Flyers 3, Blackhawks 2

The clock shined “2.1” in the Wachovia Center in the moments after Chris Pronger scored the second Flyers goal in just over two minutes to topple Cristobal Huet and the Blackhawks. 

The worst part wasn’t that the dirty, gap-toothed monkey ass scored so late to win it.  Or, that ex-Hawk Michael Leighton beat high-priced Huet in what turned into a goaltending battle.  It was that the Hawks had this one in their back pocket with just over two minutes left to play.

The Hawks, too, had the better of this one most of the day.  In a game that went scoreless into the third, the Hawks outshot the Flyer in each period and dominated time of possession for much of the afternoon.  At one point, Pat and Eddy opined that the Flyers blocked as many shots as the Hawks were given credit for in the first: 15.  While the score was 0-0 going into the third, the Hawks were outplaying a solid Eastern Conference team in its own building.  Not bad at all.

Then, the third happened. 

Less than 90 seconds into what would be the final frame, Brent Seabrook coughed up the puck along the half-boards, and Daniel Carcillo found a wide-open Simon Gagne with a wraparound-pass (of sorts).  Gagne had a gaping six-by-four from the bottom of the circles and didn’t miss.

Next, on the power play and about ten seconds after Leighton and the Flyers caught a break with an early whistle that barely preceded the puck finding the back of the twine, Marian Hossa, Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg each attacked the net after Duncan Keith won a loose puck at the half-boards.  Hossa’s first attempt was stopped, but Versteeg’s follow-up was a no-doubter.  Less than two minutes following the game’s first goal, the Hawks scored a goal and had another disallowed.

The third was far from over, however.  About midway through the frame, Dave Bolland and Hossa came into the Flyer zone on a 2-on-3.  Bolland shielded his defender in the middle of the ice and made a short dish to Hossa on the outside; Hossa one-timed the neat feed right past Leighton to give the Hawks their first lead of the night.

Now, in Ron White fashion, I’m going to tell you one story so that you understand another.  All game, Pat and Eddy talked about how Scott Hartnall was benched in the Flyers’ previous game – and then double shifted when he was put back into it.  Hartnall, as they said a few times, was without a goal in 14 straight.

But, someone forgot to tell that to Brent Sopel, who got out-muscled on a one-on-one from the blue line in by Mr. Hatnall.  The play started oddly: Kimmo Timonen rounded his own net to start a breakout, and slapped a full length pass to Hartnall at the Hawk blue line.  (How long before 50-something fans blame the loss on Gary Bettman for repealing the two-line pass rule?)  Hartnall caught the pass with a step on a surprised and flat-footed Sopel, and Sopel was unable to regain positioning.  Hartnall fought himself to a one-on-one with the goaltender and beat Huet on the short side with a neat little shot that hit the goalpost first.

Fine.  A point on the road ain’t bad, right?

Well, yes, but this story’s not over.

After Patrick Kane was thrown off the puck with one arm by Matt Carle on one end, Carle started the breakout quickly with just seconds left.  Trailing the play – and apparently out of gas – Jonathan Toews cuddled up next to the only Flyer in the neutral zone and Patrick Kane … went for a change.  A harmless breakout late turned into a four-on-two, and a beautiful cross-ice pass from Claude Giroux found Pronger at the far post.  Pronger tapped in the sweet dish, and the Flyers celebrated.

Yo, Listen Up!

– Eh.  This was undoubtedly a tough loss.  Having a game in-hand and watching it slip away during the last two minutes isn’t easy.

But, other than a handful of mistakes, the Hawks played a nice game.  They got 41 decent shots on Leighton and otherwise out-played a tough home team.

Lucky for the Hawks, they get to turn around and play another game within 24 hours.  Not so lucky: it’s against the best team in the NHL.

– As I said a few months ago when I started to get bored with this regular season, this Hawk campaign is a marathon rather than a sprint.  As one of the league’s elite teams – and one rather entrenched in its playoff spot – anything that doesn’t directly affect the Hawks’ chances in April, May and June will result in a yawn in my house.

So, yawn.  Sure, a late breakdown like Saturday’s could arguably cause a late-season swoon – especially when it preceded a game against the Caps – but I don’t see it.  You go berserk; I’ll be trying not to fall asleep before round one.

– Huet was very good.  It’s a stark change from his new-born calf routine last weekend against the Red Wings, and it may have put him back in the race to start game one of the playoffs.  Huet was confident and well positioned all afternoon, and it took two nice plays late to beat him.  Well done, Sir.

– Don’t blink.  Here come the Caps.  Enjoy yourselves at the UC, folks.

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13 Responses to Flyers 3, Blackhawks 2

  1. Lou says:

    Hawks them for today needs to be:

    Grab one’s ears, jump up and down and dislodge ones cranium from ones posterior.

  2. Will says:

    Every now and then someine needs to state the obvious…
    Yes, the Hawks are an elite team and, as such, knew how much time was on the clock. In fact, they were all (goaltender included) watching the clock and planning (it seemed quite likely) for an overtime period. When the Flyers gained possession of the puck in the final seconds they used the ‘clock watching’ to their advantage. Play hard until you hear sound of the horn at the end of the period.
    As far as the lesson learned, this one is well timed (?)… near the end of the season, not in the playoffs (thankfully), and fresh in their collective memories moving forward.

  3. Big Tony says:

    Nice of the Hawks to take the 3rd off again today. All they needed to complete the spectator imitation was a beer and some cotton candy. Yeah, the Caps scored a PP goal, but the Hawks just sat back again and let the other team dictate.

    Nice attitude they’ve displayed lately. They won’t survive the first round unless they realize it takes 60 hard minutes of play to win. Coasting and watching isn’t good enough.

  4. Lou says:

    In total seriousness, can someone explain how they got the 5-3 not quite sure of that?

    And at what point does Q sit Seabrook?

    How do you explain this today?

    A weekend in which we should have had four points we had what 7 bad minutes of hockey and got 1. It starts with Q and goes from there.

    Can’t blame everything on goalies when the team in front of them wants to play offense more than defense.

  5. Big Tony says:

    Niemi was great today. Seabrook looks like the reincarnation of Behn Wilson, minus the fighting.

  6. Razzberry says:

    Lou, I was confused on that myself so I looked it up.

    As it was, Hawks were serving a double minor. There was 0:22 left in the first minor when the goal went in with the delayed penalty. What happens in that case is rather than cancel out the new penalty, that one is assessed and the existing penalty is canceled (just like when normally scoring on the PP). As a result, they get a full 2 minutes of 5 on 3.

  7. Lou says:

    Teams watch the films. Pressure our guys especially the d in their own zone.

    Play a tight box on the PP b/c our guys don’t move too much

    Make the goalie move side to side with the puck coming around the net.

    I understand the team chemistty thing but at a certain point it’s about hustle. On the next, front its about smart coaching and line changes. Things Q is lacking as of late.

  8. Lou says:

    thanks razz thats what i was figuring

    something aint working. d is failing. outshooting but not scoring and pp is dying. we can’t finish this year and teams see it. it is either skill or attitude and since we have skill you tellme

    as i said it starts with Q. it is gut check time

  9. Nick says:

    Pretty frustrating weekend for Hawks fans. Guess these kinds of gaffes are OK in the regular season, but if this isn’t fixed in time for Round 1, we will be joining the Sharks in the Heimlich line.

  10. Nick says:

    Sorry for the double post, but I forgot to add how much I hate Q’s coaching of the power play.

    I usually DVR the games and watch when I get a chance later in the day, as work usually interferes with my Hawks watching priorities. It’s gotten to the point that I just fast forward through all Hawk power plays as I know they won’t score.

    No kind of puck movement, anytime the D men take a shot, its well wide or gets blocked. They lack a true PP qb. Yawn all you want about losses in March, but these tendencies aren’t just going to magically disappear when the playoffs roll around and they will surely get bounced with the inability to capitalize on PP opportunities.

  11. Lee says:

    OMG

    They were just terrible. Sopel-Kopecky-Fraser they are total useless and should all be sent down. I was at the game and the Camplbell hit was below me< I saw the hit but could not see what happend to Campbell. Does anyone have the word? I will say that a Blackhawk allumi at the game commented that it should not have been a march penalty, any comments?. I think the trouble is two fold. one they are constantly being outcoched and they are really playing soft. They do not hit, except for Brouwer, and do not movew anyone away from the net.

  12. Lou says:

    lee ovie kind of pushed him from close to behind. other hits have been bigger…

    from what they announcers were saying a boarding major with an injury gets a misconduct too.

    we need miles and miles of heart right now. and stanbow ought to be looking hard at the coaching. the powerplay is hideous. i don’t want to say can q but something is going on

  13. Lou says:

    sorry – looks like a shoulder

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