One Step To Slip - Avs 4, Hawks 3 (OT)
Wait, we've got to do that another 81 times?
I know it's early and I'm still bleary-eyed myself, but I'm pretty sure I saw the sun come out this morning. But I don't know shit about shit, so I could be totally off base.
In any event, there was a fair amount to both like and dislike from last night's tilt in Colorado. Things started out well enough, with the Hawks maintaining a fairly solid edge in the possession game, and drew an early power play which Bryan Bickell (really?) converted on from inside the right circle on a gorgeous pass from Marian Hossa. After a couple other less-then productive power-plays as a result of what can best be described as Colorado's overzealousness, the Avs began to force the play back into the Hawks' zone, and Marty Turco was forced to make some high-wire saves early, and he proved up to the challenge. The Nick Leddy experience began as we thought it would, with him getting beaten to the outside at his own blue line with a simple chip and chase by Chris Stewart, leaving Hammer out to dry. The result was a puck in the back of the net. The Avs ended up outshooting the Hawks in the first 15-11.
As the game moved into the second, the pace slowed a little bit, but there certainly was not a lack of chances at either end. Perennial slow-started Jonathan Toews hit the right post on Craig Anderson on a nifty setup from Patrick Kane, but Anderson quickly smothered any second chance. The fourth line of Viktor Stalberg, Jake Dowell, and Jack Skille also created a solid chance when Stalberg walked out from below the goal line for a stuff attempt, and Dowell attempted to move across the goal mouth on Anderson, but Anderson was up to the challenge on both bids. After a failed Hawks power play, Matt Duchene redirected an Adam Foote shot that he had just tossed into traffic, and the Avs took the lead. They would extend it on a similar play, this time on the advantage, where a shot hit a leg in traffic somewhere in front of Marty Turco, and everyone except the oddly-complected Paul Stastny seemingly lost track of it, and Stastny slid it past Turco for a 3-1 Avs lead. With a buck and a half left in the second, the Hawks drew within one when Craig Anderson was caught in no man's land slightly out of his net as Patrick Sharp cutoff a clearing attempt at the right hash marks along the wall, and threw it at a gaping net, where Marian Hossa was waiting to tip it home.
While the third period was even in shots at 14 a side, it at least felt to be more in the Hawks' favor, and the Hawks drew even on Patrick Sharp's power play goal, a shot coming off a rebound through a Tomas Kopecky screen. Though there were some chances traded once the game had been tied, the game ended up going to over time. With both Leddy and Hjalmarsson cheating below the goal line covering Duchene, he slid the puck to the right circle to find Stastny, who snapped a shot that hit Turco's elbow and dribbled in over a sprawling Leddy and Hjalmarsson. Hawks lose 4-3 in OT, but take a point on the road in a game in which they trailed by two.
- Nick Leddy was every bit the fire drill we expected him to be, getting beaten badly on the bookend goals for Colorado. If Q isn't going to use him on the power play (more on that in a minute), his risk/reward might not be worth it to keep him here, unless he figures shit out real quick. It's possible he could have a much stronger game on Saturday and past that, but I'd be surprised.
- That being said, it's worth a shot to give Leddy some time on the advantage, because this forward-at-the-point bullshit needs to stop. With Sharp manning a point on the first unit and Hossa on the second, there were a bevy of chances headed back the other way. Too many times on the 7 opportunities the Hawks had did things deteriorate into a true umbrella rather than the overload/umbrella hybrid we've seen work in the past, resulting in pucks being fired directly into Avalanche shin guards when they should have been slid to the man on the half wall, or at the very least wrung around deep. Two for 7 isn't bad, but it could have been better.
- Despite the 4 goals, Marty Turco was fine, and bailed the Hawks' asses out more than a couple times in the first period. He's going to give me an aneurysm, but he apparently knows what he's doing.
- The fourth line of Dowell, Skille, and Stalberg actually looked decent out there, particularly in the chance I mentioned above, and also on a rush in the first where Stalberg and Skille both broke hard to the net. They'll move their way into the top 6 or 9 before too long
- Fernando Pisani was pretty ineffective at even strength, despite the fact he had Patrick Sharp dragging his ass up and down the ice most of the night. The way Sharp was skating, it's not surprising his two points came when other people were on the ice with him.
- There is no one on the Hawks who is currently on the plus side of the +/- ledger. Oof oof eef.
- Marian Hossa: Grown Ass Man.
- Duncan Keith's decision making last night during breakouts and neutral-ice regroups was reminiscent of when he came back from being knocked loopy by Drew Stafford. I don't think I need to tell anyone how important it is that he cut that shit right out.
- While it's probably a bullshit excuse, the Hawks can probably be cited for looking ahead a little bit to tomorrow night's home opener/banner raising at the UC. It's a pretty big event, complete with the John McDonough red carpet entrance that is now finally appropriate, and the Hawks are the first defending champs to open on the road in fuck knows how long. I'm willing to bet we'll see a more efficient performance Saturday. It'll have to be with Scum in the building.
- Thanks once again to Steve, Mike and everyone at the Bottom Lounge for their hospitality. We're looking forward to hanging with them, and you (YES, YOU) on Saturday after the game.