A great song does not need a good ending to remain a great song. Movies can fall apart at the end and still be considered substantial -- look at The Departed. That thing was a train wreck for the last 20 minutes and yet Scorcese still won an Oscar and it's one of my favorites. I quote Mark Wahlberg's character every day.
Sadly, sports do not work this way. The Hawks were great for the first 45 minutes last night. They survived an early onslaught that one gets from a team at home playing against one of its biggest rivals. They then swallowed the Preds whole in the neutral zone, surrendering a meager 12 shots through two periods. They'd converted some of their chances, including scoring against Nashville with a power play -- which recently has been up there with cracking nuclear launch codes. Sure, they could have had more goals and sealed it, but with the way Pekka Rinne is playing you'd have to expect he would make some big stops.
Up 2-0 in the 3rd, that's supposed to be a win, I don't care if you're facing Muhammed I'm Hard Bruce Lee.
But the Hawks had other plans, and right foot was not on the accelerator. The Preds don't need to be asked twice, and stormed through the door. Suddenly the Hawks couldn't get out of their own way. The assured passing we'd seen to get out of their defensive zone early became rushed clearances that were held in and turnovers. The disciplined getting the puck deep in the Preds zone was replaced by cutesy, over elaborate moves in the neutral zone and at the blue line, resulting in play just going the other way. From a pretty good band, the Hawks turned into a group of soloists. It would be upsetting if it wasn't so predictable, as they've been doing it all year.
Dave Bolland had another strong game, and Fernando Pisani may have had his best. Any connection to the fact that they've been playing together now for over a month?
-Jonathan Toews had one shot. That's simply not good enough, and must be rectified tonight.
-Enough with Patrick Sharp in the shootout. He's simply not very good at it. He's batting somewhere around the 30% mark, and I'm sure there are plenty of others who can match that.
-If Kopecky skated as hard as he did in the first two periods all the time, I would have no complaints. But he won't, and I do.
-:Nick Leddy and Jordan Hendry were, as I expected, doomed by the Preds forecheck. We'll learn more about Leddy tonight to see how he adjusts and bounces back.
And that's what tonight is. There's no secret here, but can the Hawks come back angry and extend that effort for another 15 minutes? Or are they either going to be feeling sorry for themselves and eying the five days off after this during the game? I'm out of the prediction business with this crew.