Ducks 2, Blackhawks 1

Whatever advantage the Hawks had with a 1-0 lead heading into the third period, they lost it very quickly as they gave up the equalizer in the first minute.  Their top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Viktor Stalberg all got caught below the Ducks’ hashmarks.  When the puck kicked out the other way, the Ducks had a full blown 3-on-2 coming against Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.  As quickly as you could say, ‘legitimate Stanley Cup contender’, the puck was in the back of the Hawks’ net. 

To complete the groin punch of a 3rd period, Corey Perry scored his second goal of the game and 44th of the season.  The Hawks were unable to clear their zone when they had the opportunity, Duncan Keith’s stick wasn’t quick enough, and Corey Crawford was unable to stop a shot he got a big piece of. 

And that was it.

Surely This Can’t Be All

–Hopefully in the light of day, the Hawks will take a step back and realize all is not lost.  Judging by some of their reactions from last night, it was almost as though they think the playoffs are now a pipe-dream.  Even though Dallas lost last night, the Hawks are a full two points up on them and they still hold at least a game at hand on every other team above them.  So things aren’t nearly that terrible.  Yet.

–The Ducks are a nasty team.  Allow me to crown them as the team most likely to unseat Vancouver as the Western Conference representative.  Corey Perry is probably going to replace Jonathan Toews as a Hart Trophy finalist.  Lubomir Vishnovsky is having as good of a season as Duncan Keith did last year.  If Jonas Hiller ever gets fully healthy, they are going to be a handful.  The ironic thing is Hiller’s case of vertigo seems to be the best thing that ever happened to them.

Before, they were so reliant on him bailing them out every time.  With him out, the rest of the team realized a full defensive effort makes your goalie that much stronger.  

–So can we all agree that Duncan Keith playing 30 to 33 minutes right out of the gate this season was a pretty awful idea?

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10 Responses to Ducks 2, Blackhawks 1

  1. Steve from Rockford says:

    The Ducks gave us problems last year as well, this team does not handle size well and appears to frustrate easily. Seems that the book is out on how to beat the Hawks right now. We just do not have as good of a transition game and can not move the puck as well as we used too. Lots of people (including myself) overemphasized the ability of the core of this team this year. I do not know if its because they are tired or underperforming (most likely both), but its not getting it done last year.

    I for one am okay with it for the most part, we won the cup last year. We took a huge gamble and it paid off. Baseball season is upon us, we have a great basketball team and its almost summer. I will be disappointed, but winning the cup last year softens the blow.

  2. John says:

    The problem isn’t really the core; it’s the surrounding guys who aren’t doing nearly enough now. The list of names not doing anything goes on and on. Simply put, you can’t win games consistently late in the season without the contributions from your bottom two lines.

  3. Sam says:

    Pretty much it John. Last night exposed just how thin the Hawks are, especially without Sharp and Bolland. While Toews’s line was battling the big one of the Ducks, and on the balance of play actually they held their own if not on the scoresheet, the Hawks didn’t even threaten from anywhere else. Sure, Hossa scored but that came off a lucky bounce on a blocked shot. Did Emery have a big save to make the last two periods?

    That said, not too many teams are toting a line like the Ducks are right now, where Toews and Kane will be played to an even or worse. However, when Sharp returns, if there are still games to be played, I can’t see how they don’t move him back to center to at least hint at getting scoring from somewhere else. But I’ve been shouting at the rain on this one for weeks.

  4. Dale Halas says:

    Hey John, I think the Hawks bottom six have been able to “hold their own” or at least find something useful to contribute when they stay on those bottom two lines. It’s when there have been injuries on the top lines that have been the biggest problem. None of them have been able to move up to the top lines and produce anything; Nada.

    And I agree on Keith. He plays every other shift for the whole game and the Hawks just seem to “wilt” in the third.

    @Sam; I still think the biggest disappointment this year is what appears to be Sharp’s “intentional decision” to become much more of a one-way offensive player. And Q seems to be playing Sharp like he is a “Kane” style player instead of a Toews/Hossa two way player. With that in mind, I’m not sure Q intends to move Sharp back to center. He may, but I wouldn’t count on it…

  5. Jack says:

    For the first time this year, I have the feeling that the season will end sooner rather than later. The core of the team has been playing OK, to echo John’s thoughts, but the role players are sorely lacking…particularly in bringing a skill set to the rink. So tired of hearing John Wiedemann saying ” Bickell (or Brower or Dowell) moves across the (whoever) blue line and loses the puck”. The problem is…can these guys be counted on to get better for next year or is a reshuffling of the deck in order? I realize that they are still up by 2 on Dallas with the tiebreaker, but the end of their schedule is a bitch…with the Wings thrice along with the Habs and Bruins away. Tough row to hoe, hope they can put together a run.

  6. alpo says:

    The season isn’t over. There likely will be playoff hockey being played in Chicago. Hopefully the Hawks can do some damage for my own sake. I certainly am not expecting a Stanley Cup, but I’d rather postpone my attention toward Zambrano hissy fits and Soriano’s outfield play as long as possible.

  7. Brian D says:

    The Ducks are awfully top-heavy- Hiller’s a wild card but it’s a team with weaknesses. The Hawks really missed Bolland last night.

    When the Hawks are healthy, their bottom 6 are above average. Right now, they’ve got bottom-6 guys in top-6 roles.

    2 7 19 on the ice for both goals against. Pretty simple- their best beat our best.

  8. Otter says:

    It will be sort of hard for the Hawks not to make the playoffs, not saying they will, but the Flames are out of the race and the Stars are two points back. If the Hawks walk away with 3 points in the next two days, I don’t think any of us will be bumbed out.

    That said, Dale… the Hawks 3rd line stinks. And the 4th line is fine for a 4th line, but they’ve all of a sudden become the 3rd line and as a 3rd line they stink too.

  9. Tom says:

    Has anyone else paid more attention to what this team will be like next season? I’m hoping that “genius” Bowman can create something.

    But, through the course of this season, Scott and Pope-ah haven’t pulled their weight.

    The slow start at the beginning of the year, and those games against the Rangers, Devils, and Oilers are just kicking us square in the junk…. Yeah, there’s nothing that can be done about that now, but when the Hawks routinely showed-up flat-footed and slow to the puck, it’s tough to want to care for a season as a fan.

    Now, when all of our collective hearts are skipping beats with every goal against, and we’re paying more attention to the standings in the West on off days than to our own lives, the Hawks had better do something.

    /whining rant.

  10. Dale Halas says:

    Hey Otter; When your fourth line is Stalberg/Johnson/Kopecky, well they aren’t so bad.

    And the third line of Bickell/Bolland/Pisani has played other teams top lines to slightly better then a +/- draw. And considering they have played the hardest quality of competition of any shutdown line out there, well that’s not too shabby either.

    You have a pretty big advantage when your shutdown line neutralizes the other teams top line and your 4th is better then the other teams 4th. Then the game gets decided with your top line and second line against the other teams 2nd and 3rd.

    When the team is healthy, the Hawks bottom two lines are not the problem. Again, its when there are injuries and people move up that has been the problem…

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