Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hawks come back from 3-1 deficit, then blow a 4-3 3rd period lead and lose 5-4 in SO

The night started with great anticipation as the Blackhawks' two biggest legends were honored on Saturday night, having their statues unveiled in front of the United Center, however the hawks couldn't build on the momentum from their solid win in Denver on Thursday or the atmosphere of a memorable night and looked flatfooted to start the game compared to Thursday night.

1st Period - Sleepy Start

Some loose play by Dave Bolland on his first shift resulted in a turnover at center and allowed the Avs to enter the zone, then he was stripped of the puck again in the right corner after trying to put it between his legs, resulting in a good point blank opportunity for the Avs that was only thwarted by Michael Frolik lifting Hejduk's stick just as he was about to shoot. Frolik and Bickell then moved up ice and combined behind the Avs net to set up Bolland at the side, however, Varlamov moved across to cover.

The Kane line followed that with Hossa promptly being stripped of the puck at center, and the Avs quickly transitioned into a 3 on 2, with the puck eventually cleared around to the halfboards where O'Brien beat Carcillo to the puck and centered to Lindstrom open in the slot and he got a good shot off to test Crawford.

The Toews line came out and on the ensuing rush up ice, O'Brien seemed to tug on Patrick Sharp's jersey which apparently was enough for the referee to whistle him for holding and the hawks had an early man advantage.

The hawks powerplay got a couple of good point shots through, first Seabrook with a low drive that Varlamov steered to the corner, then Sharp one-timed another set-up by Kane from the left point and this time Varlamov covered and gave no rebound. The 2nd powerplay unit continued to work it to the points, with Keith blasting from the right point that Varlamov stopped, though the puck trickled in behind him, however, play was called as the referee lost sight of the puck, before a hawk could get to it. On the ensuing faceoff, the 1st unit was back out and Kane danced in from the right side and fired a wrister that Varlamov stopped, leaving a rebound but he covered up before Toews could get to it. Near the end of the powerplay, Toews from behind the net tried to hit Sharp who had sneaked unchecked into the slot from the point, but a good stick by O'Byrne deflected the pass away from Sharp & out of danger. Jay McClement picked up the loose puck at the halfboards and dumped it ahead to Winnick who was moving up with speed and he cut around Toews, the first hawk player back in his own zone, and in on Crawford but Seabrook was able to recover enough to stick check him & prevent a shot on goal with Crawford scrambling across his crease.

After an Avs offside, they again moved it deep into the hawk zone, with two Avs battling Montador behind the net and finally Duchene emerged with the puck and skated right out in front untouched but he shot it wide, with O'Donnell & Landeskog battling in front of Crawford for position.

The hawks attempted breakout was stopped at center and in fact they didn't get it into the Colorado zone until Kane beat Quincey to the puck on an icing in the left corner. Moments later, Kane tried to catch Varlamov by surprise, attempting to bank it off him from a sharp angle while almost even with the goal line which the Avs goaltender managed to handle. Later, Landeskog with a strong backcheck simply stripped Hossa of the puck along the right halfboards and cleared around to Hejda behind his own goal. Hejda fired a pass to Winnik beyond the red line at center who turned and headed away from the hawk zone back towards the red line, drawing Keith with him, then slid it over to the onrushing O'Reilly who with full speed blew past Keith & Sharp and in on a 2 on 1 with Leddy the lone hawk back. O'Reilly was on his backhand with Leddy cutting off his angle, so he stopped and turned, trying to pass to Landeskog alone in the slot, thanks to beating Sharp back, however the pass hit Leddy and a good chance was for the Avs went by the wayside.

The teams exchanged rushes, however were denied good chances by some tighter checking until Erik Johnson got caught on a pinch deep in the corner of the hawks zone when he backhanded a pass to the slot that was knocked away. The hawks broke out 3 on 1, with Montador recognizing the situation and jumping up into the play. Sharp carried in deep and made a perfect saucer pass to Montador wide open in the slot, however he shot it wide.

A few minutes later, Bickell just failed to connect with a pass to Bolland alone at the side of the Avs net as Varlamov stopped it, then later on the same shift, Frolik intercepted a pass attempt at center by Hejda and moved in alone on the Avs netminder but Hejduk was able to knock the puck off his stick with a diving stick check before he could get a shot off.

Colorado 1, Chicago 0  - replica of Av goal in Denver

With just over 5 minutes left in the first, the hawks 4th line created a chance on a nice 3 way passing play from Mayers to Kruger to Stalberg who batted the puck out of mid air but he missed the net. About a minute later, an Avs dump in was cleared by Crawford up the left boards, however, Jones beat Bolland to the puck and played it back to O'Brien at the right point, then headed to the front of the net along with Stastny. O'Brien fed it to Quincey at the left point who fired a shot that Stastny tipped past Crawford, very similar to the goal the Avs scored in Denver, but unlike Thursday's game, it was the Avs who had struck first to make it 1-0 late in the first. Both Jones & Stastny were alone in front and in behind both Bolland and Keith, with Leddy also out of position on the play.

Then with just under two minutes left in the period, the hawks were caught again on an odd man rush as Hejduk recovered a hawk's clear at his own line and he threw it up to Winnick at the hawk line and Winnick moved in and fired a low shot that Crawford handled. Moments later, the Avs beat the hawks to another dump-in as Landeskog knocked Mayers stick out of his hands and recovered the loose puck in the corner and fed O'Reilly in the circle who got another good shot that Crawford stopped.

That was it for the good chances in the 1st period as the Avs outshot the hawks 7-6, despite taking the only penalty.

2nd Period - Strange sawoff

The hawks started the second with some good zone time by the Toews line, with Brunette setting up Leddy who had drifted into the slot from his point position, but his backhand was stopped. A scrum ensued after the whistle with O'Brien & Toews pushing and shoving, tho no penalties were called.

Frolik freebie - Colorado 1, Chicago 1

After a zone clear from the faceoff, Hjalmarsson fired the puck from his own line, and it was deflected into the zone by Carcillo to negate any potential icing. Carcillo proceeded to go after the puck deep in the Av zone, but was cutoff by Hejda, who appeared to make contact with Carcillo's head, as #13 spun down to the ice and around several times tho no penalty was called on the play. Hejda recovered the puck and passed behind the net to his partner Erik Johnson who inexplicably sent the puck right up the slot and straight onto Frolik's stick and the puck was behind Varlamov before he could react and the game was tied less than a minute into the 2nd.

The Avs didn't seem deflated by the goal, however, as they went back to work in the hawk zone off a dump-in where Crawford behind his own net again passed it to the corner where Galliardi beat Montador to the puck and passed it back to Kobasew who got a good shot off.

Later in the shift, Lindstrom's cross-ice pass in the hawk zone for Kobasew went to Hossa, who mishandled it, and instead of stopping to block it, continued to skate by it after failing to control it and Kobasew then easily recovered the puck in the slot and fired a shot that fortunately was deflected just wide in front. Kyle Quincey was the first player in the corner to recover the puck and noticing that Crawford was still scrambling trying to get back in net after Kobasew's shot, and fired a hard pass/shot right across the crease, presumably hoping for a deflection. The puck ended up with Lindstrom at the side of the net, but before he could do anything with it, he was bodied by Carcillo. Kane finally got control, but was obviously tired and his zone clear attempt was intercepted at the blue line and dumped right back deep into the hawk zone. He eventually succeeded in lifting the puck out to center for Carcillo, but the pass was intercepted and the Avs moved right back up ice on a 3 on 2 with Duchene in the slot just failing to connect with McClement who was wide open cutting in on the left side. The hawks cleared the zone again but not for long, tho Hossa did manage to get off for his change. Keith's attempt to clear off the glass appeared to hit a stanchion and went right to McClement in the high slot. He passed to Duchene who eventually worked it back to Johnson at the point who tested Crawford again.

The hawks finally entered the Avs zone with the Toews line, with good movement by Sharp, who took a short dump pass from Brunette in the left corner and skated back to the line where suddenly the slot opened up for him, and he proceeded to move in deeper, tho apparently too far to the right side for a good shooting angle, so he decided to pass - only there was no hawk anywhere near where he passed it. The Avs gladly took the turnover and again moved quickly to the attack with another odd man rush, this time with defenseman Wilson's centering pass hitting O'Donnell's skate and the danger was over for that rush.

The hawks finally tested Varlamov again with Seabrook moving up the right side which had been vacated by the Avs on a change and he got a low hard shot on Varlamov who made the save.

On the ensuing faceoff, the Avs turned up ice again and the hawks once again failed to clear a dump-in out of the zone, with Hossa yet again failing to control and clear the puck after Hjalmarsson moved it to the right half boards. His attempted pass hit Winnick, and the loose puck was quickly taken by Jones, who then left it for Hejduk who was skating towards the point. He fed it to Stastny who was moving in from the point and Stastny easily evaded Hossa's feeble stick check, and he just missed connecting with Jones on a redirect attempt. O'Brien pinched deep into the corner from his point position and kept the puck in, feeding Stastny behind the net. Stastny's stuff attempt on Crawford's left didn't work so he then moved to the other side of the net & set up pinching Quincey for a one-timer that Crawford stopped with the blocker. The hawks Seabrook finally recovered the puck and as he moved up the right boards, appeared to be cross-checked by Stastny from behind, resulting in a turnover but no penalty was called and Crawford finally got a stoppage after stopping Stastny's shot.

Colorado 2, Chicago 1 - bad bounce

The hawks fourth line managed to get the puck into the Avs zone, however, they couldn't sustain any zone time. The Avs were finally rewarded for not allowing the hawks to clear their own zone on a dump in as Hjalmarsson's hard around went past Bickell to the point, where it was kept in and moved to Stastny on the right half boards. He passed it to Hejduk behind the goal line who smartly moved to the right corner drawing Hjalmarsson over and opening up space behind the net for Jones, who moved in to the open area taking Hejduk's pass. Jones moved out from behind the net on Crawford's right and his attempted centering pass deflected in off Seabrook and the Avs had the lead once again, 2-1.

The hawks tried to respond the next shift with Stalberg replacing Carcillo on Kane's line, providing more speed and quickness, with Stalberg picking up a loose puck just inside the Av line caused by Kane's quick hands, however his shot was fired wide. Toews's line then tried to carry the next shift and had some offensive zone time, tho late in the shift O'Donnell's deep pinch almost cost the hawks as they failed to control and the Avs had another odd man rush, tho they were at the end of a shift and opted for a change instead.

Colorado 3, Chicago 1

The good fortune for the hawks didn't last however, as a minute or so later, O'Donnell's clear attempt out of the zone was intercepted by McClement who quickly countered, skating behind the hawk net all the way to the left half boards with three hawks in pursuit. McClement passed it to the right point and headed off for a change after the puck was sent back into the right corner where MacLeod won the puck battle, beating both Toews & O'Donnell. He moved towards the back of the net for O'Reilly, who sent it back to MacLeod along the right boards, drawing O'Donnell and Toews back toward Macleod, who then reversed the puck again to O'Reilly behind the net, who saw Landeskog, just off the bench, driving toward the net past Brunette. O'Reilly then slid the puck into the crease and Landeskog simply beat Montador and shoveled it past Crawford to put the Avs up by two, 3-1. There were a lot of hawk mistakes on that sequence, to the point where every single hawk on the ice earned the minus 1 for the goal against.

With five minutes left, after a TV timeout, the crowd, which had been silenced, responded to the announcement of Bobby Hull & Stan Mikita's statue-unveiling and the presence of the two hawk legends at the game. Quenneville sensed the moment and put out the 4th line with Carcillo replacing Stalberg, to try to generate some energy and emotion.

While they weren't able to accomplish much, shortly afterwards Jonathan Toews did, when he took the puck behind his own net and headed up ice, and after skating past one Av at center, he proceeded to turn Shane O'Brien inside out, going between the two Avs defensmen and skating in all alone on Varlamov but the puck seemed to slide off his stick just as he was getting on top of Varlamov, after O'Reilly seemed to just barely get his stick on Toews right glove. Varlamov froze the loose puck, ending play, while Toews looked at the referee, waving his hand in a manner that suggested that he thought he was fouled. That seemed to provide the hawks with some spark as they finally got some zone time, though didn't really test the Av netminder.

Kane, Hossa and Sharp followed up that shift with more zone time with Hossa getting two clear, point blank shots on Varlamov who was equal to the task. The hawks pressing almost backfired though when Keith was caught pinching after his shot attempt didn't get through and the Avs turned up ice with yet another odd man rush and this time Winnick hit the post to the left of Crawford with a shot from the right faceoff dot. Moments later, Sharp was hauled down by Winnick at center and the hawks had their 2nd powerplay.

Toews to the rescue - Colorado 3, Chicago 2

From the faceoff, the hawks wasted little time, with Keith doing a nice job of keeping the puck in the zone, firing a shot on goal that Varlamov stopped with Brunette parked on his doorstep, but he left a rebound that Toews promptly deposited into the net with Varlamov down & out of position and the hawks were back in it, 3-2. It appeared on the replay that Brunette made contact with Varlamov just after Keith's initial shot, but he was actually pushed in by Hejda so the goal stood without the need for replay.

The hawks actually outshot Colorado 15 to 10 in the 2nd, even though it seemed that the Av had more good chances.

3rd period - Come from behind - blow from ahead

The 3rd period started off slow, with numerous stoppages in the first few minutes. The flow picked up as the Avs got a chance when Winnick, after picking up a loose puck from a failed clear attempt by Montador, tried to stuff a wrap-around that presented some danger with Landeskog in front to distract Crawford, however, the puck went wide.

The hawks got a good chance moments later when Bickell won a board battle behind the Av net and backhanded a centering pass which Bolland pounced on and he fired a point blank shot on Varlamov who was alert and made a good save.

Leddy leads hawks back - Colorado 3, Chicago 3

Less than a minute later, Leddy skated back to pick up an errant Av pass in the hawk zone, then accelerated as he went behind the net, using it to essentially evade the oncoming Lindstrom and he flew up the ice, gaining speed leaving all three Av forwards in his wake as he crossed the blueline, then found Mayers with a pass on right wing, as he continued to drive toward the net. Mayers timed his hard shot to give Leddy a chance at a possible rebound, however, Varlamov's right leg pad save caused the puck to go to the slot. O'Byrne, who was covering Leddy, ended up deflecting the puck into his own net with his skate as he turned to try to prevent Leddy from getting to the rebound and the game was tied. Kruger & Carcillo didn't receive assists on the play, however they both drove hard to the net and were in position to perhaps capitalize on the rebound if it hadn't hit O'Byrne's skate. Less than 5 minutes into the 3rd, the hawks had tied it at 3.

The Avs came close to restoring their lead about a minute later, all stemming from another failed zone clear attempt by the hawks on a dump-in. Hjalmarsson blindly fired the puck from behind the net hard around the boards up the left side, however Bolland, the closest hawk couldn't get there before Stastny, who kept it in at the line, dumping it back into the corner. The puck came to Seabrook behind the hawk net and instead of moving the puck away from the forecheck pressure he dumped it on his forehand back towards the corner, where Jones picked it up. His centering pass attempt was partially blocked by Hjalmarsson with the loose puck going to Bolland, who then fired off the back boards toward the other side, however Frolik was high and not on the half boards, allowing Matt Hunwick to move up and keep it in. The puck then went to Stastny, who returned to Hunwick for a hard point shot that was blocked in front and ended up going to the right point where O'Brien dumped it back behind the hawk net again.

Hjalmarsson again tried to clear, but right into traffic and his clear attempt was blocked, ending up on Stastny's stick who moved to the side of the net unchecked and fed a centering pass to Jones who failed to connect, the puck hitting his skates. Stastny tried to pounce on the loose puck at the side of the crease, and took a couple of wacks at it along with Jones, however Crawford had the the lower post covered with his left leg pad and the puck bounced high and wide. Stastny picked up the loose puck behind the net and his centering pass failed to connect, however, 6'4 Bickell, apparently feeling in giving mood, decided to poke the puck ahead with one hand to Frolik on his right instead of moving up to actually try to take possession. That allowed Hunwick to keep it in, with the puck going to the right halfboards where Seabrook, under pressure from Jones, tried to golf the puck out, with Jones getting a piece of it.

Frolik had a chance to gain control of the puck as it eluded Hunwick for a moment, but he fanned on his attempt to swipe it forward as he skated by it (in the hopes he would have a breakaway) and instead Hunwick who fired a shot wide. Stastny picked up the loose puck in the open corner, turned and centered it but just failed to connect for a redirect with Hejduk in front. The puck went to the far boards where Frolik tried to clear yet again, but failed, with the puck kept in at the line. Fortunately for the hawks, tho, the Avs were in need of a change and the hawks were finally able to move the puck out to center and eventually into the Av zone to allow themselves to change.

TJ Galiardi then picked up the dump in behind his own net and a la Leddy moments earlier blew past the hawks three forwards and went around Leddy before Keith moved over and poked the puck away. The puck went to Duchene, whose centering pass ended up going to Hejda, who tested Crawford with a shot from the left boards.

The hawks finally got another chance at about the halfway mark of the 3rd, when Kane retrieved a loose puck deep in his own zone and lifted a long backhand pass right up the middle of the ice to Hossa at center. Hossa was covered by Hejda, but managed to poke the puck ahead to Sharp who, joined by Kane who flew up the right side, was in on a 2 on 1. Sharp fed Kane who moved in and fired a wrist shot high over a sprawling Johnson that Varlamov made a good left arm save on.

The hawks fourth line almost clicked again a minute or so later, when they broke in 3 on 2, with Mayers timing his shot on net to coincide with Carcillo's arrival there. Carcillo appeared to get a stick on it, but Varlamov stopped it, tho he couldn't control the puck and gave a rebound that the hard driving Kruger missed after he fell, unable to get his stick on it, and instead crashing into the net behind Varlamov.

They threatened again with Kane picking up the puck at center from Hossa and drove up the right side, causing the Av defenders to back in. Kane, sensing the open space behind him, dropped it for the trailing Hossa, who instead of moving into the open slot area for some reason turned back to the right into coverage, before passing it back to Kane behind the net. Hossa took a return pass and then made a cross-ice feed to Leddy who had moved in from his point position, but Varlamov had enough time to move across and cover to make the save. Sharp picked up the rebound at the side of the net, but with his back to the net, took it to the corner to try and reset, rather than attempt to stuff it in.

The Toews line followed-up by maintaining some offensive zone time, but failed to create a dangerous chance. The following shift, the hawks did manage to get a good opportunity when Seabrook jumped into the rush and actually drove to the net as Bolland gained the zone and delayed, dropping the puck for Frolik, who fired a screened shot that hit Varlamov on the blocker.

Hurray for Hossa, the other Slovak - Chicago 4, Colorado 3

The next shift, Kane won the draw outside the Av line back to Leddy who dumped it in to the far corner. Sharp managed to beat O'Brien to the loose puck and passed it back to the point, where Keith fired a low one-timer that Hossa, moving into the slot area, managed to get a stick on and deflect it high past Varlamov and the hawks had come all the way back to take a 4-3 lead with just over 5 minutes left in the 3rd. It seemed fitting that the current high-profile Slovak on the hawks put them in front on a night when his countryman was honored with the unveiling of a statue, but the game, unfortunately for the hawks was not yet over.

Bolland's line followed up Hossa's goal with a strong shift, and the hawks seemed in control. The Avs however, continued to press forward when they got an opportunity and one came on a hawk line change when Duchene took a pass at center in his skates and kicked it up to his stick without slowing down and with his speed cut around O'Donnell as he drove toward the net, but shot it wide.

The hawks had a couple of opportunities as the Avs opened up, with Keith stepping into a point shot that Varlamov stopped and later Bolland had a partial break when Hejda overskated the puck but instead of shooting, he turned and tried a blind backhand pass in front that failed to connect with Bickell.

Boo Brunette - blown coverage leads to tying goal, Colorado 4, Chicago 4

With under two to play, the Avs moved the puck up ice, with Winnick trying to cut to the middle, however Keith jumped up and challenged him, getting a stick on the puck but unable to control it and the puck headed to O'Reilly at the hawk line. Leddy had moved back deeper to cover for Keith, while Brunette, who was the hawk forward back, peeled off his left side, when the puck escaped Keith, leaving the left wing wide open. Landeskog saw the space vacated by Brunette and jumped into it as the puck came to O'Reilly, who quickly moved it over the blueline with his stick and then fed Landeskog with a perfect lead pass and he beat Crawford high on the blocker side and the game was suddenly tied, 4-4.

On replay, it was clear that Brunette failed to make the proper read - he should have recognized when Keith moved across to take Winnick, that he needed to stay on the left side to cover as the only forward back and with both defensemen now on the right side. Perhaps he thought Stalberg with his speed would be able to cover Landeskog, tho it was clear Brunette didn't look over his shoulder to even see Landeskog moving past Stalberg who was caught flatfooted, watching the play instead of reading and reacting to it. In fact Stalberg simply glided at center, away from Landeskog even after Brunette had turned leaving the left side completely open for the highly touted Avs rookie.

Keith can't be faulted for challenging Winnick, as he saw the veteran Brunette in position to provide support, and Leddy properly moved back into a defensive position when he saw Keith move over from his left side to challenge. The goal was primarily on Brunette with Stalberg also responsible to a lesser extent.

The hawks tried to respond on the next shift, with Bickell picking off O'Brien's pass at center and moving it past O'Brien and ahead to Bolland who moving down the left wing now had a 2 on 1 with Frolik on his right. Bolland moved to the top of the crease, but his backhand centering pass failed to get through as the puck rolled wide. In the dying seconds, Toews moved down the left boards and his stick was slashed by Hejduk - it didn't separate right away, but when Toews tried to stickhandle with it and put pressure on it moments later, his shaft gave way and the referee signaled a delayed penalty.  Toews went down to his knees after his stick broke and gloved the puck around to the right half boards where Seabrook touched it, however the play was not whistled down as it should have been and the hawks got one final chance in regulation as Hossa picked up the puck from Seabrook along the boards and fed Hjalmarsson at the point who fired a screened shot which Varlamov made a good glove save on to send it to overtime.

The hawks outshot the Avs 13-6 in the 3rd and 34-23 in regulation, but that did not reflect the run of play.

OT - Opportunity squandered

In the overtime, Quenneville put his top four forwards on the ice together with no defensemen to start the powerplay. Sharp had a couple of chances, one from the point after passing back and forth with Hossa who seemed not to want to even look for a shot, the other on nice setup by Kane who moved into the slot and faked a slap shot before passing to Sharp who had moved into the left circle for a one-timer that Varlamov also stopped. Late in the powerplay, Seabrook moved into the slot from the left point and passed it to Brunette parked alone right in front of the net, but lost control when his attempt to draw it left from his backhand to his forehand and that was it for the hawk powerplay.

The Avs got a good chance when Hossa, after making a good play to strip the puck from Johnson after a faceoff loss in the Av zone, gave it away to Duchene who headed up ice on a 2 on 1. Duchene's attempted centering pass to the trailer Hejda was broken up, but Hejda recovered the loose puck and then round O'Reilly alone in the slot and he forced Crawford to make a good blocker save. From the ensuing faceoff, Frolik made a good play to tie up the Av point man while Bolland picked up the loose puck at the blueline and skated up ice with Seabrook joining the rush to make it a 2 on 1, however, Bolland's pass attempt was broken up and the puck went harmlessly into the corner.

The Avs got one last good chance of their own when Hejduk took a pass at center from Wilson and made an inside out move on Keith to gain an angle, tho Keith stayed with him, causing him to go around the net where he tried to stuff a wraparound that somehow missed and went through the crease.

The hawks outshot the Avs 4-1 in the overtime, but failed to convert their powerplay chance and were headed for a shootout.

Shootout Colorado 1, Chicago 0

Viktor Stalberg, who had gone 3 for 3 in a practice shootout drill earlier in the week was chosen to go first for the hawks, but his backhand went high and wide.

Hejduk then tried to go five hole, but was stopped by Crawford.

Toews, 19 for 38 on his career, tried to shoot, but Varlamov made a good blocker save.

Duchene moved in and tried a high leg kick, then cut to his left and had Crawford down but he couldn't lift it over him and Crawford stopped the low shot.

Kane attempted to deke backhand to forehand, but couldn't get it under Varlamov's right leg pad which took away the bottom part of the net.

Lindstrom the 3rd Av shooter moved into the slot, faked a shot, then moved hard to his right with a deke which Crawford bit on hard, leaving the net exposed and when Lindstrom moved back to his left, he had an open cage slam dunk to give the Avs the win.

Game Summary

Overall, while the hawks came back from a 3-1 deficit to put themselves in a position to win in regulation, it was sloppy defensive play that plagued them, not just on the tying goal, but throughout the game. For whatever reason, they failed to create any momentum from their Thursday win or from the atmosphere surrounding the unveiling of Hull & Mikita's statues before the game and instead at times seemed not to have their heads in the game for most of the first two periods.

Jonathan Toews again led the team back, with a dazzling end to end rush that he just failed to finish, but followed that up shortly afterwards with a powerplay goal late in the 2nd that got the hawks within one.

The hawks had some good fortune on their other goals - with Frolik being gifted a wide open point blank chance on a startled Varlamov, a Mayers rebound that bounced in off a Colorado skate, and a Hossa deflection of a point shot. They also had some bounces go against them, when Jones attempted pass bounced off Seabrook's stick & in behind Crawford. But mostly, it was shoddy defensive zone clearing and coverage that cost the hawks this game.

As much as the Thursday win reminded one of the 2010 Hawks, blowing another 3rd period lead late and losing in a SO reminds one of how the hawks played at home much of last season. This one hurt a bit more than the one to Boston in that they could have had gained two full points in the standings on their western rival Avs, but instead lost 1.

Some positives to take from the game - Toews again was the one to lead his team back with a dazzling end to end rush, with some great moves that while not ultimately getting a goal, marked a turning point in the game. He also rebounded on faceoffs winning 12 of 20.

Leddy seems to be gaining confidence and his end to end rush showed some top end speed that led directly to the tying goal. He still needs more experience with defensive zone reads, but could not be at all faulted on the tying goal.

Frolik finally got on the board - hopefully that takes some pressure off and gives him more confidence.

Kane continues to be dangerous everytime with the puck - the move to center so far hasn't stifled his offensive creativity and appears to have made him more responsible defensively, tho the fact he hasn't gotten a point in the last couple of games is a bit concerning.

The fourth line with Carcillo on it looked good - they created some good chances and contributed a goal with their hard driving, straight ahead style.

The not so positives - Stalberg moved up to Toews line, replacing Sharp, however, he did little offensively and worse was watching the tying goal instead of reading and reacting to try to prevent it. His failed to force Varlamov to make a save on his shootout attempt.

Sharp moved to Kane and Hossa's line - they did combine for a goal, tho with three top offensive players, I expect more.

Defensive zone coverage - aside from Brunette's misread on the tying goal, the poor defensive play isn't just one or two defensmen or forwards - the whole team is struggling. Colorado deserves some credit for having good skating forwards that can match (or exceed) the hawks stride for stride, but the hawks also made some unforced errors that need to be corrected.

They also need to be more willing to take the man all over the ice rather than simply play the puck - that is one part of being more difficult to play against. The hawks are a fast, skilled team but as Boston showed in the playoffs, having size and being physical with speed and skill is the ultimate combination and it looks as though the hawks still lack the necessary physicality.

Next up for the hawks are the Ducks on Tuesday at the UC.

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