For the second game in a row the Blackhawks can’t hold on to a 2-1 lead, allowing the Blues to come back to win 4-3 and take a commanding 3-1 series lead back home to St. Louis.
I don’t even know where to start with this one. The Hawks are gassed. The jump they had in their step in Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis is completely gone. The Blues got in their heads, and are dictating play. After winning Game 2 in gritty fashion you would THINK that coming home the Hawks would be lights out, especially late in the games. Well the opposite has turned out to be true. Granted the Blues have been a great road team all year long. There’s a lot to digest here as the Hawks face elimination, so let’s get into it…
-Andrew Shaw had three points on the night but one giant, colossal dumb penalty that probably cost the Hawks a chance to force overtime. Shaw cross-checked Bouwmeester in front of the net after the whistle for absolutely no reason. Down a goal late, that crap can’t happen. I love Shaw, and I believe in what he brings to this team. But stuff like that makes defending him much harder. He’s a free agent this summer, and it would be a shame if that was his last moment as a Hawk.
-The Blackhawks’ lack of depth, especially defensively, is really being exposed now. It was a concern all season long, and it’s come to fruition in the playoffs. TVR looks lost, Rozsival is a turnover machine, and pairing them together is asking for trouble. TVR’s turnover on the Blues’ fourth goal is inexcusable. Steen made a great play, but that can’t happen.
-The Hawks doubled up the Blues in shots again, this time 42-20. Only mustering three past Brian Elliott, who looks like freaking Ken Dryden right now. We’re still waiting to hear from the Hawks top scorers. Kane can’t buy a goal, the Blues are doing a good job closing down Panarin, and Toews has been generally invisible.
-St. Louis scored four goals on only 20 shots. That’s less than ideal but I certainly don’t blame Crawford entirely. Another awful pair of penalties by Ladd and Keith led to two Blues PP goal to give them the lead, and swing the momentum. The Hawks have been undisciplined late in two straight games and it’s cost them dearly.
-The Blackhawks need to find an answer for Vladimir Tarasenko. If there even is one.
-The Crawford fight with Fabbri is such a non-story. Things got heated, a fight ensued, the Hawks caught a break with the penalty calls and they took advantage like a championship team does. The Blues got two power plays right after it that they scored on, but please, tell me more about a “Chicago conspiracy”… If the Hawks lose this thing I can’t wait to watch the online haters come out of the woodwork.
-Philip Danault for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Wiese… In retrospect it could be looked on as one of the worst trades in franchise history. Two guys who have not had any impact in a Hawks sweater, for a young piece that would be affordable going forward. That trade was made for a run for the Cup THIS year. A first round exit after that is unacceptable.
-The Blackhawks look exhausted. Three straight years of deep playoff runs will do that to a team. That’s a lot of hockey… Sometimes it just isn’t in the cards.
Well here we are… The Blackhawks have been pushed to the brink of elimination by a Blues team that has shown itself to be really talented, and more than anything resilient. Maybe this year is different for St. Louis? Maybe the Hawks just aren’t up to their normal level this year? It’s probably a combination of both. I’ll never count out these Hawks, even down 3-1. We’ve seen what they can do, even in the most dire situations. I’m sure the attitude in the Blues’ room is to close this out as quickly as possible. We’ll see if Toews, Kane and the Hawks can survive Thursday and force the series back to Chicago…