Not the way you want to start a playoff run but losing Game 1 to the Phoenix Coyotes is not the end of the world either. Losing the first game of the a playoff series does not spell impending doom. This is the sixth series in the last 4 years in which the Blackhawks have dropped Game 1. The Hawks have won 3 of those 5 previous series. Let’s not forget in 2010 the Hawks dropped the first game of the playoffs to Nashville at home. Then they lost Game 1 of the 2nd round to Vancouver. Sure you would love to win Game 1 but it isn’t the end of the world when you don’t, especially on the road. There was some good and some bad last night. The Blackhawks put forth a solid effort in the 1st and 3rd periods. The 2nd period was ugly. You have to pay a full 60 minutes if you want to win in the post season. The Coyotes are not going to back down and they are going to be physical. The Blackhawks played good enough to win last night but didn’t get the job done. If they play like they did in the 1st and 3rd periods and the first few moments of OT they will be just fine. If they have many more periods like the 2nd they are in trouble. Realistic expectations were for the Hawks to come home for Game 3 tied at one game apiece. If the Blackhawks bounce back with a win on Saturday they will have accomplished that with a chance to take control of the series on their home ice. On to the observations.
- Corey Crawford was good last night in goal. If he continues to play like that he will be just fine. He didn’t get a whole lot of help last night. There wasn’t much he could do on any of the goals. The first goal was due to the Hawks inability to clear the puck. The second goal the Hawks got caught in a line change. The game winner came off a lost faceoff and his defense not clearing the crease. The Blackhawks defense needs to step in up in front of Crow from here on out.
- The Blackhawks need to do a much better job at the face off circle. They were brutal last night. Add that with the pathetic attempts of clearing the zone and you can just feel the loss coming on.
- The 2nd line was not very good last night. They were on the ice for 2 of the 3 Coyotes goals and didn’t seem to be in sync.
- Shane Doan is a pudwhack! Someone needs to dump him on his ass so he stops throwing punches at Toew’s head.
- If Radim Vrbata’s injury is serious that could be a huge loss for the Yotes. Good job by Pat and Eddie reporting the news that he wasn’t returning 20 minutes after the beat reporters told us.
- Good thing Johnny Oduya saved his worst game as a Blackhawk for the playoffs!
- I love Andrew Shaw’s intensity but he needs to reel it in a bit. He was very lucky to not get a couple penalties called against him. Overall the 3rd line was pretty good. They are a perfect line for playoff hockey.
- The power play wasn’t awful last night. They actually created quite a few chances. As long as they keep it up the goals will come.
- So I think I nailed down what it takes to be a Coyotes fan. Ignore the team all season and show up to the first game of the playoffs in a brand new jersey. Then during the game stand up and beg for a penalty every time a Coyote falls down. Oh, and don’t forget to boo when the refs enforce a rule that I know nothing about. Did I miss anything?
- Brent Seabrook is worth every penny we pay him.
- The penalty kill was solid, including killing off a 5 on 3 for about half a minute. Not sure if the Hawks PK was good or if the Phoenix power play is that bad. It’s most likely somewhere in the middle.
- Still can’t figure out why Brandon Bollig was playing and what he offers to this team in the post season. He is John Scott part deux, which is fine when you are playing the Blues or Canucks in the regular season. Guys do not drop the gloves during the playoffs so that eliminates the only thing Bollig does. I have been advocating for Michael Frolik but I would love to see Jimmy Hayes out there. Mike Smith is a large man so try putting another large man out there to get in his way.
- The Hawks had 45 shots on goal and 40 in regulation. The had 18 in the final period. Keep putting the puck on net and be ready for rebounds, good things will happen.
My Blackhawks Player of the Game
It sure didn’t take Jonathan Toews very long to get back into the groove after missing the last 22 games of the regular season. He scored the Hawks 1st gaol just 4:04 into the game. He proved good things can happen when you shoot the puck. He later added an assist on the game tying goal. It was great to see the captain back on the ice and being the major factor that he is.
My Turds of the Game
Going with the double turds today, our craptasic 3rd defensive pairing of Niklas Hjalmarrson and Sean O’Donnell. Hjalmarrson couldn’t have screwed the pooch anymore than he did on Phoenix’s 1st goal. He had a turnover and followed it up with his patented blind clearing attempt that went nowhere. Then for some odd reason he took the puck away from Corey Crawford when it should have been frozen. What the hell was he thinking?? O’Donnell was terrible all night and I still have no idea why he was even on the ice. Dylan Olsen has to be in the lineup on Saturday. And if Hjammer has another game like that he needs to be launched for Sami Lepisto.