That's not how we drew it up.
The Hawks put forth what can only be described as an unacceptable effort, save the last 10 minutes of the 1st, in a 5-2 setback at Staples Center to a pretty ordinary Kings bunch. Yes, the Kings have been a surprise, but they're still hovering around .500 and that's with an overwhelming majority of home dates. These are games you win if you're a good team. I was afraid with the last game of the trip the bus might be running, I didn't know the Hawks would get on it--metaphorically--after the 1st.
Once again, the Hawks struggled against a team that sets out to shut them down first, score second. The Hawks found little room to operate, and didn't create much when they did. They'll have to figure it out soon, or they'll be facing more teams attempting the same thing. Strangely, teams don't line up to let you play.
It looked for a time that the Hawks may get away with it. They had a 2-1 lead late in the middle period, but then two penalties turned the game around. The Kings weren't generating anything up until then, but once 51 Phantom and then Bolland found themselves in the box together, sharing their deepest secrets, the Kings were able to muster a few chances and then buried one just as Bolland's penalty ended. You can't go down two men when up a goal, or you're asking for the game to be lost from you.
I am officially starting the "Patience-Wearing-Thin-On-Campbell" Clock. I'm hardly there yet, but can see it from where I am. His 17 points from the backend can't be ignored, and neither can his enhancement of the power play. But you also can't ignore his repeated half-assed clearing attempts, his blown coverages, and his lack of physicality when we need it most. The impetus for the clock to start was obviously the empty-netter. You're down two, your goalie's pulled, you've watched the opponent ice the puck three straight times, you've won draw clean--maybe the first one all day--and you've got your best offensive d-man with the puck on his tape. And it results in a pretty stupid game-killer in your end. Puke.
Speaking of puke, I was getting ready to write a piece putting myself firmly on Cristobal Huet's side. He had put together 5 periods of very solid play. Then the 6th period came, and he started vomiting up rebounds like me vomiting up Fat Tire on Wednesday. We'll give him a half-pass for the Kings 4th, as Calder was allowed to stand in front of him with no one else even close. Is this our policy? Are we not trying to move screeners? If so, shouldn't we be trying harder to block shots and get in lanes? Someone tell me. Still, Huet cannot leave rebounds sitting in the slot screaming, "Bang Me" like some drunken sorority girl. Not that the rest of the team deserved a win, but any chance was lost.
So the trip that started so well ends so disappointingly. 3-2-1 looks ok, but not when you know how it came about. Had we won the last three to get that record, we'd probably feel better. But we didn't, and we don't. At least it's over. Let's forget this one ever happened.