Stop me if you heard this one before.
The Hawks battle back to tie the game in the third period only to give up the tie minutes later. The Hawks commit another turnover in the neutral zone that ends up in the back of their net. Instead of getting at least one point out of a game, the Hawks get none.
Such is life during this painfully long 0-8-1 stretch. Once again, the Hawks played just well enough to lose. Actually this time, they played well enough to win going away and if this game was played in November or some other time when they were not in the midst of this losing streak, they probably win it 3-1 rather easily.
Nevertheless, it was another regulation loss and if you thought it couldn’t get more painful than the 5-3 loss to San Jose on Friday night where the Hawks battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, you were wrong.
Instead of beating our heads against the wall, let’s take a look at a couple of things that were encouraging.
–It seems as though the Hawks have finally realized their triangle +1 penalty kill isn’t getting it done and made an adjustment (Hey, only took five months). The Hawks employed the traditional ’box’ penalty kill tonight and the success was immediate. (Shocking, I know). The Predators were unable to make D-to-D passes or open up gigantic shooting lanes. The Hawks were also able to force more loose pucks and force the Predators into decisions they didn’t want to make.
–It also seemed like someone finally told Patrick Sharp he doesn’t have to fly to the crease every time the Hawks have the puck on a power play. There were a few times tonight where the Hawks were able to keep the puck in the zone because they didn’t have four guys surrounding the goalie while the puck squirted out to the blue line. (What a novel concept.) Their second unit generated the best pressure and actually resembled a real-live NHL power play.
–I strongly encourage those who haven’t seen it already to check out this fanpost at Second City Hockey. I know a lot of people are scared of those evil advanced stats but it’s encouraging (at least to me) to realize that what I’m seeing with my eyes matches those numbers. On 5-on-5 play, the Hawks have been outplaying the opposition during this losing streak. Their special teams have been atrociously bad, like no excuses bad. And their goaltending, well, I think we all are in agreement on that subject.