GAMETIME: 9pm Central
TV/RADIO: VS. (for yanks), TSN (for hosers)/ WIND-560am, WGN Radio 720 (joined in progress)
It's going to be harder and harder to keep using Pelican for these, as they don't have any lyrics to pick from. But we'll get it done. Anyway, the Hawks have an opportunity to apply foot to throat tonight if they so choose. Even though their record at home this postseason is pedestrian at best, those clad in teal and black would definitely be making themselves aware of the location of the red button marked "panic" if they had to move east down 0-2. Let's make that happen.
The aftermath of Game 1 was a strange phenomenon, in which both sides claimed to be happy with their effort and not needing to change much in Game 2. The Sharks
had their chances, and merely need to be more accurate (i.e. shoot higher) with them to bag a few goals. The Hawks weren't worried about their lack of power plays, feeling those were coming and the number of chances they gave up reflected that imbalance. I suppose they could both be right. From our side, McClure is right in saying it would be prudent to see more bodies crashing the Kremlin that is Nabokov's crease. Though the Hawks threw 40 shots at him, rare was it that he had to deal with multitudes of traffic. That could be partly chalked up to the speed of the game, with chances fling back and forth perhaps there just wasn't time to set up screens. Either way, the Hawks will try and change this. As long as they play at this pace and are as smart with the puck as they were for the majority of Sunday, they'll get their power play chances.
The Sharks are right, they don't have to change much. On another day, they may have scored five. But their contention that they need to shoot their rebound chances higher is a tad misguided. Quite frankly, they didn't get many rebound chances. The Hawks d-men did as fine a job as they have all season of clearing those out. Rarely did Niemi have to make a second-chance save. So there are three possibilities: The Sharks pile-drive into the slot and crease and gobble up those rebounds, leading to more goals, the Hawks d-men continue to clear them as if they were a grenade, or Niemi simply gives up less of them. Two of those are good.
If the Sharks really do commit more men to the front, and don't capitalize, then they're going to be even more exposed on the break, precisely where Blake, Murray, and Vlasic don't want to be. It'll be an open affair once again, and another great ad for the sport. It'll come down to small moments once again, and the Hawks are generally better at them than the Sharks have been. Hopefully, that's the case again tonight.
But it'll depend on what Hawks team we get. We've seen both. After regaining home ice in Vancouver in Game 3, the Hawks came out and sapped their soul in Game 4. But with the chance to put them to the sword at home, the Hawks never got it un-sheathed. The former would see the Hawks returning home with a stranglehold on this. The latter would see the series basically starting over Friday night.
Up and at them!