It wasn't ideal, but it got the job done, didn't it. No one can be picky about how points are acquired now that the Hawks have literally pissed away the last of their margin of error. But we'll take it, and so will the Hawks, I'm quite sure of that.
Even with Patrick Sharp returning and pulling his best Willis Reed impersonation, things started out predictably putrid, with a limp wristed secondary breakout pass was picked off by the T.J. Oshie, who seemingly got over his hangover from last week just in time for tonight's game. Oshie waited long enough to throw the puck at the net for David Backes, who would have been late getting back had the pass not been picked, to get inside position on Brent Seabrook to Corey Crawford's left, allowing Backes to tip it home. From there, the effort from the Hawks didn't imbue the gathered masses or the home audience with any real sense of optimism, as aside from a 2 man advantage where nothing of merit happened, the Hawks looked lethargic and disinterested.
A late offensive zone penalty in the first by the decreasingly useful Michael Frolik naturally ended up costing the Hawks early in the second when repeated attempts to clear the pucks the length failed, and Niklas Hjalmarsson took a heinously bad change, which allowed Oshie to be found in transition alone from the blue line in, beating Crawford high. With the lever pulled on the Line Slot Machine, Toews, Sharp, and Hossa began generating some offense, and the Hawks finally caught a break with Hossa getting a stick barely on the puck at the goal line, which was allowed after a lengthy review. The floodgates opened temporarily with TomoKop punching home a rebound in front, and Nick Leddy let a shot rip that had eyes past Conklin to give the Hawks the lead after 2.
As has been the problem all year, a 3rd period lead evaporated on a fantastic individual effort by Chris Stewart, who spit both Leddy and Keith to whack a loose puck past Crawford to knot things back up. For the remainder of the period, the Hawks seemed content with stringing things out to at least get the charity point, which is always a recipe for disaster. Things livened back up during bonus hockey, with a quick odd man chance for Toews that farted through Conklin's legs but didn't find the white paint. After an Oshie shot to Crawford's grill left him momentarily stunned, Duncan Keith found Toews 150 feet away streaking down the left wing, and Captain Marvel once again put it out on the table...and past Conk Block. Hawks 4, Blues 3, Flames all but extinguished.
- All three Blues goals were absolute garbage from the Hawks, none of which Crawford can be blamed for. On the first, that pass has to get out of the zone more assertively, and Seabrook can't let Backes inside. For the second, any number of those clearing attempts have to get all the way down, but Hammer has to pay better attention on that change. And the third....
- When is Q going to figure out that Leddy and Keith together don't work? This is at least the fourth goal that those two have been beaten on a fast break, and once again the problem seems to be communication. Even though Chris Stewart is a certifiable beast, these are two of the fasted D-men the Hawks have, and they're continually crossed up and beaten. Knock this the fuck off, Q.
- Speaking of coaching ideas that don't work, we've said it 983 times, but for a staff that stresses the importance of 5-on-3's, you'd think at some point they'd figure the fuck out how to get their point men on their off sides for one timers.
- Marcus Kruger was a healthy scratch, but always remember, it was always the plan to bring him here.
Ben Smith comported himself nicely, and very quickly earned enough trust to be out there during the waning moments of a tie game, and even a shift in OT.
- In Patrick Sharp's return, while he did register 7 shots on net, he wasn't all that noticeable, and was even taken off the third period power play point when the Hawks were defending a lead, but still finished with 19:37 TOI.
- On Hossa's goal, it looked to me like a kick and that it didn't get in, but it's nice to catch a break every now and again, isn't it?
- Dear transplanted Hawks fans in St. Louis, should the Blues re-up Oshie, please buy him shots any time you see him out at the bar. No one in Blackhawks Nation wants to watch him pull this act first hand 6 times a year.
- Jonathan Toews, as Sam foresaw, once again laid it out on the table to end it, as if it could have possibly been anyone else. Stone. Cold. Killer.
- As of right now, the Sharks are doing the Hawks no favors being down 5-1, victimized thrice by Corey Perry who has freaked the fuck off to the tune of 50 goals on the year. Niittymaki is in net for the Sharks for the first time since Fork was in junior high, because Doug Wilson can't help but dick over the Hawks [/tinfoil hat]. Phoenix is currently on top of L.A. 2-1 in the early part of the second.
Had Stewart not evened thing up in the third, this spot would belong to Nick Leddy for the first time, but the situation being what it was, there was only one choice.