I'm running out of things to punch when the Hawks blow a 3rd period. My dog will no longer share a room with me, I am careful to not have any bottles around, and the walls tend to win those battles. But that's how enraged I'm getting. Especially last night, as for the first five minutes of the 3rd, the Hawks seemed to get it. They were still getting after it, getting the puck deep, choking the Preds off in the neutral zone (and it takes an expert to know when to choke someone off). Even though some chances went by that didn't get buried that would have ended the occasion, I still felt at this temp the Hawks would comfortably see it out 2-0.
Then they hit a rest stop, or stopped to smell the roses, or the plane started running, or whatever because they basically sent out an RSVP to the Preds asking them to charge, and the Preds answered immediately. The Hawks were barraged. Barraged by a team whose only weapons are on the blue line. Barraged by a team they had under their thumb for 45 minutes. And now you've given away two points to a team you're competing with for a playoff spot. It's simply unacceptable. Surely they must realize what's happening on the bench, I can see it from the couch. And if they don't, do the coaches? Is the mental block so deep?
Still, i said three of four points this weekend would do, and though it has to be a regulation win tonight, that's still on the cards. But it should have been four, and with a minimum of fuss. Other thoughts:
-I was amazed at the handling of Viktor Stalberg last night. I thought for sure he would get benched after his wonky first period. Yet, he got regular shifts, and was rewarded with a goal. It's amazing what happens when you don't always go to the whip.
-Leddy and Hendry got horsed last night by the Preds third line mostly. They were a combined -23 in CORSI, though we've seen this with Hendry before, most notably the playoffs. Still, we should see how they bounce back tonight before making any conclusions.
-Best game the 3-6 Mafia has had this year? Team photo for sure.
-Jonathan Toews had one shot. Explain how that's good enough.
-I'm never going to understand the Preds. Down two centers, with Martin Erat having a big "I'm not interested" sign on him, with Patric Hornqvist a ghost, they still find a way. The bottom four d-men won't inspire songs. But there's Pekka Rinne, who is playing as well as anyone right now, and maybe that's enough for now. But I refuse to believe that scoring 2.5 goals/game and counting on your goalie to bail you out every night is a recipe for long term success. But I've been wrong before (*cough* Phoenix *cough*)
-Campbell and Hammer had Marcel Goc's line in their pocket all night.
But it still is a point that got away, and that must be rectified tonight. Haven't seen any news about whether Turco is going tonight, as well as Anders Lindback. I would think Turco should get the start as with a full five days off you risk getting him pretty stale. There really isn't much to add from last night, as if the Hawks carry out the first 45 to a full 60 tonight, then they should win.
Somehow I get the feeling Toews makes up for it tonight.