Sometimes there is just very little you can say about a hockey game to accurately describe what occurred, and tonight is one of those nights. I don’t wanna waste what I do have on the intro so let’s dive in to the bullets:
– The first period was something of a roller coaster of emotions, as the Hawks played well on the offensive side of the ice, but truly horribly on the other end. There was a stretch of play during a Philly PP where the Hawks had two or three better scoring chances than the Flyers were able to generate the rest of the man advantage, but in not cashing in the feeling went from “damn what a chance” to “oh shit, it’s one of those nights then” really fast, at least for me. They were getting shots on net and moving the puck well, but on the other side they were basically letting up a shot every minute and getting run around the zone. It was a difficult contrast to settle with, and made what was ultimately a good period (54.04 CF%) feel “just okay.”
– Adding to that feeling of the first being just okay was how incredible the scoring chances the Hawks were giving up were. There were multiple open net chances blown by the Flyers – all night, not just in the first period – that should’ve ended up behind Crawford. And when Philly ultimately did beat Crow, they did so by having a guy come off the bench and skate his way all the way into the slot without being even breathed on, and he still had three feet of clearance from the closest defenseman when he let the shot go. Having good possession numbers is mad far less valuable if you can’t play competent defense and are giving away nothing but A+ chances.
– To add to that last point, if the Hawks had played that way against a more competent team, they would’ve lost 6-1 rather than 3-1. Even with a 65.31 CF% for the whole game, they had just 44.44% of the High Danger Chances. You can’t be doing that and expect to win a game, especially in a must-win scenario like they were facing tonight.
– Corey Crawford deserves better than the defense in front of him giving away those chances, but he also can’t be giving up goals like the Flyers’ second and ultimate game-winning score. There was some traffic out front, but a 40-foot backhand floater from the boards beating you blocker side is just embarrassing shit. Crow played well tonight, but given the lack of overall finish in the Hawks game tonight, you can’t get your team behind the 8-Ball like that.
– Writing off the Hawks lack of scoring as lack of finish also might be a bit generous. Even with 41 shots on goal overall tonight, it felt a lot like the Hawks were just being trigger-shy at times when they shouldn’t have been, especially early on in the game.
– This was a blown chance at gaining serious ground in the playoff hunt, and in the end they ended up falling even further down the standings because of the Avs’ winning. Personally I still think that the lower they finish the better, but I’m also into the idea of playoff hockey and games that matter. At this point they need to pick a lane – let’s bottom this shit out, or figure out shit out and get to the damn playoffs.