitty OT goal that he should have stopped, but when a team like the Hawks let's it go to overtime with a team like the Yotes, you are going to get the result we have seen 3 out of 4 games. Coaching wise, Tippet's team is on autopilot. Protect the house, absorb early Hawks fury and wait for the Hawks to wear down in the third or overtime. Better luck Saturday I guess.