bicks

So, here we are.  For the first time since the 2nd Round against Detroit last year, the Hawks are staring down the barrel of an elimination game on Wednesday. Things are prety grim right now and if folk are feeling les-than-chipper about the Hawks prospects, well, can’t say I blame them.

However, harking back to that Detroit Game 5 last year: well, we all remember how that turned out, right? A parade and a drunken goalie haranguing the crowd.  Of course, repeating the trick against this LA team will be no mean feat, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  Let’s talk about how that might happen.

Joel Quenneville reacted to the two prior losses by dropping Brandon Bollig, reinstating Peter Regin and changing the layout of his top lines. Kane back with Toews, the tried & true panacea.  And at the start, it looked like it was working. The Kings were being hemmed back in their own zone, the Hawks had a fluidity that suggested that the dam was about to break. Instead they gave up three goals in rapid suggestion and that, really, was that.  The Hawks PK has picked a fine time to slip in its standards (and it’s still very good) because the Kings PP is a beast and they are getting that most important element of a successful unit, a bit of luck.  Two man-advantages, two goals.  The rest of the game was an uphill battle and really, once you’re down three to a defensively solid, responsible team like the Kings that is on fire and knows it, you’re going to struggle to come back from that.

This is exacerbated when you’re carrying passengers like Versteeg and Handzus, of course, but I’m not going to flog those dead & dying horses just yet. there’ll be time enough for that if this all goes tits up.

Corey Crawford continues to wobble, a little, but he’s not been as bad as his numbers suggest: he’s just not been superhuman enough to keep out the screened shots and unfortunate bounces that have come his way.

However, there are some rays of light: the Hawks are doing fine at 5v5. The Corsi figures from last night show the Hawks with a clear edge, however, we must take Score effects (a team chasing  a big deficit shoots more as they throw everything forward in desperation) into consideration, there.

Luck has been a huge element here, as it is, sometimes in this crazy old sport. The Kings are getting every bounce of the puck, right now and that, coupled with the fact that they’re a really, really good hockey team, turns them into a monster. But luck can change, and so can the Kings. they’ve been streaky as heck this year, great for a run, then putrid for a while (see San Jose series) . The Hawks are still in control of their fate, here. No point in worrying about “Winning three straight” or “Game 7 AAARGH” right now. Win one at a time. Rinse, repeat. I believe it can still be done. So should you.