The Blackhawks took their talents fathers to South Beach last night, which was enough to warrant wariness among Hawks faithful if we were to judge from the team's one-year track record at Dad Trips so far. And if we were playing a team other than Florida, it might have been the case as well.
It started well enough, at least on the stat that matters. Brunette had a hard-working, grinding pass to Toews early in the first that the captain was pretty much drove the captain into the net with the goal in tow, and though the Panthers outshot the Hawks 15-7 in the first (then again, we were playing in Florida, notorious for padding their own shots and thus, also Vokoun's statistics) it was the Hawks who came out of it with the lead.
The second period saw more effort from the Hawks, with Marian Hossa showing off what he can do with a play-making center (LOL Kaner) when he finished a crisp cross-ice pass from Lil Peek-a-Boo. HOWEVER, the Panthers seemingly were not out of it just yet, cutting the Hawks' lead to a slim half when Versteeg set Weiss up for a goal of their own.
And then the Panthers came on fast and furious in the final frame, outshooting the Hawks 14-5 and eventually having one tip past Crawford. The Hawks couldn't mount much of a counterattack then, so to overtime the game went. Neither team made much of anything, and in the shootout only Patrick Kane found the back of the net. Game over, half of the trip done. Tonight the Hawks face Tampa Bay and on Sunday the Canucks come to the Madhouse.
Hit the jump for more game notes.
- I groaned when Jovanovski tied it up in the third, saying it was typical of the Hawks to give up a tying goal when they were leading in the third period. My roommate said that wasn't really the case, but I disagreed. Then Pat Foley mentioned the Hawks have outshot their opponents 15-6 in the third period before last night's game so I figured she was right. I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that giving up the goal was deja vu, however, so I went back through the 12 games so far this season. Of 4 games where the Hawks held a 1-goal lead going into the third period, they gave up the tying goal twice, losing once in the shootout to the Bruins and winning in the shootout against the Panthers, so they have a 75% win rate so far. But there were also two games (Colorado and Nashville) wherein they got the lead after going into the third period trailing, and in both games they gave up a tying goal to go into overtime. They've lost one and won the other. I'll take a point for games they were trailing, so I can't complain about them losing leads in the third, I guess, but that probably explains why my ~eye test~ thought the Hawks were likely to give up leads in the third.
- For a game where we missed Duncan Keith, I'll definitely take this result. But the team really has to pull it together. We've also benefitted from a somewhat easier schedule than probably the other teams in the league, and that's not going to be the case throughout the year. It's great to see us getting points where we can have them, but it would be nice to see more, especially as the schedule toughens up--and it will.
- I applaud Florida's gumption and Dale's enthusiastic and expensive rebuild--they seem to be doing fairly well for themselves with all their new guys and trade pieces, after all--but if you're going to send Kopecky first to the shootout then you probably deserve to lose that extra point. Not saying, just saying.
- Not that I'm pointing out a pattern here, but the Hawks deciding to shoot last seems somehow correlated to winning. It was the case for most of two years ago (or is that just because the Hawks were just winning in general?) and the Hawks did shoot first during our two shootout losses we had this year. But this is about as much time that I will spend talking about the shootout, damn it.
- So Patrick Kane is really good at hockey.
- Patrick Sharp, meanwhile-- can we say snakebit? Man's holding his stick too tight or whatever that expression is. I've noticed in previous games he seems more content to pass when he should be shooting, but last night he shot and missed and showed how pissed he was. Can't blame him; that's got to be frustrating. His shooting percentage is extremely low compared to his career average and that's bound to correct itself. It should be fun watching that happen.
- This is the first time I've looked at league standings since the season began. 8-2-2 isn't so bad, is it? I would have gawked at Edmonton taking the conference lead but hey, the Leafs are league leaders. Those are surprising numbers for both teams, but it's still early in the year. I mean, Jesus Christ, Detroit and Vancouver wouldn't make the playoffs if the season ended today--I hate them about as much as the next person, but that's not likely to happen, is it? It'll be interesting to see standings regress to the mean.