Begged, Stolen, and Borrowed - Caps 4, Hawks 3 (OT)
All things considered, I suppose that we should be somewhat relieved that the Hawks did manage a point on the road against a scorching hot Capitals team wherein Dave Bolland didn't play and Brian Campbell was limited at best. But it's to the stage in the season where the Hawks can't be giving away points and the clusterfuck that is the Western conference can pass them by in a heartbeat, as they're all currently doing. 4 points out of 8 on the road against the East is hardly cause for panic, but not coming away with a win in over a week does make the stomach acid flow. Time to strip the gauze for a rational self analysis.
- Both the first and third goals were preventable. Sharp's gotta hold that puck, and Seabrook could have taken a more direct route, but the fact of the matter is that Crawford's gotta have that at that distance if he saw it as clean as he did. On the third goal, Viktor Stalberg was napping on Brooks Laich (perhaps in awe of each other's rugged good looks), and though the pass from Fehr was just a blind backhand pass to no one in particular in front that Laich pounced on, he still won the puck from Keith below the goal line.
- On the OT winner, there will be a hew and cry that Knuble was left alone in front to do what he does best, but an argument could be made that 4-on-4, there's not a lot of a point to tying the guy up to give more space to the other three on the ice. But even if it's argued that way, Duncs has to close faster than he did, giving Knuble enough time to pirouette and get square to Crawford on his forehand. Kane doing a fly-by didn't help matters, either.
- It's a small sample size, but Michael Frolik at center could end up being a happy accident. He's clearly got the hockey IQ and defensive awareness for the position, and he was making things happen in the other end, even if he does seem to be snakebit a little still on the goal scoring end of things. He got thoroughly porked at the dot, however, going only 2 for 9, which is a far cry from what happened Wednesday in Tampa.
- Seabrook can't give Chimera that fight, even if he did bulldoze Crawford. He has to be more aware of the personnel situation. Seabrook was still in the box waiting for a stoppage after his 5:00 minutes were up when the Laich goal was scored on a defensive breakdown.
- Bryan Bickell is back to playing like Radim Vrbata after one shift of throwing his weight around in Tampa.
- This was probably Nick Leddy's most active game offensively to this point in the year, and he looked good doing it, especially navigating the neutral zone. His own zone still leaves a lot to be desired, but the upside is certainly bright.
- Jonathan Toews' will to win is a pretty impressive thing. It'd be nice if more people got on board.
- As tired as Crawford looks, Quenneville will in all likelihood come right back with him again tomorrow night against San Jose.
- The next three games are huge against teams in the Pacific that the Hawks are in the thick of things against win San Jose, Dallas, and Phoenix. The last time that the Hawks went through this kind of gauntlet they ran the table, they'll need that level of production again, and this time possibly without 36 and/or 51.