It's Something Less Than A Holiday: Hawks 1 - Kings 1 (Kings win punt, pass, and kick competition 2-0)
Well, it's over. Though I'm sure we all feel just a tad flat after the last two, a Circus Trip record of 4-1-1 is beyond acceptable, and borders on wildly successful. We would have all taken that before the trip began, it's just one point from the last two makes it feel worse than the record suggests it should.
Once again, it's frustrating watching the Hawks not figure out how to play a trapping team until the 3rd period. The Kings constantly sagged all five skaters into the neutral zone, and yet for the first 40, all the Hawks took turns trying to stickhandle through the entire Orc Army. The results were predictable. Still, they created some chances here and there, which Jonathan Quick stood up to, and Huet made his share of saves as well. Though why he was playing on back-to-back nights after Niemi's last outing is anyone's guess.
The deadlock was broken when Marlboro 72 reverted to their sophomore year ways, letting Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds dance through them unmolested. Good play by the Kings duo to be sure, but Seabrook should have closed down the passing lane better, and Keith could have done more than ask Simmonds if he wanted fries with that as he skated by. 1-0. The rest of the period was pretty ho-hum.
Finally, the Hawks got it in the 3rd, chipping the puck in deep, outskating a slow Kings d-corps and creating chances. A few of them fell to Marian Hossa last night, and I get the feeling that if those same chances fall to him in about five games or so, the shots will be going top-corner instead of goalie's crest. So it goes. Captain Marvel was able to cash in on the power play to get a point for his team, which was the least he deserved. Has he played a better stretch of hockey than this one?
OT was your usual hair-on-fire stuff, though Kane did draw a penalty during it, which is the reverse of how the Hawks worked these things last year. However with only seven skaters on the ice, the Hawks couldn't figure out how to enter the zone, which is sort of mystifying. A couple of awkward Hossa one-timers was all they could muster.
You know how it goes from there. Wonderful trip, and this team is so good we're all a little disappointed it wasn't better. Ah well. December is a home-heavy slate, with 10 games at the UC. As McClure has dubbed it, it should be Runaway and Hide Time.