I hate to keep feeling like I am making excuses to cover up really bad behavior, but I'm just feeling hard pressed to be really upset about this. Carcillo played with the top line, Bollig spent some time with the second line and that likely pleases no one but the meatballs. Just to rub salt in the wound of true hockey fans, Dan "Gorilla Salad" Carcillo scored the Hawks only goal. But, I have a hard time feeling like the Hawks got dealt a hang your head in shame loss. The Nucks wanted this game, they skated hard and they got the win. Much as I hate the Nucks and their fan base for their insufferable diving, bitching and grandstanding, the fact remains that the Nucks are a legitimately good hockey team. We can bitch about Q's lines. We can bitch about being outhit (37-23). We can bitch about being out shot (32-25). And I still say, Meh.
One thing I can't bitch about in this game is Crawford. After playing a shitty game the other night, I thought he came back with a strong performance tonight. On the first goal, Oduya redirected the puck into the net. On the second goal, Keith and Hammer both left Kassian standing right in Crows grill. And on the third, right after the Hawks started to really crank something up on a 4-4 situation, Sister Henrietta passed to sister Daniella with a really sweet bank off the boards and he skated in on Crawford unopposed. Though that wasn't the game winner, I thought the game was basically done at that point. To the Hawks credit, I thought they came back with some fight in the third and had some pretty close chances to score. On Carbombs goal, basically he cashed in on the only break of the night the Hawks got when he backhanded a puck that bounced off the ref right to him while Schnieds was looking elsewhere. Seeing his dagger look at the ref was kind of satisfying. After that, the the Hawks took a penalty somewhere and the Nucks ran almost a minute off the clock before leting the Hawks touch the puck.
Odds and ends. Dave Bollan apparently played and left with a lower body injury. I saw him on a penalty kill and was thinking to myself he was looking kinda shitty out there. It's lower body I guess, but I didn't really see any particular play that did him in. At this point, though I am not one to scream at the Gods of hockey for letting Carcillo play top line, I am ready to scream for not seeing some ice time for Pirri or even LeBlanc. With the Hogs being eliminated from the playoff picture, I would think this now seems much more likely. Coming into the last few games, I care less about the outcomes then I do about who plays and what Q experiments with. If Bolland is expected out for anything length of time, it's really time to seriously explore other options at 2C. As for final thoughts on this game, this is what a true playoff team looks like and this game reminded me of what every series between Van and Chicago looked like. Any team can beat the Hawks on any given night, but it takes four out of seven to advance. I still take those odds over any team in the West.
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