This is a pretty easy one to write. Though we hoped for the best, I think we all knew that after last night's descending into what felt like drug-addled madness that this game was just too big of a task. Those aren't chumps in the black and gold, and they play the exact type of game that you didn't want to have to combat when your legs are sapped. I can't sit here and complain about going to the whip repeatedly on the Hawks stars last night to overcome Detroit, because it worked and it was probably what was required. But there was a price to pay, and the Hawks paid it tonight. They got a chance with a couple silly Bruins penalties offering the Hawks an opportunity to sneak a lead and then try and hold on, which is about all they were suited for tonight. But the B's kill has been nails recently and the Hawks got barely a sniff. Still, after one there was a chance, but it evaporated when Johnny Boychuck's shot ended up looking like a John Danks curve and eluded Crawford (I'd try and write a Cubs metaphor equivalent in the interest of fairness but no Cubs pitchers has a sweet curve except for maybe Sean Marshall. If you need one, Marmol's slider).
And there's no one to blame. The first two Bruins goals were point shots that either deflected or had eyes, no defensive breakdowns. The third involved Nathan Horton beating Jonathan Toews down the ice with Toews carrying a comatose elephant on his back, such were his gas tank reserves on the evening. What're you gonna do?
Is it disaster? No, not really. The points that escaped the Hawks on Saturday hurt now, not the ones that were a stretch to get tonight. It's the next four games that will make or break. They should all be wins. The Jackets are awful, the Lightning aren't terribly good on the road, the Habs are collapsing in hilarious fashion and the Blues are apparently already more concerned with getting another round and taking an advil in the morning than hockey. I've also given up on the idea of trying to find an ideal first round matchup, because in the West there probably isn't one. Is playing Phoenix or Nashville going to be that much more pleasant than Detroit or Vancouver? God no.
As I write this the Coyotes have just taken the lead on the Stars, and that fucking howl is blaring in my ears. But that's a good thing. Every time a day drops off the calendar and the chasing pack gets no closer, that's a win. So let's hope the Yotes hold on. The Preds have already lost, they're still in touching distance.
Losses when you can't have them always hurt, but this one? Well, I just can't get that worked up about it. I will if they biff Friday though. Or Sunday. Or the two after that. No one said this will be fun.
-The B's are who I thought they were. Though I wonder if they can create enough offense when the chips are down in May, they're awfully hard to get a track meet going against. Maybe Kaberle folds when things really start to cook, but they're so disciplined and structured I don't know if it matters. They'll probably catch the Flyers again at some point, and that's going to be an utter bloodbath.
-If Sharp comes back and Dave Bolland ever emerges from that dark room, I can't decide if I want to punt Bryan Bickell or Fernando Pisani faster.
-Marian Hossa had 22 minutes, and Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell both cracked 25. In a game that was never really going your way and with the bigger battles ahead, was that necessary?
-When he's not calling the Wings -- and even when he is but I can't get past my bile for them -- Ken Daniels calls a really nice game.
-Certainly not on Crawford. Without him in the first this one would have been ugly early. He's been great the last three, is it possible he might be getting better? He'll need to be, he won't get a rest.
This is the part I hate. Now there are two days between games and all I have to do is stew about them and worry about other teams getting points. I know, it's an empty life. Fold this one back up and put it on the shelf, we're far from done.
-Amendment: With the Stars loss in a shootout, they are three back with six to go. If the Hawks manage a 4-2 record from here on out, the Stars cannot lose another game in regulation, and the Flames will have to go perfect 5-0 to catch us. 4-2 should be totally manageable. So there's your upbeat thought of the night.