A Small Sigh Of Relief: Hawks 5 - Avs 2 (See you next week?)

While the Hawks have ramped up their game this month and we shouldn't fear anyone, I know a few out there were a little urpy about the possibility of facing Scum in the 1st round.  Well, breathe again, because we can't.  As discussed in the gamethread, if the Wings should win on Sunday that would bring them to 102 points, which would vault them above Nashville who can only finish with a maximum of 100.  If the Hawks win on Sunday, they'll be #1 in the West and we'll see Colorado again, and maybe avenging a couple playoff losses to them 13-14 years ago that will at least make the 15 year-old Sam feel better. 

Anyway, not the most impressive win but hardly a bad showing either.  Things got off to a pretty good start.  Though the Avs had a couple chances, the Hawks had more.  They made it count when the magical 4th line kicked in again.  Frazzle Rock was able to corral a bouncing puck and fired one past Petr Budaj.  Few minutes after that, would you believe it (and I can't believe I'm typing this) A POWER PLAY GOAL, SAM ROSEN!  And look, it was Toews walking out from the corner and stuffing one home!  You mean that still works?  Where's that been?  Don't worry, the man-advantage went back to sucking after that.

The Hawks came out and pretty much had a comfortable second, and Sharp was able to finish off a crazy bounce over Budaj.  The Avs got one on a deflection from Proto-Stoa's shot that went over Niemi, who always looks like he's being attacked by bees on high shots from far out.  Anyway, 3-1 but we knew the Avs were coming.

And they did, and the Hawks pretty much kept them at bay with solid possession and a couple big saves.  They even masterfully killed off a penalty, but things got squeamish when Niemi lost track of the puck behind him and veteran asshat Darcy Tucker (when he wasn't picking a fight with noted toughie Kris Versteeg) was able to put one home off the ensuing scramble.  But out came the trump card again -- the 4th line -- and Kopecky beautifully fed Frazz for his second and set him on the path after Sidney Crosby.  Game.  Set.  Match.  Steeger added an empty-netter to give the Hawks their 6th 20 goal scorer (Hossa, Toews, Kane, Brouwer, Sharp).

Observations

-At this point, I'm pretty sure the Hammer of The Gods (Toews-Sharp-Hossa) makes me physically aroused.

-I thought Bolland looked slightly better than he did Wednesday, which looked slightly better than before.  Still not good enough, but baby steps to elevator.  He was once again shoehorned into the power play point.  But when Hjalmarsson and Sopel are your other options, I'm willing to give it a try.  He actually provided more movement than we've seen.  But having a unit of five forwards is going to cost us at some point, one would think.

-While I doubt any of the games would be a blowout, I have no qualms seeing the Lanche in the 1st round.  Especially if Duschene's injury is anything serious.  Sure, Foote and Hejduk didn't play, but does anyone out there think they'll make a huge difference?  Anderson has started to tire for a while now.

-That said, LA or Nashville wouldn't give me too many nightmares either.  But strange things can happen and all that.....

-Burish has played well in spot duty on the Top-6, but the way the 4th line is rolling he's headed back to the pressbox when Brouwer returns.

-I think Hossa just picked someone's pocket again...

And, I think that's it.  Once again, don't forget our Finale party Sunday for the game and postgame.  Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake.

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