I think we all knew there was going to be a goal like that given up by Corey Crawford at some point. What hurts is that it came after a sterling performance and at the worst possible time.
Yet those of us in the building, and maybe you could at home, could sense that it was coming. Because at every whistle in overtime, the Hawks had a lot of sticks on knees, bent over at the waist. Didn't look like that on the other end. Maybe it was because that the Hawks had to skate with nine forwards for most of the game. Partly because Q still chooses to dress Brandon Bollig, and partly because....wait, hang on, let me think for a second.....oh right, because the Hawks had one forward maimed by a lunatic while all four officials wondered why they didn't have a piece of plexiglass at their belly button so they could see while they had their head up their ass.
That said, the Yotes tonight were without two top nine forwards in Korpikoski and Hanzal. While it may not be even, it has to be accounted for.With all of that, it was another even game decided on the slightest of margins, and this time the bounces went back to the Yotes. It hurts because of all that went on, but it should hardly be a deathblow. It's not like anyone's overmatching anyone here.
-Let's get it out of the way now. There's nothing revelatory I'm going to see about Raffi Torres's hit here. You all know. If you saw his postgame comments, you saw a guy who knows his series and maybe his playoffs are over. It was all kinds of wrong, and he should be punished accordingly. And yet it won't really matter, because the Yotes will lose a 4th liner while the Hawks will be without one of the league's best two-way forwards. They could ban him for life and it won't make you feel better. That said, tomorrow we'll worry about what the Hawks do in the lineup to compensate. Right now we'll be happy that Hossa has been released from the hospital, because there were a few moments there where things looked awful.
-To the game, and my main fear right now is that the Coyotes first equalizer came from something that the Hawks just aren't going to have an answer for, and that's Nick Leddy getting overpowered on a forecheck. He avoided a hit, lost the puck, Boyd Gordon swoops in to get it to Klesla, and there you go. The OT goal, as bad as it was, came after Hjalmarsson made a pretty soft play in the corner. That's not going away either. I don't have answers for those.
-To boot, the Hawks once again gave up a goal directly after scoring one, an annoying trend that's now crossed into the truly worrisome area. Yeah, it came after a pretty nice pick play to cut off Toews at the blue line. But still, all of Sharp, Toews, and Keith just lost Whitney for that rebound, and those are the three guys you count on to not do that.
-Speaking of Toews, he's the only one with a significant negative CORSI on the night, and it looked like the legs just weren't there. And why should they be? He missed six weeks and then is thrown right into a series that's all about work and grit. We think so much of him that we just thought that his oversized heart would get him through, but that doesn't look good right now. Then again, I'm not going to sit here and tell you he won't dominate Game 4.
-Strange, would have thought the Hawks would have had the better of a four-on-four.
-All of that said, aside from those two gaffes from Hammer and Leddy, I thought the Hawks game at even-strength was much closer to where it needed to be than the first two games. They were much cleaner with the puck getting out of their zone. Hopefully that stays shored up, and they can get to work about retrieving just a few more pucks in the offensive zone.
-While they should have had far more power play time, they didn't do much with the time they had. An adjustment I'd like to see is getting Nick Leddy out there ahead of Johnny Oduya. O.D. Gangsta admitted upon arrival that he wasn't a PP player, and there's little reason to force it now. It also will allow Leddy to do what he has wanted to do most in this series, and attack. Other than that, at least they got set up. That's the straws I'm grabbing at.
-However, after the first kill, the second two were as aggressive as I want to see.
Look kids, we've been here before. The Hawks trailed the Preds two years ago 2-1, and that Game 4 was in Nashville. They trailed Vancouver three years ago 2-1 and were down with four minutes to go in the 3rd. This series is so close right now, it's hardly out of reach. Yeah, it's going to be a long day tomorrow, and a tense one Thursday. Is the fatigue we saw in OT restricted to tonight? Or creeping in at a far scarier level? Whatever, no one is going to question the Hawks' balls, and that's what will matter most Thursday.