That one moving slow enough for you?
There's not a whole hell of a lot to say about this one. With Duncan Keith sitting out the first of his five game unpaid vacation and Jonathan Toews still waiting for his own personal Tilt a Whirl to come to a halt, the Hawks ended up doing exactly what they couldn't do against the Predators, who are coached to make them pay. Tonight's game was key in the Hawks' hopes of gaining home ice for the first round of the playoffs, and those hopes took a major hit even with one game left against the Preds down in Nash Vegas. To the bullets, unpleasant as they may be.
- On Nashville's first goal, it's actually hard to argue with the defensive position of any of the Hawks, but Brendan Morrison flat out got worked over by the much larger Paul Gaustad. While in theory there could have been help from either defenseman, Morrison still had long enough to at least get a stick on the puck. Not to mention that even coming back against the grain, Matt Halischuck's shot had next to nothing on it, and could have been stopped by Crawford.
- Speaking of which, it was a less than stellar performance from Crawford all the way around, with a couple of softies from the outside added on for good measure.
- Brandon Bollig. Yeah, he broke Jordin Tootoo's face, which historically hasn't been all that hard to do. He's still useless. How clownish did these two look trying to drop them on the false start faceoff?
- Who's more useless - Brendan Morrison or Brandon Bollig?. Suit up Hayes, move Sharp to center, and let's just hope that Morrison's not seen or heard from in any meaningful situation in the near future.
- Believe it or not, despite the lopsided score, the Hawks had every opportunity to get back into this game if they had a power play that was even in the same time zone as competence. Yeah, they're hamstrung personnel-wise, but that still doesn't make a complete inability to enter the zone forgivable. And it's not like things were humming along nicely when 19 and 2 were in the lineup.
- While the gap narrowed to 25-24 by the final horn, the Hawks outshot the Predators pretty resoundingly throughout the game, and the Corsi numbers show an even wider gap, even if a lot of shots came from the perimeter. A .750 save percentage from your goalies and a flaccid power play will undermine that kind of control in play pretty quickly.
- Once again the key talking points from the flapping heads of Brian Engblom and Ed Olczyk became the effort or lack thereof on the Hawks' part. The above stats do a pretty good job of pissing all over that notion, not to mention that the Predators' entire game is designed to make things difficult for the opposition in transition. Without two of their key puck moving elements in the lineup on a team it's going to look like that, and it's more lazy analysis on the part of so-called experts.
- Not much to be done from here except gird up and head east to take on Fatso and Co. at The Rock on Tuesday, who aren't going to allow the Hawks much more space than was given tonight. Having one of the two men in masks stand up and grab ahold of a job that's clearly still up for discussion at that point with a timely save or two would go a long way in helping to survive this stretch.