Half of an inch.
That’s probably all that separated Patrick Sharp from completing the ‘Hawks goal of the century and tying the game at 1. Brian Campbell came down on a 2-on-2, faked to the inside on Anaheim defenseman Kent Huskins and pulled off a beautiful spin-o-rama to the outside. Campbell spotted Sharp wide open on the wing and tried backhanding a pass over to him. The incredibly difficult pass was just a half-inch ahead of Sharp who one-timed it backhanded only to hit the side of the net. Had that pass been just a bit behind him and he gets it on his forehand, there’s about a 127% chance the puck is in the back of the net and the ‘Hawks grab at least a point in Anaheim.
Alas, it wasn’t met to be and Anaheim grabbed the win by the smallest of margins. There’s really not much else to say in this one. The ‘Hawks had a couple of golden opportunities in the first with Ladd getting a special delivery right on the doorstep only to miss. Badly. Sharp had a nice re-direction from a Troy Brouwer pass that Jonas Hiller made a great toe save on. In the second frame, Dave Bolland will have a hard time sleeping tonight from the chances he failed to execute on. On a 3 on 2, he was the late man trailing and got a pass out of the corner. It was just a bit too far in front of him and he could only get a little piece of it and fluttered one to Hiller’s chest. The better chance came off a really sweet face-off play. Bolland won it back to Seabrook, Havlat went immediatley to the far post and opened up the middle for Bolland. Seabrook fed it over to Havlat who one-touched it to Bolland who had the entire net staring back at him. He missed. Badly. Huet made some big stops to keep the ‘Hawks in it but lack of execution on empty nets is what ended up costing the ‘Hawks.
A lot will be made about the scrap between Matt Walker and George Parros in the second period and how that re-energized the Ducks (I’m talking to you, Pat and Ed). Let me be the first to say that had nothing to do with it. The reason why the Ducks scored was because the Fraser-Adams-Eager line with the Barker-Campbell pairing got stuck out against the Getzlaf line. George Parros having his face shoved into the ice did nothing to make the Ducks score; it was simply a favorable match-up for them at that particular time.
On to Los Angeles where a win would end a fantastic road trip. A loss will end a good one.