Only the Hawks in this current state could score five goals, get a win they absolutely have to have, and I don't feel any better when I walk out of the UC. Whatever, two points, right?
To be fair, I thought the Hawks were the better team by some margin in the first two periods, but every chance the Leafs had went in. Some defensive goofiness, a penalty kill that got wonky again, and a bouncing puck combined with a flopping goalie, and there the Hawks were down 3-1.
That said, I guess there's a certain amount of rocks to not panic and come back from that and actually make getting to the lead look rather routine. Though that could have something to do with the wide open spaces the Leafs leave for you to sing you song in.
But whatever assuredness I had after the second was kind of washed away by a cover your head, hide under the desk 3rd. This is the same Hawks team that shut down the Wings up a goal in the 3rd, and that was without Toews. It almost seems like the Hawks were afraid to win, but they got there in the end when Hossa horsed Dion Phaneuf to get the empty netter.
-The first goal was a result of one of my biggest pet peeves with the way the Hawks try and break out of their zone. I know it's not taught at lower levels, but at the NHL there is nothing wrong with using the middle of the ice to get out if it's open. It's something I see Detroit and Vancouver do numerous times per game, and it's something the Hawks refuse to do. Many times you'll watch Wings d-men, when the puck is jammed on the boards and there's bodies along the wall, make a simple five-foot pass to a waiting forward in the middle with acres to break from.
So there we were not a minute in and Seabrook rushes back for a puck. Bolland was there at the circle, curling to take a pass on his backhand with both Lupul and Bozak on opposite walls and nothing in the middle. Instead, Seabrook fires a clearance blind along the wall which had no chance to get past Lupul, and it's rodeo time. Enjoy your first shift there, Oduya. I don't know if the coaches have told the Hawks to never use the middle of the ice, or if the forwards just haven't been there enough, but it's something they could use more.
-As for the 2nd goal, Seabrook either has to choose full charging Kessel or leaving him be, but not the in-between, because he left Oduya with two guys in front of Crawford to deal with. You know how that's going to end.
-That said, Seabrook probably needed some balm after the way Kessel was scorching him most of the night.
-Oh look, the Hawks win when Kane and Hossa lead them in CORSI. Never would have guessed.
-Still only got nine minutes, but Sami Lepisto was once again solid and tried the unique tactic of getting a shot to the point with traffic in front. Led to Kane's goal. He could have been doing this in December. And Keith still had to skate half an hour.
-Ok, good things. I thought Brunette had a nice game tonight, getting an assist but making things happen in front of the net. When he plays with players who enable his game, he can do this consistently.
-I get pulling Crawford after the 1st, but that's two straight starts he's been pulled. I fear his confidence might be completely unsalvagable now. If that's even a word.
-Speaking of which, during the 2nd my brother (The Ombudsman) joked that we'd start to hear a rumble from some that the Hawks should recall Cristobal Huet. I wasn't out for my 2nd intermission smoke for more than 45 seconds before a buddy asked about it. Don't mean to hang that out to dry, because he's a good guy with a hockey intellect. But still so funny. Don't think it's the last time we'll hear it either.
-After the Hawks tied it, Patrick Sharp cannot take an offensive zone penalty. You're an alternate captain there, buddy.
-I can't really listen to any more Patrick Kane hate, he was kind of everywhere. If he had this amount of shots with just his career average shooting percentage (which includes this year), it would be 21 goals for him. Look up BABIP, then you'll understand.
Ok, that's enough. Wins without Toews, however they come, are welcome. I guess.