Like most every game in the NHL these days, given how little difference there is the talent distribution now, most games come down to a couple moments here and there. Tonight was two of them. The one in the 1st period where the Hawks gave up two goals in 65 seconds (and could have been more in that frame). The second was in the 3rd when Darling couldn’t save McClement’s chance from the slot after a Kane giveaway, and then a minute later when Ward was able to stymie Hartman when Hartman was in the slot all alone. That’s not to be harsh on Darling, who was excellent in the 1st period when he had to be. It’s not a save you’d expect him to make. It really wasn’t a save you’d expect Ward to make, either. But the Hawks success this year is built on Darling and Crawford making saves they shouldn’t make. And then cashing in the limited chances they get. Didn’t work that way tonight.
That is also a bit harsh, because the last 40 minutes were a far more solid effort than the first 20 and far better than anything we saw last night. The Hawks just couldn’t make it count, once again getting scoring from only one line, just not the line that normally does it.
Let’s clean it up and then adjourn for the New Year.