In many ways, I think tonight's game just comes down to bad luck. The game was what we expected from two fast teams with the puck moving easily up and down the ice. As is their wont, the Avs were giving up what can only be called an assload of shots (30 through the first two periods) and as his own wont, Craig Anderson was doing what he seems to do best now which is stop just about all of them. The Hawks meanwhile were looking solid. While they got burned on Greg Mauldin's goal, they were doing what we wanted - limiting chances (only 12 shots against through two... that's two less than the Hawks had in the first period alone) and were swarming around the net, even if none of the almost blind passes to the crease were resulting in goals.
Then, as we've seen way to fucking often, everything went to shit in the third and of course it comes down to the penalty on Jordan Hendry. So lets just get it out of the way, it was horseshit. Neither ref had their hands up during the play meaning the call was made by a linesman which is rare, even more so considering it wasn't exactly a clear cut penalty. Hendry was battling for the puck along the boards with his back to Daniel Winnik when Winnik skated into Hendry's hand/butt-end of the stick. If they were going to call a high sticking penalty, it obviously had to be four minutes based on the injury. Unlucky. The Hawks giving up two goals though is just painful. They had almost killed the first two minutes before Tomas Fleischmann scored his first of his eventual hat trick and the game was just over. Fuck it dude, lets go bowling.
- So at least one interesting development - the Hawks seemed to be changing up their strategy on the power play going with an Umbrella set up. During the too many men penalty the Hawks had Brent Seabrook alone on the point with Patrick Sharp moving down along the boards with Kopecky on the other side and Toews/Brouwer down low. Damned if it didn't seem to create some chances. Then Philippe Dupuis tripped Morin. From then on everything went back to the clown shoes for the rest of the game. I didn't notice the umbrella again and I didn't see many chances on the power play either.
- I haven't ventured into the comments during the game thread yet but I'm imagining you're all pretty peeved about the Ryan O'Byrne hit on Stalberg... I am too. After turning to get a loose puck, O'Byrne nailed Vik high on the numbers, ramming him to the boards and even left his feet. 2 minutes. We could go on here about how this could have been a total game changer if the refs called a full 5 minute boarding... but as mentioned above... the power play is awful. Would it really have changed anything? Who knows.
- Speaking of the power play, the Hawks are second overall? The fuck?
- So Stalberg did not return, meaning that the Hawks were left for almost half the game with only 9 damn forwards. One of them would have had to skate with Hendry and Scott but Scott never saw the ice after Stalberg's injury and Hendry only got 3 shifts... one of them obviously being the shift where he got called on the high stick. Why were the Hawks so awful in the third period? A large factor could be how much ice time they were logging. It's not an excuse but it can't help to play from behind when you can't roll a fourth line... at all. This shit has got to end.. but instead we'll probably see if Nick Leddy or Shawn Lalonde can come up to fill in for Stals.
- The Avs blocked 25 shots, they average around 16 per game for the games leading up to tonight. This isn't saying much about their willingness to lay out and take away shooting lanes tonight though... it's more a testament to the poor shot decisions by the Hawks, in particular the defensemen and even more particular, Duncan Keith.
- The Hawks missed a golden opportunity on Monday because we saw two sides of Anderson in these games. Monday he was shaky but tonight he was all over the puck.
- I loved Troy Brouwer's reaction after scoring a goal with under a second left. At first he was thrilled to score his 5th point in 4 games... then he realized there was about .5 seconds left in the game and was left to ponder the absurdity of life in a way that only Kierkegaard could fully explain.
- Shattenkirk is kind of a funny name, isn't it?
- Cheer up folks - from all the noise on twitter it seems like the Penguins/Capitals 24/7 show on HBO is a must see. If you don't have HBO though.. umm.. I'm sure there are some good books or something out there. Actually just go buy all these albums.