The vast majority of the games the Hawks have lost of late, there’s at least been some kind of mitigating circumstance. A bad bounce here, a hot goalie there, but for the most part, the Hawks by and large dictated the play even in spite of some curious play and lineup choices. Tonight was no such occurrence, even though the Hawks earned a point and drew “even” with the Avalanche as they lost in Montreal.
Despite putting two quick goals on Ray M. Murray where he looked wonky at best, the Hawks allowed the Flyers to control the tempo of the game and carry a serious edge in attempts on net, and Scott Hartnell pulled the Flyers even by the end of 20. His first, a bad bounce from behind the net that caromed behind Raanta, the second a wonderfully executed play thanks to Claude Giroux’s brilliance, Sheldon Brookbank’s flatfootedness, and Patrick Sharp’s disinterest in the high slot.
The latter 40 minutes contained mostly Blackhawks marching to the penalty box and Flyers hitting posts. In overtime the Hawks would get a few looks at the other end, but a lazy turnover in Philly’s zone by Kris Versteeg allowed Claude Giroux one last rush up the ice, and with 4.6 seconds left in OT, his shot deflected off of Keith’s flailing stick and in the top left corner over Raanta’s blocker as Sharp changed behind the play. Flyers 3, Hawks 2.
- Even if the Hawks had smothered Giroux on the final rush or if Raanta made that save, there’s nothing in the Finn’s body of work to suggest that the result would have been any different had things gone to the skills competition, so that’s some kind of silver lining.
- As Sam had stressed in the opener, Jonathan Toews was basically eaten alive by Sean Coutourier, with Toews carrying a -5 Corsi to Coots’ +9 in over 12 and a half minutes against one another. With the rest of the lineup basically slapped together without much rhyme or reason, there’s the glaring reason right there why the team-wide possession numbers went as ass-up as they did.
- It’s becoming pretty clear that Patrick Kane doesn’t trust much of anyone that Joel Quenneville throws out on the ice with him at even strength, and nor should he. He’s seeing shifts with Brandon Bollig for fuck’s sake. In a late-developing rush in the first, Kane chose to attempt a spin-o-rama into a backhand at the bottom of the right circle with defender draped on him rather than pass to a streaking Ben Smith down the slot, or at least shoot low for a rebound. He’s getting tunnel vision because he’s been forced to. It’s probably not wise to fuck with the internal clock of one of the best playmakers of a generation by saddling him with ill-fitting linemates, but TWO CUPS.
- And on that note, it’s another game where not only Peter Regin’s aptitude at center is wasted on a wing, but he’s summarily sat for reasons that are only evident to the besuited men behind the bench. At 5:00 of ice time, what’s the point?
- The stretch passes. Always with the stretch passes. Knock that shit off.
- Of course Tim Sassone awakes from his coma when Bickell engages in a meaningless fight with Wayne Simmonds, even if Simmonds is a weapons-grade irritant.
- It’s about time that Patrick Sharp awoke from his annual hibernation between January 1st and the end of March. Not being a defensive liability and being engaged in his own zone would be a decent start.
- A Teuvo mention during the broadcast, and oh, look at that MORNING SKATE LIVE on Friday. But that’s just a coincidence, and the kid shouldn’t be saddled with too many expectations.
- Basically, if the Hawks play with this lack of attention to detail tomorrow, the Blues are going to do unholy things to them. For all that Quenneville has worried about putting things on tape like some delusional, megalomaniacal football coach, the one thing that even this peanut gallery can see is that the Hawks are seemingly bereft of options when they’re not able to hit a forward in stride at the far blue line. Other teams see that, and sit on that, and counter accordingly. And none do it better than the Blues. Buckle the fuck up.