By Michael Calvert
Andrew Sharp practiced in full on Tuesday but did not suit up for last night’s game. I’m afraid, had he done so, it would have made very little difference.
1st period: The story of the first period was penalties. There were 6 of them in total in just the first period, 4 of which went against the Kings. Game one featured 4 power plays in total. I don’t know if the refs are trying to calm things down as they didn’t look all that out of control to begin with, but they were calling it tight in game 2.
The first penalty was against Willie Mitchell for holding on Patrick Kane. With 38 seconds left in that first penalty, Matt Greene hooks Saad and the Hawks have a 5-3. The Hawks managed to keep possession of the puck for pretty much the entirety of the remaining pp time but were unable to capitalize.
Five minutes later the Hawks jumped in on the penalty box parade when Handzus holds Alec Martinez. The Hawks kill off the penalty swiftly and looked pretty good doing it. Within a minute, LA was back in the box and this time there was a price to be paid. The Kings got a 3-2 and off the missed shot the Hawks quickly transitioned with a long pass to Leddy who buried a beauty of a tough angle backhander top shelf against Quick.
Suddenly now the refs decide to call interference when a player puts the puck past a dman against the boards and the dman slows them down. It’s supposed to be a tighter called penalty this year but the infraction happens often and punishment rare. Again, the Hawks are able to kill off the penalty with pretty few hiccups.
Just to add to the hilarity of the penalty parade, Drew Doughty holds Saad and the Hawks are fittingly on the power play for the remainder of the first period. You’ll notice 3 holdings, an interference and a hooking call – a lot of tick tack calls. Aside from Willie Mitchell using Regin’s head to save a goal, all of the penalties were of the non-violent kind.
2nd period: While still on the Doughty power play Ben Smith gets a partial breakaway off another very nice stretch pass. Smith quickly puts the puck low stick side with a wrister. It is pretty clear we are again seeing Quick’s C-game, much like last year. 2-0 Hawks.
As soon as the thought of not seeing Quick’s A game, we get a brief glimpse of it when Versteeg and Seabrook come in on a 2-1, Steeg puts a perfect saucer pass on Seabs tape and Quick is able to make a miraculous save on what should have been an easy re-direct.
Then the game got all St Louis series and playoff super hero Justin Williams puts in an ugly sort of lucky goal through Crawford’s wickets with under 2 minutes left in the period.
Not a single penalty called in the Second period. That would change.
3rd period: You all know the stats, the Hawks are something like 9500 and 0 when up after 2 periods. Make that something like 47,243 and 0 when at home.
The penalty shenanigans quickly got back underway when Bollig took two minutes for I think being a knuckle dragger. Twenty three seconds later and Jeff Carter scores his first annoying goal of the game, 2-2 we’ve got a ball game here and are trending in the wrong direction.
What do you do when the tide has totally turned on you in a Conference Championship game? How about too many men on the ice and follow it up by letting up your second straight pp goal about a minute later, by well-known sniper Jake Muzzin, somehow his 4th of the playoffs.
It’s now all bad, the Hawks penalty kill has quickly gone from nails to toilet and the once steady looking 2-0 lead is now a 3-2 deficit.
The fun continues when Tyler Taffoli scores his 5th of the playoffs, with a softie wrister at the 9:00 mark. You can essentially y put a fork in it, but not before party boy Jeff Carter get’s to pot goals two and three in the shittiest hat trick in playoff history; documented fact.
Game over, that blew, just nothing else to say about it. I still like the Hawks in this series and do believe they have the Kings number, but this one was mind numbing…6 straight LA goals.
I still think Leddy looks every bit a budding star, his goal would make a sniper proud.
Taffoli looks good, the Kings are on to something there.
Aside from his miraculous save on Seabs, this is a game I’m sure Crow and Quick want back, Crow for sure, he crumbled right in line with the rest of the team.
Still a championship team, I’d expect more anger and embarrassment than actual regression from this game, but time will tell.
Game 3 in LaLa land Saturday; Let’s go Hawks!