Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Lightning Thief

After Tuesday's hiccup, the Hawks traveled across the state of Florida to face the Lightning, and this is a very different team from the Panthers. The Ice Rays have plenty of scoring talent, so the Hawks would need to play much better than they did in the first, Tuesday night. In a bit of a surprise move, Quenneville announced that Corey Crawford would be playing again, so it looks like Quenneville isn't going to leave anything to chance. It was also announced that Brian Campbell and Viktor Stalberg would be replaced by Dog Pisani and Big Show Scott...YIKES.

The Hawks didn't look especially good in the first period, but they didn't look especially bad either. One slight gaffe, and one pretty big Gaffe both ended up in their own net, but they also managed one themselves. Each team had a goal in the middle period to set up yet ANOTHER crucial third period. Can't they set themselves up for ANYTHING easy? The Hawks came back and tied the game on the sheer will of their Captain, and send the game into overtime. The overtime was fast and furious with huge chances either way, but no one could finish the game. This game would be decided by a single shootout goal, by Tampa.

The Good
  • For the first time in weeks, someone other than Brent Seabrook actually hit and opponent on defense, and that was Chris Campoli on Bergenheim. This kid has looked really good.
  • Frodo made two great defensive plays on Vinny Lecavalier, first lifting his stick to steam the puck and then blocking a turnaround shot. You will NEVER gain haters by making smart plays in your own zone, especially as a forward.
  • Kaner continued his hot play, sniping D-wayne Roloson to wake the Hawks bench up. He just circled around and snapped it top shelf.
  • Sharpie finally worked out of his little slump, picking up El Capitán's garbage and bringing the Hawks within one goal. Tazer dug in and took a pass off the skate which Rolly kicked back out, and made a second save on Toews, but Shooter picked up the loose puck on the third rebound and sent it home.
  • In the last two minutes of the second, Stamkos and St. Louis came in on a 2-on-1, and as soon as Stamkos received the pass, Pat Foley said, "open ne-CRAWWWWFORD!!". He clearly felt that puck was going in the net, and I had to laugh at his premature reaction.
  • Leave it up to Edzo to point out a big faceoff win by El Capitán, that ended up in the net. Tazer ended up finishing the play by redirecting a Hammer shot past Roloson. Watching Toews play is a real treat, folks, so cherish it. He is a rare and special player.
  • The Hawks were extremely lucky on the St. Louis chance in OT, because it went off Hossa's stick, then Seabrook's stick and then the crossbar. My stomach literally dropped when I saw it hit Seabrook's stick.

The Bad
  • Kopecky has been relegated to the forth line and leave it up to him to take a bad offensive zone penalty, in one of his few shifts, that the Lightning turned into several good scoring chances.
  • You can't let Stevie Stamkos skate in and take a clean shot on your goalie. He's the league leader in scoring, for christ sakes. Bolland didn't keep his feet moving and Seabrook got caught deciding what he wanted to do. Granted the Hawks weren't grossly out of position, but he is leading the league for a reason. Stamkos just cut to the middle of the ice and snapped it past Crow. Lovely.
  • Deuce and Seabrook must really miss each other because in one of their first shifts together, they got caught holding hands and chasing Stamkos. The puck squirted out and St. Louis sniped Crow. I know Stamkos hurt them earlier, but three guys on his back is a little excessive. Happy medium, maybe?
  • Crow just didn't follow the puck on the third Lightning goal. Hedman took a shot off the skate of Teddy Purcell, who backhanded it into a gaping net. That is just sloppy.
  • Bick had the game on his stick, with an OT breakaway, and you can imagine how that turned out. NOT the guy you want with the game on his stick in OT.
  • For the first time Ryan Johnson was ineffective at the faceoff dot, going 3-9.

The Ugly
  • I know that Bryan Bickell THINKS he is some kind of fleet footed, 180lb sniper, but he needs to start using that big body to plant opponents on their asses. I've seen Sharpie and Kaner hit more people, and that is sad. As I typed that out, Bickell crushed two Lightning players in the same shift, but I still stand by my comment. He was still a -3 on the night.
  • Obviously, Big Show and the Dog are no Soupie and Pick-to-Click Vik. Dog can hold his own, but Big Show is overmatched, so the Hawks were rolling 5 D-men, in all reality. To make matters worse, Bolland wasn't seen again after an elbow to the back of the head by Pavel Kubina, in the first period. Lets hope it isn't a concussion, because then he might be out a while.
  • With three and a half minutes left, in a tie game, Sharpie made a horribly selfish play, trying to stickhandle out of his own zone. It was picked off and sent towards the Hawks net, where there was a wide open Lightning forward. Luckily, Crow snuffed it out.
  • You HAVE to score in the shootout. All three moves were average at best.
  • Bitch about the St.Louis goal all you would like, and for the record I hate everything about shootouts, but he made that same backhand move twice in the All-Star Game skills competition. It's no secret.

The Shootout
  • Lecavalier missed the net.
  • Toews had the door shut by Roloson.
  • Stamkos's spin-o-rama hit the post.
  • Kaner copied Toews and was stopped.
  • St. Louis used a spin-o-rama to beat Crawford.
  • Hossa was stopped by Roloson.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

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