The First period.
Well, the Hawks didn’t exactly come out flying. They pressed us a bit. But that’s only because we are in Road Mode. They had the better chances. And they had the early PP. But only one real chance. Toews comes from behind the net and strangely, Roberto goes down early and stacks ‘em. Toews can’t lift it and the puck bounces back to the corner.
Otherwise it was a period where the Hawks seem to try and dump but they didn’t follow with a furious forecheck…kind of a must if your are going to dump and chase. The problem for the Hawks, the dump and chase is not their game. So we did a break out without much pressure.
Our own PP was anemic. It wasn’t because we didn’t have Salo. It was because we didn’t get control in the Hawks zone. Credit the Hawks here. They broke up every potential play….every attempt to establish dominance.
But outside of that, it was a saw-off. The Hawks outshot us, but except for the Toews chance on the PP, it was all from the perimeter. We played our game…a rope-a-dope on ice. But let’s be clear, this style of hockey demands sixty minutes from our side. We’ve done it for twenty.
The second period was just a shade different as the Hawks finally realize what kind of game they are faced with. It’s like a light bulb went on and the Hawks realize that we are clogging up the neutral zone and the Hawks start chasing the dump in…with purpose.
We are all about hard work and relying on our captain. He robs Brouwer and then Sharp. And then half way through the period, it turns into the kind of shift that Jim Hughson often says (I’m watching on the Versus Network so I don’t get the Hughson perspective) “well this will end in a either a goal or a penalty.”
The Hawks establish control and they buzz us…seriously. And the shift does end in a goal. But not for Chicago. Ryan Johnson (again) blocks a shot and Rick Rypien heads up the ice on the rebound. He’s at the end of the shift but just as he’s about to run out of gas, he pulls the old Savardian (Serge? Dennis?) spinorama and dishes to Darcy Hordichuk.
Darcy does nothing fancy. No big deke, no dipsy-doodle. He just shoots it into the corner of the net and we are up one nothing.
But it’s an upside down game.
Mason Raymond is hitting everything in sight and the best chance later on again goes to Hordichuk. The Sedins are neutralized as is Kesler/Sundin, but that’s only because they are not pressing too hard. They make a foray and then back off. The Hawks haven’t solved it yet. The end of the period is exciting only because Shane O’Brien gets the reputation call and the Hawks buzz us again. But we keep the chances to the outside and Roberto stands tall.
We’ve worked hard for forty minutes.
And then worked hard for sixty minutes. But after seventeen minutes and change of frustrating the Hawks we turned the puck over in our own end as Willie could not clear.
Havlat makes a brief appearance and we are tied up.
In the final 2:44 both teams have chances. The Sedins press but a poor shot attempt by Willie gives the Hawks one last chance…and then Alex Edler makes a magnificent effort on the back check and doesn’t even allow Bolland a shot.
Well, there was a brief window of opportunity, but we didn’t score and then…they did.
See you back in Vancouver.