At a certain point it becomes impressive, just a marvel of consistency that the Hawks under Coach Cool Youth Pastor manage to seem to always find ways to lose games against divisional opponents at crucial times during the season. Our former proprietor and fearless leader did some homework for this past week’s podcast, and now including the three most recent games to the Predators, the Hawks are an astounding 1-11-3 in “four point games” – games against teams they’re either directly above or below in the divisional standings late in the season. And this time, after getting absolutely pasted in possession by the Panthers, they somehow managed to put up 41 shots in Nashville against a relatively solid territorial team in the Preds, and managed to get shut out by Juuse Saros. It goes back to the familiar refrain heard here months ago when the masses thought this team was building/growing something beating absolutely putrid teams in overtime and staying in the hunt, that this team only has one way to beat you – and that’s have either goalie stand on his head and get power play production from one of the two-ish forwards that can score. When that doesn’t happen, it looks like it’s looked recently.
- Leading to the first goal, the penalty that Zadorov took was simply inexcusable. He’s not exactly incon-fucking-spicuous out there, and leading with a flying elbow against the glass certainly doesn’t draw any less attention to himself. Even if he accomplished absolutely everything he intended to in a best case scenario there, that’s still an extremely high risk play at the Preds blue line, where they had puck support exiting, and he would have once again taken himself out of the play to make a hit, but possibly sprung an odd man break going the other way. That the Preds promptly scored on the ensuing power play, and given the fact that they have just sat on leads against the Hawks for the previous four games they’ve played this year and Zadorov did not miss a shift is bordering on criminal negligence from Jeremy Trestman. Zadorov will keep doing this shit because there is no consequence other than being on a dog ass defense, and save for last year in Colorado, thoughout his career he has seemed pretty content to just do what he does and look like a big fucking asshole in the process.
- Even though the Hawks didn’t dent the twine at all today, this is probably the most active that Dylan Strome has looked since maybe the first week of the season. Maybe the looming reality of being a dad weighed on him and certainly the concussion protocol didn’t help, but he is certainly more noticeable in the past three games, particularly at even strength where he had been an utter ghost for weeks on end previously.
- Kevin Lankinen’s rebound control continues to be an issue. While none were converted, there were plenty of pucks kicked directly right into harm’s way, and given what this defense is capable of (see above), and it’s lack of fixed positioning, those are eventually going to be cashed in on and it won’t be pretty.
- Not much more to say about this one, the Hawks get Dallas back at home next in another case of facing a direct competitor for a playoff spot, as the Hawks and Stars are tied in points percentage but the Stars are still playing catchup and are about 4 or 5 games behind everyone else still. But hey, Vinnie Hinostroza may be out of quarantine in time for his triumphant return!