You ever have one of those days where it seems like Murphy’s Law is just out to get you? It does not matter if you do everything right, it still goes bad. Or when things seemed content to stay the way they are, Murphy rears his ugly head again. The Chicago Blackhawks just had one of those nights.
It was a very ugly night for the Hawks last night at the Wachovia Center, as it just seemed like they were just one step behind, or one bounce away from making things interesting. You have to give credit to the Philadelphia Flyers, who came out with an energy and determination that the Blackhawks have not seen in quite some time.
The only issue here, is the Blackhawks did not match that effort and determination. They did not look like a team that was fighting to break a 49 year Stanley Cup drought, in fact they looked like a team that thought they could go out there and skate on pure skill and not have to hustle or fight. It took the Blackhawks 50 minutes to realize that they had toshow up, and in that final 10 minutes they played like the #2 seed in the Western Conference. If one good thing came out of last night’s loss it would be that the Chicago Blackhawks stole a little bit of momentum away from Philadelphia. Chicago could have been content with going back home with a 2-2 series and home ice advantage, but they didn’t. They dropped the cute game, and worked for every opportunity. They put shots on goal and when they did good things happened. If you paid attention when Versus panned the crowed and the Flyer’s team in this span, you did not see a city or team beaming with confidence, you saw a city and team that looked as they had just stirred the hornets nest.
It was not only the effort that was lacking for Chicago, but also the discipline. How many times did we see the Hawks have a good rhythm going only to see it washed away by a dumb or questionable call? If the Hawks have any chance at winning the cup, they must keep their composure and not let Philly get in their heads. Its frustrating to see a team dominate for a span of 3-4 minutes only to have that dominance shattered by a referees whistle, and I’m sure the boy’s in the locker room feel the same way.
In last night’s game was saw the return of Andrew Ladd, and the re-emergence of Nick Boynton. Both player’s gave Chicago a boost in the physicality department, and with Ladd it brought some needed Cup experience. With Andrew Ladd we knew what we had coming, but Nick Boynton was a pleasant surprise. While he may not be an offensive threat, his physicality and willingness to stand up for his teammates was a welcome site.
BHOD’S Good, Bad and Ugly:
The Good: The Penalty Kill. After vanishing in the first 3 games, the Blackhawks PK unit made an excellent return for Game 4. After allowing a Mike Richards PP goal early in the first, the team went on to kill off 3 straight and 4 out of 5 for the night.
The Bad: The tentativeness for the Blackhawks. Rushing pucks out of the zone, shaky passes, and constantly looking over their shoulders have the Hawks playing some of their worst hockey to date. The team need’s to settle down, and regain some of that confidence we saw in the earlier rounds.
The Ugly: Dustin Byfuglien. It’s hard to imagine that the hero from the Western Semi’s and Final’s would find his way here, but it has been a terrible series for Big Buff. He has been a non-factor in front of the net, and his lackadaisical skating to the puck is very frustrating to watch. The best thing for Buff now would be to put him on the second or third line and let him find his game.