That was a pretty horrific performance by the Hawks. I think I can count on 1 hand, the players in a Hawks uniform who seemed like they actually wanted to win that game. Corey Crawford is definitely one of them. Overall, this was close to being one of the worst performances we have seen from the Hawks all year. I mean, we knew that Minnie would come out harder than ever, but I wasn't expecting the Hawks to just say, okay, you can have a win, we don't want anybody to get hurt.
Because that's what seemed to happen. The Hawks controlled the first 5-7 minutes with dominating puck movement that made it look like they had an extended power-play (not a Hawks PP, but an honest to god PP). The Wild couldn't touch the puck, and it was looking like the series was dead in the water at the point in Which Kaner connected to Oduya for the go-ahead goal.
That's when things changed, and the Wild started to amp up their physical play in a big, big way. I personally feel like they got away with a little too much in the second half of the 1st period, and that a couple of good calls by the officials might have calmed the Wild storm, but that is no excuse for what took place for the next 40+ minutes. If the Hawks could convert on an power-play, it might also have silenced the storm and the Wild for good, but that didn't happen.
The Hawks controlled the first 5+ minutes, and the last 5+ minutes, and somehow ended up in OT. I thought that this fact would just about kill the Wilds hopes of a win, seeing that they couldn't even do it with that kind of a performance. But, their hard work paid off eventually, even with Chicago controlling the first few minutes of OT. It happened on a play in which the Hawks got caught standing still, and watched Parise put it away, just as they did for every other Wild goal.
- The Wild brought a physical barrage that ended up rendering the Hawks paralyzed. Again, it went over the line IMO, and when the Hawks gave some of it back, they were the ones finding 2 minutes in the box. Between this, and allowing the Wild too much freedom on the face-offs, I think the officiating was pretty piss poor. This is no excuse for the absolutely terrible performance, but I see where the Hawks heads were.
- Crawford was far and away the best thing in a Hawks uniform last night. He was the only reason the Hawks made it to OT, and it was the sloppy, standing still play of the Hawks that awarded the Wild with all 3 of their goals. Crow's play is a reason to get excited for this playoff run, so just focus on that for a while.
- Seabrook was the worst thing in a Hawks uniform, and that might have been his worst performance of the season which is saying a lot, because he has had some doozies. No need to go further here, he just seemed to have forgotten how to skate, and was nowhere near the physical presence the Hawks needed.
- Up until yesterday, I thought it was pretty awesome that we hadn't noticed Toews. The Wild had focused so much on his line, that it had an air of "okay, give me all you have, I can absorb it while the rest of my team puts up the points." I started to change that opinion during yesterday's game. I am anticipating a great performance from the captain next time around.
- All of the Wild goals were pretty similar, and so were the Hawks. Kane feeds a streaking D-man who finishes his shot well. Kane now has 5 assists in 3 games. Yeah.
- I thought Hjalmer was the strongest D-man, and Kane might have been the most noticeable forward. Everyone else needed to step up. I was waiting for the 3rd line to do it, but they never seemed to find their groove.
- Q started switching up the lines in the 3rd, and was effectively only rolling 3 lines at that point. For some strange reason, Kruger was moved up instead of Frolik, and I wanted to reach through the television and smack Q for that move. Frolik has done everything he can to earn more minutes, including 2 tallies in the previous game, while Kruger is offensively handicapped. These kinds of choices will lose you games when the going gets tough. On top of that, Kruger on the PP is a scary thing (wave hands in the air and throw caution to the wind).
I am going to stop right there and begin forgetting that this game ever happened, as should the Hawks, but with an added sense of urgency and want to their game. Just keep skating, and I can't really see the Wild pulling out another win. Oh, and fix the damn power-play. Start by making it one-timer accessible. This means lefties on the right side, and vis-versa.
Filed under: Game Recap