God dammit. There isn’t much more to say than that. The Hawks outplayed the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight for two and a half periods, then coughed up 2 goals in the last 10 and lost the second point in a shootout. That sucks, but it happens. Maybe at the end of the season we’ll look back to the 2nd game of the season and want this 2nd point, but for now it’s time to move on.
Let’s get to it.
Brendan Saad – The Saadfather was pretty much the best Blackhawk on the ice tonight. He did manage to score one goal, on a complete fluke, but Saad had several other excellent chances and I liked what I saw of him on the power play with Marian Hossa as well.
Ben Bishop – Bishop pretty much stole this game for the Lightning. Tampa was outclassed all night by the Hawks, and Bishop was the the only reason the Hawks had a reasonable lead going into the 3rd period. One goal and a power play later and the game was tied, with Big Ben snatching the 2nd point in the shootout.
Team Defense – The Hawks held Tampa to only 16 shots (zero in the first period). Unfortunately, the team couldn’t convert on the offense that Tampa gifted them and a couple got by Corey Crawford
Special Teams – the 1/5 on the power play is deceptive. The Hawks scored one fluke goal on the PP when a Nick Leddy dump-in lured Bishop out of the net but bounced right to Brendan Saad who tapped it in to the empty net. The power play did show better entry and movement than last year, but still, cashing in on just one more of those chances wins the game. On the flip side, Chicago took one penalty and gave up one power play goal. Bad.
Tampa – with the exception of their goaltender, Tampa was completely outclassed tonight. If this isn’t going to be the norm for Bishop, the Bolts are in big trouble.
Sharp-Handzus-Hossa – The Hawks 2nd line wasn’t really bad, but I do want to point out that I don’t like this line combination at all. Handzus simply cannot keep up offensively with his linemates. Hopefully Q throws the lines into a blender soon and breaks this one up.
2 goals on 16 shots? That’s going to leave an ugly stat line for Corey Crawford, who deserved better. A few more games like that and the meatballs will be baying at the door.
Hawks are off until Wednesday, when they take on the juggernaut that is the St. Louis Blues. Slak will be there with bells on. Seriously, that’s what they’re wearing in Norway this year, bells on everything.