The Hurricanes are good. The Blackhawks are bad. We all knew this going into this series, and that things probably would not look good for the Blackhawks since their playoff push is over and they’re now pivoting to playing every young/inexperienced/new player that they can find. But it didn’t make this series any harder to watch for the first part of the week. At least we got a semisweet victory to finish it off in OT tonight. To the bullets:
- The Hurricanes are such a fast team and for 7 of the 9 periods the Hawks couldn’t keep up. There were many times throughout the series where the Canes’ first line just outskated our defenders. One of the goals on Sunday was just tough to watch as Connor Murphy went down trying to break up the play, Wyatt Kalynuk was tasked with trying to defend against two people and Kirby Dach gave no help. Subban didn’t have a chance on that 3-0 goal.
- The Hawks got pantsed at the end of the game two in two different occasions where we pulled our goalie for an extra (at one point two extra) attacker and the Hurricanes scored on us. It’s one thing for that to happen once, but it happened twice in a row. And you immediately knew it was coming, too. Someone give this young defense some structure, thanks.
- Kirby Dach is officially out of the season because of wrist discomfort. And all I can think about is how he openly admitted his wrist was hurting but the team thought it was fine to let him play. He’d better be healthy by the return of next season, that’s all I have to say.
- Duncan Keith is the greatest defenseman in Blackhawks history. And last night I was preparing to write about how it’s probably past due that his minutes get limited. But after getting literally speared in the head with a linesman’s knee tonight and not returning to the game, he literally forced the minutes issue himself. Now he and Connolly both have concussions and won’t be back this season. And the fact of the matter is he wasn’t looking much better the first two games of this series, as he had multiple horrific plays and giveaways this series. Limit this man’s time so he can actually be helpful to the defense instead of being the overworked horse on the defensive end for the 15th year in a row.
- The Cat is a monster, a speedy little devil, but we already knew that. In the month of May, he was a contributor to 6 of the Blackhawks’ 11 total goals. He is the one generating the offense as of late, as Patrick Kane has only contributed to 3 goals and is a -7 so far this month. Kane’s either injured or probably just exhausted; there was a stretch of this season where he was pretty much carrying the team offensively, after all. But at least in the offensive zone we have someone that can pick up the slack when needed.
- Collin Delia finally got some NHL time, and it was time he deserved and certainly earned. Considering what this season has been like for him, he played super well and admirably for both of his appearances this series with a .939 save percentage over these games. Plus, just seeing someone absorbing shots on occasion and not give up 700 rebounds was a welcome sight, not to mention his first win.
And just like that, the final two games of the season are upon us, as Hawks fans are getting ready to happily pay $110.00/ticket for 300-level seats to watch a circus team with only one remaining dynasty member on it. (Inflation is coming, folks.) The Hawks will finish out this season against the Dallas Stars, who seem to be falling out of playoff contention themselves and will need two wins against us to have a prayer of catching Nashville. Onward.