As great as this season has been so far, the dirty little secret so few of us like to talk about is that there’s a team that is playing just about as well as the Blackhawks right now. Despite an outrageous record of 24-2-3, totaling up to 51 points, the Hawks do not have as solid a grip on the Western Conference lead as you’d imagine. Somehow, the Ducks are right behind them. This was a game that had a bit of extra weight to it – two of the top teams in the league facing off in what could be an important piece to the battle over who will win the conference…. And the Hawks blew it.
Look. There’s plenty of blame to go around in this loss. The Blackhawks once again took the slightest of leads into the third and rather than going with the method that got them there (ATTACK!), they transformed into a shell and played a prevent defense that once again bit them in the ass. There was the insanely ill-advised pass from Saad through the middle that was easily picked up by Getzlaf that turned into the game-winner. But the real cause of all these problems, as always, is Fels. A glutton for punishment. Our own entrepreneur decided once again to travel out to Anaheim to catch a game and once again, came up with a loss. He’s the worst.
- I know that with Sharp and Hoss both out that Q’s hands are a little handcuffed right now. He’s playing Hayes and we thank him for that. But what the hell was going on with his TOI management last night? Patrick Kane is now the workhorse of the team? Kaner skated an absurd 25:21, which puts him as the leader of the team. Higher than Keith or Seabrook. Meanwhile, Carcillo was only out there for 2 and half minutes of futility.
- Kane was actually quoted after the game as saying he believes he could have played better. I know it’s a throwaway quote that we’re used to hearing after any game but for some reason it stands out to me this time. He’s playing probably the best hockey of his career and just played the most of any game probably since he was a kid. We’ve talked about it a lot but there’s something special going on with him this year. Let’s hope he keeps it up.
- I actually feel bad for Bollig. I was listening on the radio when the puck went in off him and genuinely felt happy for the guy on getting his first NHL goal (first point too, right?). Then I heard it was going to be reviewed and even without seeing it I knew it was coming back. He’s not been quite as pointless as we always harp on him of late. At least he skated more than 3 minutes.
- If you don’t enjoy watching Selanne then I don’t know what do find happiness in. Maybe just schadenfreude?
- This game had a lot of hype to it coming in and it didn’t disappoint. I still have the nagging feeling like the Kings are going to make this a little more difficult than you’d expect but this would make for a hell of a playoff series. The Ducks are one of the few teams that genuinely concern me.
- Losing the lead then falling behind in the blink of an eye really stings, doesn’t it? Now the Blackhawks have a full four days rest to let simmer. Let’s hope they show some anger against the Kings on Monday, they’re going to need it.