LOUSY FINNISH: Panthers 4, Blackhawks 3 (SHO)
The 2009-10 season began for the Chicago Blackhawks as the 2008-09 season ended, with a strong effort for most of the game, only to reach a disappointing end.
The Hawks dominated the play for most of regulation and overtime, only to lose 4-3 to the Florida Panthers in a shootout in Helsinki, Finland.
Let's get right to it...
Patrick Kane. His first goal was a thing of beauty, roofing a backhander. His crossbar shot later on got converted by Dustin Byfuglien, and he got robbed a couple times, which leads us to...
The offensive pressure. They put 55 pucks on goal, and only came away with 3 goals. That's insane. Tomas Vokoun absolutely stood on his bald head in this game, robbing the Hawks several times.
The blueline's lapses. Niklas Hjalmarsson gave Steven Reinprecht way too much room on Michael Frolik's goal in the second period. Frolik was able to set a prefect screen on Ville Kostinen's goal in the third, and Brent Seabrook's buttass-ugly clearing attempt gave David Booth a free shot on Cristobal Huet.
This didn't take long...the Hawks got their very first too-many-men penalty this season. If this team really wants to believe they're an upper-echelon team, they need to behave like it, and play with discipline. The Hawks were dictating the flow of the game up until this dumbass penalty, and they then had to go on the kill. Great.
Huet in shootouts. He's god-awful. Always has been. When you've got a goalie who has an obvious weakness (in Huet's case, it's the top shelf), leaving him alone against a shooter coming alone from center ice will never end well.
Of course, there's 81 games left in the regular season, and this game was lost on mental lapses, which will (hopefully) sort themselves out before too long, and Tomas Vokoun having the game of his life.
These two teams strap it on tomorrow in Helsinki, this time the Panthers are the home team, and the Hawks wear the whites. See you in the Shoutbox.