In what was probably the most even game of the series, the Hawks were simply just a little better in every area that saw them to a win that will force a Game 7. While we all hoped for a dominant Hawks 1st period, the Ducks came out with their hellacious forecheck and didn’t give the Hawks a lot of time to create much. But the Hawks were able to navigate just enough, Crow make just enough saves, and just enough rushes up the ice to make the Ducks and Andersen work in their zone to keep things even. The dam broke in the 2nd, when the Hawks were able to get to their creative best. That’s something the Ducks simply couldn’t match tonight, and it’s why we’re headed back to Cali, back to Cali.
Let’s do it:
-Tonight’s game was basically decided on three moments of brilliance from the Hawks, the kind of moments they can provide from anywhere. Kane with the deft flick at the red line that found Beauchemin simply wandering nowhere and Lindholm flat-footed for Saad to streak by. Hossa and Richards with a really neat interplay behind the net, and Keith showing the patience we’ve begged for to provide Hossa with an open net. Kane dancing around Beleskey like he was a kindergarten student right after nap time.
Oh, and the clincher was Andrew Shaw out-battling Ryan Getzlaf all the way down the ice. That’t Ryan Getzlaf, who must have at least 40 pounds on Shaw.
-Speaking of Getzlaf and his sewer alligator sibling, they were both -3 tonight and mostly unnoticeable. Perry had one shot. Yeah, I really believe these guys are going to turn into killers in a Game 7.
-People won’t want to hear this, at least some of them, but tonight proves that basically, Duncan Keith is the best Hawks’ defenseman of all time. He certainly will be if he isn’t already. He simply runs the show.
-The funny thing about tonight is that Frederik Andersen looked completely reversed from Game 5, and was very smooth and assured. The Hawks still got four on him. You have to be encouraged by that. All. Goalies. Break.
-For the first game this series, Q really tried to get Toews away from Kesler and had him out against Getzlaf most of the night. And while the attempts battle went to Getzlaf, I defy you to remember most of them. Meanwhile, Kesler saw his most amount of time against Kruger, and Kruger waxed him in attempts 10-3. And the Ducks lost. This is probably not a coincidence.
-Hey look, Bryan Bickell is not dead.
-In today’s program we beseeched the Hawks to use the middle of the ice to break out, considering how the Ducks were pressing them along the walls. But that’s easy from here. The Ducks are getting on the Hawks so quick on the forecheck the d-men have to snap passes to anyone in the middle, and that’s causing turnovers. There were a couple in the 1st that bounced off Vermette’s and Richards’s sticks, and it felt like the Hawks were scared off that method the rest of the night.
-The Hawks obviously took a step back once it became a one-goal game in the 3rd, but they did an excellent job of keeping the Ducks to the outside. The optics of this series are bad for the uninitiated. It looks like the Ducks are having their way with the Hawks at times with their constant cycling. But the Hawks are letting them have the perimeter and keeping them away from the prime areas. How many big time saves did Crow have to make? Two?
-Hawks fans may lament wasting the comeback in Game 5. Ducks fans may lament wasting the 37 seconds in Game 4. But when you wasted a Clayton Stoner goal…
-Hampus! Hampus! barely played the last 10 minutes of the game. This requires watching.
-I’m sure we’ll get even more noise about ice-time, and the extra day off here is no small matter. But the only abnormal total of time looks to be Hammer’s of 26 minutes, and even that’s not that stupid.
It’s all set up now. The one thing the Hawks haven’t accomplished in the Quenneville Era is win a Game 7 on the road. Good thing they’ll be playing a team that’s expert in providing that for their opponents.