So much bad, and yet, so much good. I think I'll skip over the first period, if you folks don't mind. If you'd really like to relive it, feel free to reread my last game wrap, because it was much of the same; Out-hustled, out-forechecked, out-battled, and another perfect road period from the fighting Tippetts.
As for the second frame, that's worth retelling. A little over a minute into the period, it looked like we were headed for a repeat of last Tuesday's beat down when
Chris Johnson Kyle Turris entered the zone, got the puck in deep, and then headed to the front of the net. Bolland then wrung the puck around to an empty half wall, and Frolik got caught too far toward the right point, as Keith Yandle fired a top shelf wrist shot past a screened Corey Crawford and put the Yotes up by a score of 3-0. While Crawford was neither the saving grace nor the goat for the first 21 minutes of regulation, he became a victim of Quenneville's attempt to change momentum. As silly as it seems to some of us, the goaltending change may have been the wake-up call that the Men of Four Feathers needed.
The comeback started with Ray Emery getting his "Mike Smith" on as he got to a Phoenix dump in and shot the puck up the boards to Jonathan Toews. The Toews-led rush ended where it began when Captain Marvel found a blocked Kane cross ice pass on his tape, and beat Mike Smith blocker side. With every shift the Hawks worked harder and harder on the forecheck and along the boards, and eventually, the game opened up and played into their hands. The Yotes got lazy on a Hawks powerplay and allowed Duncan Keith to get a good hard shot on net, which was beautifully redirected home for the Captain's second tally of the night. With momentum in their corner, the Hawks would not be denied the equalizer. With just over six to play in the period, Viktor Stalberg intercepted a Daymond Langkow feed and pushed the puck ahead to Toews. Daydream Nation skated in on a two-on-one; Toews waited out Yandle and hit Kane with a sweet dish, which he skillfully buried.
The Hawks carried their strong play into the third period, but despite outshooting the Yotes 10-5, they couldn't muster the go ahead tally. Hossa (puck bouncing) and Stalberg (probably over-skated his chance) both biffed their high quality scoring chances in the third, and we moved on to an overtime period that yielded just 1 total shot between the two teams. The skills competition exposed Ray Emery in his first shootout attempts of the season, and the Hawks had to settle for 1 point on the night.
Bullets with Butterfly Wings
- I'm annoyed that the Hawks couldn't complete the comeback and finish the Coyotes in regulation while momentum was on their side, but my postgame outlook is positive overall. I don't know why it takes fear of a repeat of last Tuesday and a goaltending change for the Hawks to play with energy, and I don't know if this is going to be an issue all season, but damn it was fun to watch them skate for the final two frames. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've had a hard time getting excited during Hawks games this season. Whether it's the lack of close games over the last month or the fact that the Hawks as a whole can often get by on talent moreso than work ethic, I've had very few "jump off my couch" moments. Tonight's comeback, (as well as the Anaheim comeback) was a game that provided the excitement that I feel has been missing. It's not just the comeback itself, but the pace of the Hawks play that excites. Tonight felt like a playoff game, and it was good.
- Speaking of playoff hockey, Michael Frolik had a jump to his game that I haven't seen since Game 4 of last year's Vancouver series. The Bolland-Smith-Fro line might not have contributed on the score sheet, but they finally contributed in terms of offensive pressure. The Hawks are tough to beat when they can roll four lines that attack the puck, and tonight was the first time in a while that I found this to be the case.
- Jonathan Toews had just three points, and pussed out with no intimidating post whistle scrums or big hits. Oh, to have Erik Johnson and David Backes....
- After firing a puck into Mike Smith's chest when he had the chance to tie the game on an odd man rush, I wasn't sure when we were going to see Kane break his 8 game goal-less streak. There was plenty of room high blocker side on that chance, and it seemed that Kaner was really fighting it. Luckily, Toews handed Kane the slump buster on a silver platter just a couple shifts later. Let's go on a tear now, eh Humpty Hump?
- Emery wasn't tested much (11 for 11 in 43 minutes), but he was solid nonetheless. Razor's positioning seems to be better than Crawford's right now, and we'll see if this leads to more starts in the near future. All was well in the blue paint, that is, until the shootout happened. Make no mistake about it, those two Phoenix shootout goals were easy, so if Emery is going to get a few more starts, let's hope that he gets it done in regulation.
- It's not all sunshine and rainbows on the Pork Chop Express though. Montador's blown tire, OD's feeble attempt on the resulting 2 on 1, and whatever the hell our 8 million dollar man was doing on goal number two, left a lot to be desired for about 21 minutes or so.
- Lastly, both Carcillo and Stalberg are doing some things well right now, but I still don't get why Q keeps flip-flopping them for what appears to be no reason (at least to me). I've never been Vik's biggest fan, but he's had a couple strong games in a row now, and he's learning to use his speed to work an effective cycle with DDN rather then just being a weapon in transition. Stalberg is better suited for top line duty than Carcillo; Q needs to let each player do what he does best.
- On a different note: The approved conference realignment all but guarantees that the Hawks will have to go through the Red Wings if they are going to make it to hockey's version of the final four, but hey, at least we can sell our tickets for a sweet profit or get our jollies off chanting "Detroit sucks" for the foreseeable future, right? Right?