It’s Expected I’m Gone: Kings @ Hawks Preview
The last time the Kings came to West Madison Street the Hawks were seething after a pantsing in Toronto and made them pay the price. That 3-1 beating was somewhat deceptive, though: the Kings were at the end of a four game road trip and looked tired & disinterested. They have plenty of reason to be motivated tonight, though: they’re coming off two straight losses to the Stars and Preds, are 3rd in the Pacific and must be casting nervous glances at Vancouver steaming up behind them. Jon Quick is nearly ready to return but it’ll likely be the excellent Ben Scrivens in net tonight.
We know the LA recipe well by now: monstrous forecheck, continuous physical pressure and a couple of guys who can kill you stone dead in a heartbeat. Oh, and Gorilla Salad. The Hawks D will need to avoid getting smashed against the endboards and the forwards are going to have to stay disciplined and come back to help. Fleeing the zone early ain’t going to cut it against this crew.
As for the Hawks, they’re coming off a tough loss on Saturday in St Louis, a game that they didn’t do all that much wrong in. The two blown two-goal leads are what they are and shouldn’t be a source of concern. What is slightly more worrying is Q’s apparent lack of faith in various members of his bottom-six. Bryan Bickell, Brandon Bollig and Andrew Shaw were all under 10 minutes at Even Strength. Bollig was effectively benched for the 3rd period, taking three shifts. While I’m a fan of seeing less of Bollig, doing this in the second night of a back-to-back against a fiercely physical opponent seems.. well.. kind of dumb. If Q can’t trust the personnel that he’s got to close out games, then we have a problem.
Anyway, Michal Roszival is in for Brookbank, other than that it’s as you were. Corey Crawford practiced for the first time this morning and is tipped to possibly return against the Isles on Thursday. Raanta will have the net tonight. The trick will, as ever, be to exploit the Tectonic-Heeled members of the Kings defense like Regehr. Thus far the Hawks have three out of four points available from this much-hyped trio of games. Two more tonight would be a nice way to round out a wonderful, wonderful year.
I’ll be back later on with the recap.
Let’s Go Hawks!
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