Tonight shaped up as a pretty good test for the Hawks. There is no hotter team in the league than Tampa, and they are considered an Eastern favorite (Eastern Favorite is an excellent Pho place in Uptown). They have as much speed as the Hawks can boast, and a Vezina finalist in net. Considering how the Hawks had done against this season’s glitterati (hint: not all that well), even though there are no such things as big games in the second week of November you did want to see the Hawks get this one. They did, and looked pretty damn good doing it.
Did the Lightning have the bus running on the last game of a four-game trip? Didn’t feel like it. It just felt like what we thought was something of a slow blue line was completely unequipped to deal with the Hawks forward corps that was all over them from the drop of the first puck. The Ning D was turnover happy and yippy for the entire 1st period and most of the game, and gave the Hawks tons of prime chances. It wasn’t all that different from the last time the Lightning were here, where they didn’t manage a shot in the 1st period.
And also like the last time Tampa was here, Ben Bishop (THE BISHOP!) repelled everything the Hawks offered. There was a definite “Here we go again” feeling again. But the Hawks clawed and scraped a couple goals, and if it wasn’t for a misplaced ref, they probably get out of this in regulation.
Let’s do this:
The Two Obs
-This isn’t the most pertinent topic after this game, but I want to address it first. We’ve spent a lot of time explaining away Patrick Kane’s lack of scoring, with reasons that didn’t have anything to do with him. But at some point, it does come down to him. He is playing with Toews now, and while he does look more dangerous, there is a little feeling sorry for himself creeping into his game. It’s probably frustration more than it’s laziness, but there are corners being cut. It was his turnover that sparked the Lightning’s shorty, and instead of beating it back (though at the end of his shift) he threw his head back and looked on. Yes, Seabrook played the ensuing 2-on-1 like the kid in kindergarten who has to wear a helmet all the time, but this wasn’t the only time the past couple games where Kane left it to others. He’s better than that, it’s getting time he showed that no matter the circumstances.
-The ice-times on the blue line are kind of borked because Oduya got hurt. Calling Klas Dahlbeck.
-Speaking of the defense, that’s enough of Michal Rozsival for a couple weeks. There were at least three kidney-jarring turnovers tonight. While we don’t expect him to be quick or dynamic, the one thing Rozie should be able to manage is acceptable decisions. He hasn’t.
-Ok, I get that Morin spent four minutes in the box and biffed two open nets, but why did Regin and Bickell not crack 10 minutes?
-This Tyler Johnson on Tampa is a real thing. I had no idea. And it’s kind of stupid that they can play Jonathan Drouin on their 3rd line, though he didn’t stay there tonight and probably won’t for long. If Bishop stays healthy and Hedman comes back, this is most certainly a team to watch.
-Apparently Versteeg’s vulturing of TVR’s goal on Sunday has made TVR reluctant to shoot ever again.
-Q, you can go ahead and demote Seabrook again. Maybe he should pay more attention when TVR is playing with Keith, because there’s a chance it could look that way for a very long time.
There aren’t that many complaints tonight though. Everything is right where it needs to be or not far away, which is how you end up pretty much rolling one of the East’s best without much to show for it. Keep it going, and there’s a six- or seven-game win streak not too far away.