Tonight was all set up to be a write-off for the Hawks: even perennial “Glass-Half-Full” types like myself were prepared to accept a Keith-Less Chicago getting beat by the Kings and their formidable Home record. We were saying things like “Holding Serve at Home will win this series”.. which is making Tennis analogies in Hockey and clearly all wrong. But I think it’s safe to say that we were planning on resuming hostilities at the UC with the series tied.

Not the case, as it happened.

The Hawks played out of their skins from Puck Drop. There were few battles uncontested and the men in white were everywhere, hassling and harrying. There was also the confidence to keep the passing short and smart. Mainly, the game got played at a pace that the LAK Defense simply cannot live with.  Kane’s goal is a prime example of this. Yeah, sure he just tapped a Bickell redirect of a long shot from Hjammer over the line..  but he had also (along with Toews) been part of a sequence of play leading up to it that had left the Kings reeling. That sort of White-Hot Offense from Chicago will beat anyone. The goal felt inevitable.

Make no mistake, this was an excellent performance from the Hawks, missing one of their biggest pieces. We are headed back to Chicago with a chance to do as the Hawks did unto the Wild.. which is to say Win in 5.

The sun is up here in London, it’s pissing it down with rain and I’m foregoing sleep entirely tonight, as I have to go to work in two hours. Therefore, let’s get the bullets going.. but before we do, the 3 Stars tonight (according to NHL.com) were, apparently, Hossa, Kane and Penner. Which is all kinds of horseshit.

  • Nik Hjalmarsson is right at the top of the list.. aside from his two points (on his 26th Birthday) he was also a Defensive stud (although his -4 Corsi suggests otherwise). he was a physical presence, consistently played the smart pass and made some great desperation plays to keep the Kings out. 1st Star
  • Marian Hossa repeatedly reminded us of why he’s Hoss and We Ain’t tonight. He covered every inch of the ice, laid out some big hits, got heavily involved in his own end and wrapped the evening up with a blistering Slapper to score the winner. 2nd Star
  • I’m going to go with Johnny O’Duya for 3rd Star.  He was a +9 in Fenwick and had one of the smartest , most composed games I’ve ever seen him play. there was no panic, no shrinking from the onrush.. just clear-headed, committed, intelligent play. Lucky on his assist, but, hell, he deserved a point.
  • Kane is just outside the top 3 for me (and Penner is so far outside he’s fumbling for his keys in the Parking Lot gutter). We saw the swagger back in Kane’s game tonight.  Maybe the mouth-breathing pieces of shit who showed up with cut-outs of his mom’s face egged him on. Or, more likely, getting him away from Handzus helped.
  • I’m not going to sit here and bust on Sheldon Brookbank. He looked slow, hesitant and out of his depth tonight. He also hasn’t played since late April and this was one hell of a game to throw him into. And the second goal was all on Crow.
  • Crow had another solid game with some moments of excellence and one moment of badness that cost a goal. He HAS to cover that puck. I’ve noticed that Crow has, lately, been playing pucks away that most goalies would cover; it’s understandable in light of the Hawks ineptitude at the dot.
  • On the subject of inept: Clown Shoes. Not getting a shot away on a 5-on-3 is inexcusable. Simple as that.
  • Kill is still nails, though.  Michael Frolik would be my 5th Star. He had a great, great game.
  • Guess I forgot to mention Bryan Bickell.. could’ve had a Hattie.. is going to be very, very rich soon. Just as long as he (finally) gets his name on that big shiny thing this year, so be it.
  • The Kings looked out of ideas. I think, as Fels has mentioned, they’ve given it their best shot.. and realised it’s not enough. Don’t want to get too cocky or hubristic.. but if I was a gambling man I’d be backing the Hawks on Saturday.

Time to get this one done. Let’s Go Hawks