There is no sugar coating this one. It’s one that has to be had, particularly under the circumstances to close regulation. But despair is not an option.
- The narrative is unnecessary so, time for the meat. Four of the Ducks five goals resulted in the Hawks being careless at either blue line. That simply cannot happen. Sharp late in the third and Bickell into overtime have to know better. Those pucks have to get out and/or deep no matter what, and they didn’t and they ended up in the back of the net.
- Bickell in particular has been horrid. There are no easy answers here, and he’s clearly carrying some kind of injury. But he’s been soft along the wall, and the error to to close the game has to be the final nail in the coffin. Is it Hartman? God forbid Gorilla Salad? Who knows what changes Q has in store for Wednesday.
- At least there seems to be little doubt that Teuvo will still manage to be in the lineup then. Nice work, Finnish Baby Jesus.
- Ultimately, the game came down to the power play goal the Hawks allowed in the first. The three check marks for a Hawk win are are at least 3 goals scored, names on the scoresheet that matter, and at least breaking even on special teams. They didn’t do the latter, and it cost them.
- This is where the hope comes. As I have personally hammered for the last month, a team needs to carry a 55% share of possession or have a .930 save percentage to even have a chance. Right now, the Hawks have out attempted the Ducks in 5 games 349 to 317 at evens, and Frederik Andersen has come back to Earth with a .924 save percentage.
- Also, this Ducks team was in the very same boat last summer against the Kings. The Kings had a 57.6% share after 5 games, and Anaheim had stopped .938 of the shots they saw between Hiller, Andersen, and Gibson. How did that end up?
- There is still one game at home left. Make it count, and then force the series to a true coinflip scenario. Make this Hawks team win a Game 7 on the road, or make the Ducks win one at home, which they have blown three straight under Bruce Boudreau.
- Doubt this Hawks team at your own peril. It’s never done until the handshakes come. And there is still a lot of hockey to be played before those happen.