Everyone got to see what was expected tonight in the first period, which was a team possessed in front of a bloodthirsty home crowd. Two goals in the middle of the opening frame were more than enough for Roberto Luongo and his goalposts to make it stand up for the remainder of the game, and so went the game 1 of the series. Despite skating well for the final 50ish minutes of the game, the Hawks couldn't solve Borat, but tonight certainly wasn't the beatdown that it appeared it would be early on, and for the third year in a row, the Hawks are now down one game to none against the Canucks. To the salient(ish) analysis:
- The hew and cry will be regarding Dustin Byfuglien's absence from this year's team as a reason for the Hawks' failures tonight, and while it's a tired point, it's certainly worthy of note. Luongo was rarely was forced to make second stops, and the first stops he made weren't through even the slightest bit of traffic. This will have to change if the Hawks hope to make a series out of this. Bryan Bickell, Tomas Kopecky, and Troy Brouwer, we're all looking in your direction.
Corey Crawford can hardly be blamed for either goal tonight, first on a tremendous redirection, and the second on a breakaway where his defense hung him out to dry.
- Speaking of that breakaway, Duncan Keith thoroughly dicked the dog twice in the same sequence leading up to Jannik Hansen's goal. Naturally, he took too long with the puck at the blue line and didn't feel Hansen coming on a change, though the shot he was bound to fire would have undoubtedly drawn shin pad anyway. And once he had been pilfered, he merely stood still, motioning for Crawford to head Hansen off by coming well out of his net. At the very least he could have busted his ass back and forced Hansen to one side, perhaps into the broken stick that lie motionless in the slot right in Hansen's path, for example, or even squeezed him in between himself and Brian Campbell.
- All that said, after that point, the Hawks did mount a pretty consistent attack. Luongo did make more than a few key saves, the most spectacular of which was on Campbell in the waning minutes of the first, but was bailed out by goalposts on at least three occasions.
- To that point, who remembers the names "Kesler" or "Sedin" being called for the final 50 minutes of the game?
- The power play is fucking clown shoes.
- Whether he's healthy or not, Patrick Sharp was certainly the most noticeable forward from my vantage point.
- The one fear resulting from this game is that for as much as the Hawks took it to the Canucks for the latter 2 periods, they came up bagels, and that might result in the team squeezing their collective sticks a little tighter should a bounce not fall their way. It's a far cry from the outcome we all anticipated of the Hawks being in the Canucks' heads. But for a team that struggled to score down the stretch, if the bounces continue to head in this direction, it could end up being a short series. The hope is that they get more traffic to the net and more second chances.
- Get well soon three-six.