Well, that was weird. What we've learned tonight is that the Hawks are so good the only team that can consistently beat them is the Hawks. At least that's what I thought after seeing that. The Hawks had periods of play where they were brilliant. And then some were...not so much. Turnovers, penalties, bad decisions, and oh yes, fun-bad goaltending. These nights happen, although I'm sure I'll have to break out Chicken Little around here after too long.
The first period was an ass-kicking that somehow only ended up in a 3-2 lead. The Hawks were all over the Stars, causing penalty after penalty, and simply fustigated them when they had the man advantage. The puck movement was beautiful, the player movement even better, and the effort top notch. It resulted in two power play goals, one each from Brouwer and Kane. But the Hawks gave it right back when Huet fell over on a Stars power play, leaving a whole net for Willa Ford to shoot at. Later, Huet decided to do an impression of a drowning man when Ribeiro went around the net, leaving far too much ground to cover to get back. Thankfully, Versteeg made a stupid good pass that left Fraser with a chance not even he could miss, and I think we all felt it would be pretty academic from there.
Whoops. The 2nd saw the Stars tighten up their ship considerably, and a nightmare of a minute got them going. Toews lost a board battle (dogs sleeping with cats!) which let Brad Richards find Loui Eriksson (one of about seven supremely annoying forwards Dallas has) who dribbled one through Huet's legs. And we thought his problem was going down to quick. Seemingly, the next shift Steve Ott (another one) sent a cross ice pass that hit troy Brouwer's skate and popped about three feet in the air, wrong-footing Huet and heading in. Perhaps he overplayed the pass a bit, but this is more down to just rotten luck. Still, a change needed to be made. The Hawks stabilized somewhat, and Kane and Toews once again brought us back with some hard forechecking, resulting in another Kane goal. Can he miss right now?
I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought after that late 2nd period goal, the Hawks would cruise to the two points. And then Brent Sopel got caught isolated and flat-footed. Still, the Hawks had their chances, and Niemi made some big saves to keep them within one, including spitting one guilt-edged chance back at Mike Ribeiro, just like Steve Ott spits back Ribeiro's semen at him after he's done blowing him in the shower.
Meh, can't win them all, and this was just one of those goofy nights.
Yes, Huet was bad. But I don't think it's a trend. He's been so good for a while now, and this was just one of those drink-it-off-at-the-bar-days at the office. Still, I have an itchy feeling the boo birds will be out on Thursday.
-Though the numbers won't reflect it, there's been a slight drop in Marlboro 72's play in the past couple games. Couple more turnovers, couple mishandled chances. They're still playing well, but they've slipped slightly from the incredibly lofty standard they've set.
-Teams may decide the best way to attack the Hawks is to furiously forecheck their d-men. The Preds did it, and the Stars did it tonight. It's not a bad idea, because the Hawks only have one and a half defensemen who are a sure thing to handle their way out of trouble (Campbell and Barker). Keith can get a little jumpy, Seabrook isn't all that quick, and neither is Hjalmarsson. Though that may leave teams short at the back, which would be death.
-Coach Q needs to calm the fuck down. It's hard to complain about a coach behind the bench of the team that's top of the Conference. But his impatience at times can be baffling. After mauling the Stars for the 1st, one bad minute resulted in line-a-palooza again in the 2nd. Versteeg was shifted to play with Sharp and Hossa, then we saw those two wingers with Madden, and on and on it went. For a team that had won 7 of 8, I think it's entitled to one bad period, or even game, before we start rolling the old Linemates Slot Machine. This was after Sunday's game where Patrick Kane was on the ice in the last minute protecting a one goal lead. Strange days, indeed. Most peculiar, mama.
Anyway, I wouldn't get too upset about this one. You can't win them all, and there will just be some nights where your goalie spits it. There have been far more when he's let none in. Happens. Get 'em Thursday. Though it does ruin my dream of the perfectly symmetrical 3-loss months. Oh well.