OK, so it wasn’t exactly like their performance against the Avalanche last week but it was enough. The Hawks have five wins in their last six games, and even more shocking, they have seven power play goals in that time. What a world. To the bullets:
– The Hawks started strong yet again, and if there is anything that makes watching them bearable, it’s them NOT finding themselves in a 2-0 hole by the five-minute mark. In fact, the Hawks were the ones up 2-0 relatively early, thanks to the functional power play and overall good puck movement in the first 10 minutes. Alex DeBrincat scored the PPG, which brings his scoring streak to five games, and as a whole, the power play continued to be a legitimate offensive weapon for the Hawks. Not long afterwards, Kane added a goal, putting him on a seven-game scoring streak as well. Things were looking up.
– Then, Gustav Forsling went all Gustav Forsling all over everything. He took a dumbass penalty late in the first which led to Rantanen’s goal. And while Foreskin’s tripping penalty set things up, his was not the only defensive failure at this point. Keith and Seabrook were on the PK and I swear to you they stood still and watched as Gabriel ThisLandIsYourLand walked up to the net and scored. It was patently absurd.
– But he wasn’t done yet! Forsling managed to do the exact same thing at the end of the second period, although Nathan MacKinnon had already scored on…wait for it…a delayed penalty just seconds prior. Forsling repeatedly passed to no one and went around tripping people and yet, he had a 72 CF%. Hockey is weird.
– Speaking of weird, the Hawks’ power play has been, as we’ve mentioned, downright functional as of late. But in the third when they had a 5-on-3 the Hawks completely shat the bed. They went right back to everyone standing around waiting for Patrick Kane to do something. When Kane did get a shot, it was a crazy deflection off the post and into the crowd on the other side of the ice. It was impressive in its own way. But that didn’t make up for the fact that with a 2-man advantage and one defender with a broken stick—so basically a 2.5-man advantage—the Hawks receded to their bad habits of not moving themselves or the puck.
– They made up for it by scoring on a power play right at the start of OT, thanks to Connor Murphy once again getting his face demolished, this time by Landeskog. He ain’t pretty no more (he was never pretty anyway), but who cares, we’ll take whatever help we can get. Toews batted down the puck with a suspiciously high stick and fed it to Kane, exactly the quick puck movement that they needed. Luckily the refs were as done with the game as anyone, so no one bothered to review if Toews’ stick really was over the crossbar. Again, we’ll take whatever we can get.
– In other news, Collin Delia looked really good once again. Neither goal can be pinned on any mistake of his; the first one, his defenders sat on their asses and watched, and the second was in the midst of a defensive breakdown and scramble. In fact, he was the sole reason the Hawks didn’t get brained late in the first and through most of the second. His positioning and composure were both exactly what the Hawks needed, particularly with the Avs top line having their way with whoever was on the ice at the time. Delia ended the night with a .938 SV% and had better get the god damn start on New Year’s Day.
– Alex DeBrincat is not a fucking third liner. Why can’t Coach Cool Youth Pastor see this? What more must this guy do?! FUCKING SHIT
–Dylan Strome had two assists and continues to be eminently useful. Meanwhile Artem Anisimov is still 10 steps slower than Strome and Kane on their line, and it’s beyond frustrating to imagine how many goals a DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line would have. Anisimov stumbled over or lost the puck in his feet at least three chances tonight. It seems so obvious.
Another win so we’ll have to just shut up and deal with our line combination complaints, and hope that Forsling can benched or traded or teleported to the land of wind and ghosts ANYTHING JUST MAKE IT STOP. But there’s no better way to go into the Winter Classic, such as it is. Onward and upward.