Yeah, we get it: BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON EVER.
Look, I understand the label considering the standings right now, but at the same time, how many times in the last few games have we considered the outcome to be "THE MOST IMPORTANT TWO POINTS EVER!!!"? Wasn't it just last February 18 when we considered the Blue Jackets game to be THE MOST IMPORTANT TWO POINTS EVER!!! considering Columbus and Chicago were neck-and-neck in 13th or something? And wasn't it at that game, which the Hawks lost, that we decided to give up on the season as well?
Tell me how that turned out again?
So forgive me if, in spite of everyone telling me to freak out about tonight, to worry about the fact that Dave Bolland is not around to keep the Ducks' explosive first line in check, I refused to peg all my hopes and dreams on what would happen tonight. Oh I was concerned about the outcome of the game, to be sure; I just wasn't sure that a win or a loss would irrevocably impact the season. (Otherwise, season would have ended tonight, right?) Yes, chances of making it to one seed or another or out of the playoff picture go up or down, but I think that's just part of the ebb and flow of the season.
Through two periods of hockey, only Hossa was able to dent twine. It felt like a playoff game for most of the time around that as well, with teams trading chances and both goalies leaving them no room to capitalize, and even with the power play chances no one was able to do anything.
Early in the 3rd period the Ducks' top line managed to even up the score on a 3-on-2 breakaway; hardly surprising given the Ducks' propensity to tie up the score. Cory Perry, dark horse Hart Trophy candidate as he is, would score once more with 4:30 left in the period.
The Hawks attempted to get something done afterward, with the top line of Toews, Kane and Stalberg generating a few chances that didn't amount to much with Emery there to answer every attempt. Crawford was pulled with less than a minute left and Quenneville called for a timeout with 25 seconds left, but the Hawks got nothing done and away went two points in the West.
The Hawks face Detroit and Boston back to back on the road next. A scary proposition for sure, but there are still 8 games left.
- Did you know we haven't had a Saturday night home game in a while? No? They you must have smartened up and MUTED FOLEY AND EDZO BEFORE THEY COULD REPEAT IT AD NAUSEUM.
- The Irish jig guy is starting to get really annoying. I know people who know him personally have tried warning everyone else that the guy is a douche in real life, and to be honest, I don't care about that. As long as everyone else is having fun during the game when he does his number, then that's all I care about. And you know, I also understand wanting to cash in on your 15 minutes of fame, but seriously? TWO commercials for Binny's? That's going a little too far.
- How about that Ray Emery, huh? I didn't even expect him back in the league this year, let alone performing at the rate he has been. Mad respect. Also, Jesus Christ but Corey Perry is clutch.
- Where the Ducks' top liners aren't afraid to crash the net, the Hawks' seem perfectly content to make, or at least attempt, pretty passes to try to get some highlight reel goal in. I think we all know we'd take the non-highlight reel goal over no goal at all.
- Jonathan Toews is still the team's captain. We'll be alright.