By the end of the first, I can only imagine meatballs all over Chicago were saying to each other in some bar, "Lemme tell you something my friend, this team is gotta sack up or we ain't going nowhere in the playoffs." NHL.com scored the hits 22-13, which seems pretty low. Regardless, once again, a beefy ass kicking team is sent packing by the Hawks. Oh, and for good measure, the Blues got shut out and gave up a shortie. I don't know if the Blues think an automatic goal comes with every 15 hits or something, but they sure didn't seem interested in trying to do much else. For the most part, the Hawks kept their cool, and Bollig got ten minutes of ice time without fighting anyone. Truculent as the Blues were, the Hawks got more then a few dirty swipes of their own in. Not what I would call an exciting game, but it's another two points won and two points denied to a team that you love to see choke.
I think the Blues just dished another big and utterly useless hit.
Toews and Kruger were 50% on the dot, Handzus 46%. Bolland and Shaw, not so much. The power play also sucked, but not bad enough to give up a shorty like the Blues did. Hossa was again in beast mode; I never tire of watching that guy dominate. Bickell picked up a real nice hard work goal and Hossa drilled a rolling puck of a faceoff win while the Hawks were down a man. Not sure what the Blues are gonna bring next, wait, actually we are all sure what they will bring next. More of the same.
The lack of success on the power play has me again asking, why not just keep rolling the regular lines like nothing is happening? I'm certainly no expert and it's a lot harder then it looks, but they just can't ever seem to get a one timer going. They move the puck okay and even get some guys creating traffic. But, once the puck goes back to the point, the one timer just doesn't seem to come. I don't think a weak power play dooms anything, but it sure would be nice to be threatening. Aside from power play woes, there's not much I'm going to complain about in this game. On the plus side, this was a good playoff tune up. Whether other teams the Hawks face are as truculent as the Blues or not, the games are going to get a lot tighter with less time and space. The Hawks didn't remotely dish out as much physical stuff as the Blues, but they also didn't wither and turtle up. A tougher and better team like LA is still going to be a challenge but I thought this game showed there is more to the Hawks then just stick waving eurotrash hockey. Should be a tough game tonight with the Stars on a streak and likely looking for a little revenge. Keep your head up Kane.
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