The Blackhawks were guilty of two deadly sins on Monday- allowing a goal in the first or final minute of a period and allowing a goal on the first shift after they tied the game. Committing one of those sins will make it difficult enough to win; two is nearly impossible, and three, well you might as well save it for another night. Factor in the opposing goalie is Henrik Lundqvist and things really get bleak.
So the Hawks dropped a game against an Eastern Conference opponent even though they controlled the tempo 80% of the time. In the first, Tomas Kopecky tipped home a Duncan Keith point shot to cap an excellent power play. Two minutes later, a Rangers dump-in eluded Keith, the puck found its way towards Marty Turco’s crease and Brandon Dubinsky banged it home. That was with just 21 seconds left in the first and the Rangers needing a StreetPilot to find the offensive zone up until that point.
Going into the third and the score 1-1, Dubinsky scored his second of the game and 7th on the season with a power play goal. Once again, a Hawks defenseman was unable to corral a Ranger dump-in. This time it was Hjalmarsson and the puck was behind Turco on another broken play.
Patrick Kane tied the score five minutes later when Lundqvist let in, very likely, his first career soft goal against the Hawks. Kane shot the puck from a tight angle, it pinballed around Lundqvist’s pads and found its way in.
Unfortunately, thirty seconds later, Erik Christenson got the puck in the slot and sniped it right past Turco. The Rangers hung on for dear life the rest of the way in and Lundqvist was better on every Hawks chance. Kopecky had two glorious opportunities late but couldn’t lift the puck. Sharp’s shot on a scrum in front was lifted above the net, the list goes on and on.
All that really matters is you can’t reasonably expect to win when you make the critical mistakes the Hawks did.
—The encouraging news is the Hawks had New York on their heels for the majority of the game. The Hawks fired 35 shots on net. Another 33 were blocked by the Rangers. That’s a whole lot of puck possession time so things are looking up in that department. If the Hawks continue to play the game did tonight and clean up the silliness at the end of the period, they’ll end up with 2 points more often than not.
–A decent season debut for Brian Campbell, though on the third goal he dove at Christenson when he probably didn’t have to. Oh well, I’ll take that over the alternatives we’ve been watching for the first month.
–The only thing this slow start has done for the Hawks is guarantee one thing: they cannot afford the dismal March’s of the last two seasons. It’s perfectly acceptable for the Hawks to struggle a bit out of the gate. However, a mediocre first month and a March that sees them a few games below .500 is a really easy way to find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time.
–As I’m sure you noticed by now, generally on Monday’s I’ll update the weekend happenings on the Hawks farm prospects. After watching the premiere of “The Walking Dead” last night though, I needed an hour to decompress and by then, I was in no mood. So without further ado, here’s what we missed this weekend:
*On The Farm*
–The IceHogs dropped their only game of the weekend with a 3-2 loss to the Wolves. Rockford jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Brandon Pirri and Nick Leddy. Leddy assisted on Pirri’s goal and Brian Connelly assisted on Leddy’s first AHL goal.
Shawn Lalonde dressed after being a healthy scratch in the previous game. Simon Danis-Pepin took his spot on the inactive list.
The Wolves scored the next three and that was that. Alec Richards stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
—Dylan Olsen had two assists this weekend for UMD. Dan DeLisle was scoreless in two games.
—Kevin Hayes had an assist in a weekend split with Merrimack. His brother, Jimmy, did not register a point.
—Stephen Johns had an assist in Notre Dame’s 1-0-1 weekend against Western Michigan.
—Byron Froese had 3 goals and 2 assists in two games for Red Deer.
—David Pacan had one goal in two games for Niagara.
—Philippe Paradis had a goal in three games for PEI.