A span of a couple minutes towards the end of the first period buried the Hawks. In what felt like the blink of an eye, the Urlers turned a tie game into a 4-1 lead and never really looked back, despite a late-frame goal by Patrick Kane to make it a two-goal affair.
Then, just more than two minutes into the second, the Oil got the late Hawk goal back, making it a three-goal game again. The Hawks were never able to cut the lead to any more than two, and after they failed to make hay on a two-man advantage during the second, we all could have hit the road early.
Do I Have To?
– There’s no trick to the Hawks’ issues last night. The main issue was an almost-complete inability to make a tape-to-tape pass – especially in the defensive and neutral zones. At the very least it’s ugly and not entertaining in any way. Throw in poor defensive zone play without the puck, and the Hawks had no chance. It’s like asking a baseball team to win without gloves; if you can’t move the puck from one player to another, it will be a long night.
– The good news: Poor passing and horrific defensive zone coverage are the hallmarks of every struggling team. This has been true since the 12th century Romans played a game called hokay. (Made that up.) The question each of us has to ourself is whether this is a slump or something more typical of this year’s team? I’ll take the former, but please don’t make me watch another game like last night’s.
– Shoot the puck. There’s no reason for a .500 team to be making cute passes in around the circles. I think we’ll see a simpler game plan in the Wild zone tonight, because they have no choice. When a team slumps, every coach in the world preaches the same thing: simplicity, namely getting pucks and bodies to the net.
– I think I might rather attend Wednesday’s game totally naked than watch Kopecky play more center. Make it stop.
– Ryan Jones: Act like you’ve been there before. Jones acted like Ric Flair after his goal in the second. Woo!
– “General maintenance” is something a car gets – not athletes. Dave Bolland is obviously not totally healthy. How do you say “back surgery” in auto mechanic terms?