On Monday night, the Blackhawks once again spotted the Coyotes a big lead, but this time they managed to capture one point. Last year the third period was a struggle, this season poor starts have been an issue. Of late is has been a habit for the Hawks to surrender the first goal of the game. Losing in a shootout will happen, but it shouldn’t have come to that last night.
After dropping a game last Tuesday to Phoenix on home ice, one would think the Hawks would have been more focused. That wasn’t the case as in a comedy of errors and poor effort, the Coyotes took a 2-0 lead after the opening frame. Phoenix then scored their third goal early in the middle stanza on a text book screen. Corey Crawford was yanked, Ray Emery came in and the Hawks got going.
Last week the Coyotes kept to their system and smothered any comeback attempt from the Blackhawks. This time, after getting a three-goal lead, the Coyotes got away from what makes them successful.
Although Phoenix usually plays a strong, tight checking structure, hockey players can’t always stick to their script. The Coyotes stopped checking and started to trade chances with the Blackhawks. More often than not, playing a wide open game will spell trouble for Phoenix.
Led by Jonathan Toews, the Hawks entertained the sellout crowd with some fast-paced action. Toews scored two times, and his running mate Patrick Kane added another goal to tie the game at 13:57 of the second period. The Coyotes lost control and were fortunate not to lose the game.
Marian Hossa missed a great scoring chance while shorthanded, otherwise the Hawks would have won in regulation. Although being outplayed for the majority of the contest, the Coyotes kept the Hawks off the board. The game stayed knotted up through overtime, and the Hawks couldn’t score in the shootout.
Although this was a different twist, the end result was still another loss on home ice to Phoenix. The Hawks have faced the Coyotes three times this season, with the visiting team always coming away victorious.
There is reason to believe as a group the Blackhawks aren’t as concerned as they should be about bad starts. The Hawks are 9-0-1 when scoring first, which should be a resounding message the first goal is all important, but maybe their 7-8-3 record after giving up the first score might allow them to be too comfortable with a poor start.
In some ways the Hawks could be a victim of their own success.
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