Sometimes, you tie.
This is my point with shootouts. Tonight was probably as even as you get, with both teams carrying some play and each benefiting for being harmed by a couple bounces here and there. But because we have to flip a coin to see who wins, the Hawks don’t get as many points as the Ducks. That’s how that goes.
The big point will be the Hawks power play, and that’s a valid one. Aside from Leddy’s goal, the Hawks barely threatened on the rest. And the gremlins from last year are creeping into it. Right now, it has about as much movement as a goth dance party, and that has to stop. It also wouldn’t hurt to try and create off the rush more than it is. Just because it’s a power play doesn’t mean you have to set up a system if something else is there.
The 4-on-3s on the OT were painful, as Q opted for four forwards for the entirety of the second one. But that misses the point. Though he scores from there on occasion, Hossa’s biggest attribute on such an advantage is his puck-retrieval and movement. If you’re going to have someone just blast from the point, Seabrook would be the better option. If you need someone to run it, Leddy would be the better option. Still, totally fixable if they diagnose the problem as we see it.
-Secondly, it’s been lost in the avalanche of points, but the Hawks have only held narrow 3rd period leads in four games. The first time was when they were doing their best to blow a three-goal lead to St. Louis. The second was losing a one-goal lead to a Wings team begging to be gassed. The third was in Calgary, but that was such an abhorrent effort on all levels it might be its own case. The fourth was tonight. And outside of St. Louis — because that lead was so big — they’ve blown them all. I suppose you could count the Columbus game, but that didn’t feel as in doubt and we’re talking about the fucking Jackets anyway.
Why? For sure in the Blues, Wings, and tonight, the Hawks got too passive. They restricted themselves to a 1-2-2 for a majority of the 3rd, and that’s not what they are. Until the last minute, the Hawks really should be trying to win every game by three or four goals. Considering how bad they were blistering the Ducks D on chases and to the outside, there was no reason to give that up.
Still, both Ducks goals came off deflected pucks to an open man or a Hawks stick. Kane probably needed to move that puck quicker for the equalizer, but that’s going to happen when he’s being asked to skate with Bolland when Bolland is matched against the other top threat.
-While we’re on that, it didn’t seem like Q was matching up to be fair. He was just rolling his lines and letting the chips tumble to Earth as such. That’s fine.
-Someone is going to have to explain how the Hawks got a second goal, because I couldn’t figure it out.
-Are people going to yell at me now about Saad taking the third attempt in the shootout? Please don’t.
-Andrew Cogliano deserved his goal, because he was everywhere tonight. Really unleashed under Boudreau.
-So was Daniel Winnik, strangely.
-Dave Bolland’s only successful strategy on draws right now is to let the other guy win it so cleanly it goes out of the zone.
-Thank you Brad Staubitz for perfectly showcasing just how stupid it is to start a fight after a perfectly clean hit, especially when it’s on the quite sizable Getzlaf who doesn’t need protection.
-Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp combined for five shots tonight. You can keep telling me it doesn’t matter that his line doesn’t have the puck enough, and I’ll keep not believing you.
-On the other side, Brandon Saad had six shots and was the best player on either team.
-Marcus Kruger won 7 of 10 draws, and was a stone bitch on the kill. It seems that having a role where he doesn’t really have to worry about offense settles well with him.
-That was actually as solid as Crow has looked all year with his angles, but I don’t think you have to fall on your face every time you make a glove save.
Nothing to panic about, but just a couple things to keep an eye on as we move along here.