I’ll admit to having been a touch worried about Corey Crawford lately. It was starting to look a bit last year. In both seasons, for the first half of the campaign Crow was asked to perform miracles and paranormal phenomenons to keep the wolves from the door. Last year, under the weight of all that he faded at the end, and was only good in the playoffs which wasn’t good enough. We don’t know yet if this year will see the same fade, but of late he just hasn’t been as good as he was earlier in the year. He’d strung four great starts together, but then there was Detroit–where he admittedly didn’t have any help either. And it’s kind of what we’ve seen from Feb. 1 on.
Today was definitely vintage Crow, which gave his teammates the platform to capitalize on the opportunities they did create. And there’s your difference. The Hawks finished theirs because of their greater top-end firepower. Kane, Panarin, and Hossa on the scoresheet. The Wild didn’t. And this is almost certainly how it will go in May when these two teams see each other again.
Let’s clean it up:
The Two Obs
-Admittedly, it’s only his third game after a long injury absence, but this wasn’t a day to get encouraged about Johnny Oduya. Yet. While Q wasn’t chasing any specific matchup, and against the Wild there really isn’t one given their depth, he and Hammer were pretty much skulled by whoever they were out there against. Sure, the possession numbers are skewed by the Hawks getting up so quickly, but you’d like a whole of a lot better than a Corsi mark in the 30% range.
-Basically, the same goes for Keith, but then he comes up with that pass to Hossa and you’re far less inclined to complain.
-You got the full range of Trevor van Riemsdyk in the second period. Neiderreiter absolutely had him in the blender, and actually did him a favor by shooting as early as he did because he could have turned him into another knot or two before he was done. Then he joins a rush he really didn’t have any business joining, as he was already up on the play being woefully out of position. But then Ryan White simply gives up or had his controller turned off after committing a penalty, opening up a passing lane for Kruger that TVR was able to bundle in. You can’t script this shit.
-Remember when we used to complain about Hossa on breakaways? Good times.
-There wasn’t a Zucker or HAULA!!! goal. This is the first time this has happened against the Hawks since 2007. Or at least that’s how it feels.
-I’m not sure what the purpose of saddling Kruger with TOOTBLAN and Desjardins and only having him play 11 minutes is, but this only matters if it happens in the playoffs. You’re not getting away with Working Class Kero as your checking center, I know that much.
-I don’t know if this is some sort of a marker for any following postseason series between the two. We know the Wild used to take this sort of thing really seriously, but this year has seen them throw out Kuemper as a starter in contest in St. Paul. The division title will obviously mean more to them than the Hawks. While getting doubled up in shots isn’t the prescribed way to win a series, and the Wild’s speed 1-12 at forward is going to be something of an issue, getting the win certainly is the first strike in whatever mind games there might be.