You live by the shootout, you die by it. Or you just take them to mean nothing because they don’t. While some will use this as an excuse to say everything’s fucked, it really isn’t. The Hawks, even as off their game as they were tonight, mauled the Flames at even-strength (which doesn’t say much for Glen Gulutzan Glen Ross). Once again, the penalty kill cost the Hawks a point this time, as it did in Nashville, and in Columbus, and would have against the Leafs if they didn’t get the two minute drill right.
So the penalty kill. It’s a bit in their heads now, obviously. The first goal resulted from all four killer ending up on or below their own goal line, forgetting their assignments and trying to do too much. This left Dougie Hamilton all along at the bottom of the circle. This causes everyone to scramble, meaning Keith lost track of the two Flames below him, one of which was Bennett who easily put home a rebound that was already behind Crawford.
The second one is basically Johnny Gaudreau pulling off something ridiculous, but Seabrook having his most Porkins game of the season was pretty lax in just circling around in the corner (though anticipating a cycle I suppose) and then staring at Monahan as he had another easy rebound to put home.
While a lot of the Hawks’ problems on the kill have been bad luck, there have been too many goals where a d-man is just staring at a guy putting home from a foot and a half, neither clearing the puck or getting a stick. That’s easily solved though. It won’t be this bad forever.
All right, let’s clean it up.
The Two Obs
-The Hawks could have had another point tonight but for the second game in a row they biffed an overtime power play. Tonight it was a bit infuriating. You’re running it through Kane on the right, which you should, but if you’re going to do that than Seabrook, the only righty on the blue line, should be at the point. This would give Kane two options for one-timers and make three penalty killers try and cover two options, opening up space in the middle for Toews. The Flames cut off the pass to Panarin, knowing they’d have time to get to Keith who would have to turn to receive a pass. Toews was blanketed. You could get a shot through and still win, but why make it harder?
-I had been worried about Schmaltz’s learning curve at the center position, but his line with Hossa and Hartman simply crushed whoever was in front of them tonight. Schmaltz had a 75% CF%. Hossa 81%. There’s always one moment he provides when you think there could be more. Tonight it was drawing three Flames to him at the line, zipping a pass over to Motte who simply never saw it coming. Hopefully there will be more moments like this to come soon.
-This was the worry for Forsling. You can’t duck contact forever, and he’s just not that big. Hopefully not too serious, but it won’t be the last time he’s going to have to survive a big hit from someone twice his size.
His absence robbed the Hawks of another player with vision and hands, lowered by Kempny’s scratch as well. So the only two d-men with feet were Campbell and Keith, and they mostly played together. You can see why the chances were a touch limited.
-While the Hawks had most of the attempts, it’s still the SuperPAK line that’s creating most of the good chances. They didn’t get much from Toews’s line, and though improved you can’t say Hossa and Schmaltz were turned away a lot. This is going to get addressed sooner or later.
-Crow’s even-strength save-percentage over a full season would be Vezina worthy. The kill’s performance already has probably put paid to that.