GAMETIME: 6pm Central
TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN 720
Christ the Hawks are playing a lot of games these days. I just know there's a clunker coming up. Then again, the clunker may have been against Minnesota, and they still won 4-1. Or maybe it was the 1st period against Anaheim, and they came out 5-2 winners. Maybe it's tonight on the road against a team we've struggled with for two seasons now. Or maybe against Minnesota again in the first of a back to back against a team the Hawks are pretty sure they can take lightly. Or maybe this team just doesn't have off nights. That may be closer to reality than I think.
Anyway, tonight the Hawks roll into The Hub of Douchebags to face a beat up B's team. Stalwart Patrice Bergeron is out, as is Andrew Ference, as is Milan Lucic. This team was short on scoring before these injuries. They did put up 4 against us a few weeks back, but that was with Bergeron pulling the strings and Anttii Niemi getting a little rebound-happy. In fact, Niemi's last three appearances haven't been jaw dropping, though he's set the bar so high anything would look bad at this point. He gave up four to Nashville, including two in the last five minutes to make that game way harder than it needed to be. He came in relief in Dallas, and also gave up two on 24 shots to Anaheim in the 3rd period after the game was decided. Maybe Niemi loses focus with a big lead? Either way, on the road he'll need a slightly better effort.
On the other side, all signs point to Tim Thomas
getting the start. Earlier in the year, this would have been a good thing. Not so much now. His last 10 games see a SV% of .917, including that sterling 40 save effort against the Hawks here. He's hasn't give up more than two twine-denters in his last four. He'll take some beating tonight. Though hopefully he'll stop playing goal to attack Troy Brouwer
like he did Scott Hartnell
during the Classic, leading to the Flyers
' only goal.
Other threats? Mark Recchi always scares me. David Krejci scored twice against us in the last game, though he has Niemi to thank for that. Marc Savard can always create something. But this team struggles to score a lot, and you know this by the signing of Miroslav Satan, who's been a corpse for a couple years now.
Andrew Ference is a miss for them, though he did provide Versteeg a wonderful centering pass the last time these teams met. There's still Chara and Morris, who Kane and Toews will see a lot of tonight. That leaves the human torch Marian Hossa facing Denis Wideman and Matt Hunwick. Oh god yes, more of that!
Won't be easy, and the Hawks haven't won in Boston since they mattered. As some of you know, this game hold personal themes for me, so I need a win, and one in regulation so I can chirp to all my chowderhead friends. So let it be done.
UPDATE: I see the Gamethread is already getting out of hand, so let me say to my brethren that you're dealing with different standards when it comes to talking to Bostonians. Here's some points to help you out.
1. In Boston, wearing your baseball cap backwards is not only acceptable, it is the prime fashion.
2. Beating your wife or girlfriend is called "breakfast" there.
3. Racism is mentioned in the town charter (though Chicago's record in that dept. isn't glittering either)
4. Most of them only started watching the B's last year.
5. Most of them have kids by the age of 19.
6. Unless you're on a college campus (and it's a challenge not to be), you'll find some of the ugliest people in the country.
Hope this helps.