According to the guy sitting behind McClure and I last night, the Blackhawks, unlike the Kings, did not come out ready to play. Even though that saying doesn't actually mean anything but we can at least forgive him for thinking it based on how the Hawks started out the first 20 minutes. Duncan Keith was the goat early on as he was seemingly unable to pass the puck more than 5 feet despite his intended targets being much further away from that. It caught up with the Hawks just over a minute into the game after a chaotic scramble in front of the net. Keith came down low to collect the puck and tried to fire it across ice to Seabrook, still manning the blue line. The pass was no where close though and went right to Dustin Brown who sprung the Kings on the dreaded 4 on 1 break.
When the first 20 was done, the Kings had put 17 shots on goal and controlled the pace of play but only had one goal to show for it. The following two period saw a pretty strong effort from the Hawks as they limited to only 11 shots for the final two periods and only a single in OT. In contrast, the Hawks put up 10 and 16 shots in the final two but went without any in OT. Despite the better effort, the Hawks still had trouble finding a way to beat Jonathan Quick. It was only off two ugly goals that the Hawks were able to tie the game before they were all shut down in the shootout.
- Other observations from people seated near me last night: Duncan Keith needs to be benched and also may need new contacts. Stalberg sucks. When down a single goal early in the first, it's time to "run the goalie".
- OK.. so maybe he's right about Keith. Once again, he was alright without the puck but a complete disaster early on with it on his stick. We've gone over the first goal but it was a misplay behind the net that led to the puck popping out to Jeff Carter for the Kings second goal. Carter was completely alone in front of the net so it wasn't all on Keith but his panic level seems to be going through the roof these days.
- The dude was wrong on Stalberg though. This was the first game I'd seen live in a while and his speed is downright terrifying. Not too many other players in the league would have been make that breakaway happen. Now if only we could get him a set of hands to finish.
- Q loaded up on power to start the game with Kane, Sharp and Hossa all on a starting line. Interesting idea but it didn't work. Didn't keep Q from sticking with it longer than almost any other combination he's put together. The three of them were too focused on making the pretty play when it was clearly the night for dirty goals.
- Another solid game from Emery but I'm still not fully sold on him as the #1 for the rest of the year. He made big saves but his speed from post to post is just begging for a quick forward to try the wraparound. Q is obviously going to stick with whatever is working though so until he shits the bed or gets fully exposed, Emery is our guy.
- Shootout are and always will be a joke but I still don't understand the use of Shaw or Kruger over Bolland. Hossa and Kruger could probably stand to think up a new move.