Remember that feeling we had last year after most losses? Ya know, that feeling of disappointment covered with a sense of mitigating inevitability; the feeling that the Hawks just can’t win them all?
Well, while Friday night’s match against the ‘Nucks wasn’t at all times pretty, that’s the feeling I fell asleep with yesterday night. Sure, the Hawks were blanked by a team they nearly beat by a dozen a couple weeks ago; yeah, that team just happens to be the Hawks’ chief rival at the moment; and, right, much of the post-game scuttle, including from the Hawks themselves, concerned a lack of effort. Nonetheless, losses happen, and it was clear to me very early that this one wouldn’t yield two points, no matter what.
The Hawks out-shot the Canucks in each of the game’s three periods and controlled the tempo for significant stretches. Unfortunately for them, after one such significant stretch – through much of the first half of the second period – the ‘Nucks pounced on a loose puck in front of Marty Turco and scored the game’s first goal. The goal came during a shift that pitted the fourth lines against each other and followed a Hawk turnover.
The Hawks spent the next hour filling up a bucket with scoring chances, but it was Vancouver that would score next. After the Hawks were held scoreless for nearly four straight minutes on the power play, the Canucks got their chance on the man advantage and scored a goal that you won’t see on a highlight reel anytime soon. Off the face-off that began the power play, Christian Ehrhoff rushed a wrister from just inside the blue line. The puck was on edge as it left his stick and, as a result, shot like a bullet towards the top of the net that Turco was defending. The puck flew over Turco’s glove, and the inevitability of the loss really started to set in.
Henrik Sedin scored late in the third to put a nice little cherry on top for the team that will undoubtedly fold because of its own stupidity when the weather begins to warm. Hope they enjoy it while it’s here.
Mas o Menos
– As mentioned above, much of the post-game talked centered around a lack of effort. While I didn’t necessarily take that from the game, if Jonathan Toews says it, I guess you have to believe it. Moreover, the Hawks have lived inside the crease of Roberto Luongo during the past couple seasons, and the effort to get there again wasn’t as obvious as it should have been. If something from Friday night was unacceptable, that was it.
– Speaking of effort, how many more times need we hear the captain tell us after the game how poor the effort was?
– Yeah, the shutout supports the idea that Luongo played really well, but the reality is that he made maybe one difficult save. The Hawks managed to get a handful of great chances, but weren’t able to do anything with them. Tomas Kopecky missed the equivalent of a lay-up a couple times, and Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp weren’t able to take full advantage of wonderful opportunities. So, yeah, Luongo’s play was without any miscues and it might be the kind of thing that boosts his Hawk confidence, let’s not mistake the effort with an early-90s Patrick Roy performance. When the Hawks get chances, they at least need to force a difficult save.