Have a narrative, why don’t you? With the Hawks top six not producing much, and after the residents here proclaimed it would be the Hawks’ forward depth that would prove to be the difference, here comes the third line providing both goals that put the Hawks up in this series. And no, of course not, there’s no way that Teuvo Teravainen coming up big makes me feel especially good after all the shit we got for extolling his virtues. Why would you ever think that? He’s not special in any way.
As we previewed this series, and most others did, I feel like it was generally agreed that John Cooper was a pretty good coach. And while he probably wouldn’t come up with some novelty for this, he would do what was necessary. Well, tonight he kind of fucked up.
In the 1st period, the Lightning pushed the pedal to the floor, which is the only way they’re going to hang in this series, pushing it to Ludicrous Speed. They had the Hawks on the run, got a goal through a ridiculous tip/shot/miracle from Alex Killorn, but Corey Crawford kept them only to one. The Lightning pulled a page from Nashville’s book, and tried to make everything happen before the red line, if not the Hawks’ blue line. Their D sat or pinched until they absolutely had to back up. Their third forward cut off an escape through the middle, their first two forwards crunching any time the Hawks had for a high flip or any clear out of the zone.
And then they just kinda stopped.
From the 21st minute on, the Lighting stopped trying to make the play happen at the Hawks’ line or from there and in between the red line, and tried to make things happen from the red line to their own blue line. It worked for a while. The Hawks tried too often to carry through too many guys. Or their dump-ins were too easily played by Ben Bishop, who could facilitate an easy exit. But give the Hawks enough time, they’ll clock it.
Suddenly Hawks d-men were jumping up more and more, because it was obvious the Bolts weren’t stretching them and they had nothing to worry about behind them. After a bit, those plays the Bolts were forcing at their own line got to be around their circles, and then it got to be below their goal line, which meant they couldn’t get out. Do that, and the Hawks will find a way. They did, and now the Lightning find themselves down 1-0.
Let’s do it.
The Two Obs
-Accuse me of gushing, but Duncan Keith is playing a sport at the moment that I’m not familiar with. Teuvo’s equalizer sprung from Keith receiving a pass at the blue line blind and on the spin, gathering it cleanly enough to take it down to the circle before finding Teuvo to find the corner. Sit back Lightning, Keith is going to find a crack. And that’s all we need. He’s just in another place.
-I want to say Teuvo picked that corner. I do know that he hustled JT Brown into that turnover that Vermette buried for the winner. And I also know that Teuvo’s instincts are pretty much off the charts.
-Leave it to Versteeg that his best play of the playoffs, hounding down Garrison into a turnover, eventually led to him tripping and getting called for a penalty while crashing his face into the post. If there’s a most Versteeg moment ever, I can’t remember it. And it’s kind of a shame, because Versteeg had a most acceptable game.
-The Hawks won a game where Jonathan Toews only won 45% of his draws and was -7 in Corsi. I suppose if Valtteri Filppula plans on going 11-0 in attempts with Toews out there the rest of the series the Hawks will have problems. I’m going to go ahead and predict that’s not how this goes down.
-Is that our Crawford game? You can get away with calling it that, only because Crow looked as confident and smooth as he has since… March? And yet, it was only 22 saves.
-Tyler Johnson had one shot. If that continues, Hawks will win this relatively easily.
-Still, it took the Hawks a while to come to terms with how fast the Lightning can play, which isn’t totally unexpected. They wanted too much time on the puck for a lot of the first 40, not knowing there was a Bolt right on top of them. I have no doubts they’ll start moving the puck quick enough to avoid that fate as this series goes on.
-Oh look the power play still wants to make plays at the blue line even though Tampa is pressuring them right there!
-Braydon Coburn sucks.
-The Bolts might not be able to win this trying to press it as fast as they can. But it’s still their best bet. I would expect that in Game 2. The problem is the Hawks already got what they came for and they got it with Toews not having his best night. What’s next, Coop?