"Nothing's easy." -Homer Simpson
I shouldn't have been surprised for a couple reasons. A) I shouldn't have been surprised that this went to OT once again because this Hawks team has never wanted anything to do with easy. Everything for the past two months has been the ultimate test of balls, why should this be any different?
And B) I shouldn't have been surprised this was a Red Day, when Troy Brouwer scores the winner, Kris Versteeg scores, and Craig Anderson throws a shutout in MSG. Not to mention Phillip Humber's perfect game (fuck me, did the Mariners even threaten a hit?), a rare Cubs win, and the Bulls win. It's the blue bars and red stars day, my friends.
But let's get to the hockey, shall we?
-It feels so funny to say in yet another game that went to OT, but I feel like this was the Hawks most dominant game. The mistakes were limited to few, they actually started harassing the Yotes' D into mistakes and turnovers. Except for shifts here and there, the Hawks were barely threatened. And yet. the most egregious mistake was Hjalmarsson's pinch for no reason -- he would have been even more open for a pass at the point which Hayes wasn't even looking for anyway -- was duly punished. Which is the most impressive thing about the Yotes. When you give them an opening, they simply don't miss.
-But to speak of the Hawks' dominance, here is the CORSI.
-I really have no idea why it took so long, but Q finally figured it out. While Lepisto barely saw the ice, no forward saw less than 10 minutes. Did that contribute to Toews's winner? It couldn't have hurt. This is what happens when you roll four lines.
-You know what, let's not beat around the bush (by crackee!) any more. Michael Frolik has been the best skater on either side since he entered the fray in Game 3. The Hawks could have had this for the last three months of the season if Q hadn't spent considerable time fucking with his head. But whatever, that's done now. When Chicken Hawk returns on Monday, there's no way Fro can be moved from the spot he's in now. Shaw can be on the 4th line.
-Whatever other mistakes came from the Hawks tonight aside from the goal usually came from Johnny Oduya. He was the victim of some seriously bouncing pucks at times, but he also seems to want SAT length time to make a decision, which he won't get at this time of year.
-Oh Viktor, why do make it so hard to champion you? I'm sure there were a lot of us that wanted Rattlehead to net the winner after just an awful game. But when he wasn't taking penalties Stalberg was making things happen with his speed and he won the board battle to set up Toews's winner. If Q can stick with him, I expect a very big Game 6 from Stals.
-i will accept Nick Leddy's defensive shortcomings if he continues to attack at the other end, which he did.
-Hey Kaner, why don't you make another extra move at the blue line, asshole?
-Good on Corey Crawford, who really didn't have much to do which can be hard on a goalie. Brule was allowed to tee up from the ladies tees, but when Michal Rozsival had a prime chance Crow came up big. I know the two OT goals will be his epitaph no matter what happens, but for the overwhelming majority of this series he's been solid, if not more.
There are still many miles to go before we sleep. However, the longer a series goes, the bigger the sample size is. The bigger the sample size is the more the talent gap should shine through. I think you began to see that tonight, when the Yotes defense was as jumpy as we've seen it this series. Toews came up when it counted. I just can't believe that Kane and Sharp won't be heard from before it's over.
Sure, Smith could stand on his head. A bounce or two could go Phoenix's way on Monday. It could be anything. But you could argue that you can hear the Yotes' defense starting to creek. It could get louder Monday.
The clock still reads 11:59.