I'm sure this is what some of you look like right now. The 300 Level's server has probably melted at this point. I'll be honest, I'm getting real uneasy as well. I'm sure will chalk this up to another shit effort, and say how this team will miss the playoffs, blah blah blah. Sometimes the team on the other bench is just better than you are. So it was with the Devils. You want a lesson in how you shut down a game in the 3rd? Watch the tape of the 3rd. The Hawks managed 5 shots, needing two goals. You want to know why NJ is coming out of the East, there you go.
It was always going to be a tough night. Not only are the Devils hot, they were playing for history. Q changed up everything, and while some of the new line combos were interesting, some were weird. We already know Kane and Havlat don't work together, as they both need the puck. Brouwer and Buff were on the same line, which puts two of the same player together (especially tonight, when Buff actually bothered). It was clear the communitcation on the new defensive combos was off, and the Hawks were made to pay for it 36 seconds in.
Both Keith and Walker -- if this were soccer they would be convicted of "ball-watching"-- and neither of them picked up the ever-annoying Jamie Langenbrunner, who crashed in Parise's centering pass.
Walker wasn't done self-immolating the Hawks, though. A few minutes later, just as a Devils PP was ending, he wasn't able to keep Zajac's stick tied up, and Parise was allowed to find him. I don't remember Aaron Johnson being significantly worse than Matt Walker, but lately Matt Walker has been Ralph Wiggum. How many bad games is he allowed?
Going down two was always suicide, and though most of the rest of the way the Hawks more than held their own, they struggled to make a dent. Paul Martin, Colin White, Johnny Oduya, as advertised, held the Hawks to one chance and done all night, and pretty much controlled the boards. Man, are they tough.
The game was officially finished on what should have been a big power play for the Hawks. It's really silly to complain about Brian Campbell's defensive short-comings any more. We knew what he was when he got here, and he's been exactly that. But to go over it, he came on the ice late, and then when faced with a 2-on-1, didn't take away the pass, even though Elias was on his backhand and was getting pressured by Toews. Makes it too easy for a gifted sniper like Gionta. Barker scored on the same PP, but that should gave gotten us right back into the game, instead of merely keeping heads above water.
You already know about the 3rd. I'm sure your heart sank when you saw the Devils are 33-0-1 when leading after two. You saw why.
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