If the Hawks can capture a regulation victory tonight the sting of another bad third period performance will be lessened. But let’s face it, playoff teams don’t consistently get outscored in the final frame. This is a whacky year, so maybe it won’t matter. But until proven otherwise a post season berth will be a long shot in my book.
The Hawks are tied with the Thrashers with 53 third period goals against. Atlanta has played one extra game but neither club can be proud of their ominous distinction.
Possibly it is a question of poor conditioning which causes errors late in the game by the Hawks. Tired players do make more mistakes. Or maybe there isn’t enough desire put forth throughout 60 minutes of play. Whatever the reason, a two goal third period lead can’t be squandered, especially against a team which has trouble scoring. The Hawks did some good things but bad the finishes must stop.
The Nashville first goal came as a result of a weak effort from Jonathan Toews and others. But at least Toews was near the play although his late stick waving was futile. Patrick Kane appeared as if he was trying to tow a boat while skating behind the play. Mr. Kane was almost completely out of the picture when the Nashville goal went by Corey Crawford. Kane was only on the ice for 33 seconds but it looked as if he was out there for at least 1:33.
Toews hasn’t looked very good since Chris Neil pounded him shortly after his return to action. Maybe Toews rushed back and still is nursing a sore shoulder.
Kane’s sluggish play at times??….You can draw your own conclusions.
The tying goal may have come about by a poor decision from a linesman. The preceding faceoff before the goal maybe should have been outside of the Hawks’ zone. But that wasn’t the real problem.
Shea Weber accounts for much of the Predator offense and he scored on a set play which should have been better defended.
The Preds notched their second tally because Toews didn’t cleanly win the faceoff, although that was not the biggest issue. Duncan Keith being outbattled for a 50-50 puck was a bigger problem. As a result the Preds were able to get the puck to the point and then the pass from Ryan Suter to Weber wasn’t sealed off. Troy Brouwer made a half hearted effort to block the Weber shot. That’s not a shock as Weber is an ankle breaker. Jake Dowell was caught flat footed as well, as the Hawks finish held true to form.
There wasn’t enough determination and desperation shown on that play and throughout the third period.
Nothing short of a regulation win tonight should be acceptable. Nashville will be playing their fourth game in six nights. The Predators have a weak offense when everyone is playing and now they have a depleted lineup. No excuses for the Blackhawks.
I’m not sure what Joel Quenneville will decide. My choice would be to come right back with Crawford. He was sharp again and gives the Hawks the best chance of winning.
We will find out soon if the Hawks can muster up a sufficient response.
Below is an audio link from a Blackhawk discussion with Jamie Shalley and Terry Mercury. Jack Skille and the Preds were discussed as well as other Hawk issues. Terry’ s concerns were similar to Hawk fans.
Predator fans should be pumped up with the come from behind shootout victory. I’m not sold on the Preds being a playoff team and my feelings are similar on the Hawks.
There is a lot of hockey left and it has been a strange season….Time will tell.
Nashville has shown more desire when facing the Blackhawks this season. The same can be said about other teams and that is a major concern for the Hawks.
One final note…
Viktor Stalberg made a couple of bad turnovers in the opening period.
Another repeat performance and Stalberg could be looking at some time off.
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