This was a winnable game. The Hawks came back after their loss on Saturday and played like a team who knew how important the game was. They just didn’t get any bounces tonight.
Many people wondered how the Hawks would respond after game two didn’t exactly go their way. Well the response was evident as they completely dominated the first period. They also got two chances on the power play with the first looking like it could actually score and the second…well the second looked like the Rangers power play. (With all the talk about it, I figure everyone would get that reference but for those who don’t know, the Rangers have the worst power play of the eight teams left in the playoffs and it’s not even close.)
Unfortunately it didn’t matter what they did as Jimmy Howard was on his game stopping all 15 shots they threw at him in the first twenty minutes. I would say those saves were more puck luck than talent but they gave him confidence which is the last thing the Hawks wanted.
The second looked like it was going to be a continuation of the first as the Hawks once again dominated the first six minutes with another power kill thrown in there. Then disaster struck as Gustav Nyquist went on the rush with the puck and honestly made Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy look like mites as he danced around them and buried it behind a sprawling Corey Crawford.
To make matters worse, just thirty one seconds later Drew Miller found a bouncing puck around the net and was able to tap it in to double the Wings lead. I honestly think Johnny Oduya put it in his own net but they gave the goal to Miller. I knew at that point that goal would be a killer and I was right.
Coach Q called his timeout just to try and calm his troops down. It worked slightly as they did get a little control after that but then the Wings started pushing again. Fortunately Crawford was up to the task and able to keep the damage at two through the end of the second.
Things didn’t look good to start the third as the Hawks iced the puck three times in the first two minutes but slowly they gained momentum. Then I tweeted this about four minutes into the period. Less than a minute in real time later, Patrick Kane buried his second of the series to bring the Hawks within one. I don’t get how or why it works but it always does.
On the play right before, Johan Franzen was pushed into the boards and fell awkwardly. He remained down as the play moved up the ice allowing Kane to score. I’ll admit it could’ve been a two-minute penalty but the referee chose not to call it and the Hawks were able to capitalize. As for the whistle not blowing, the rule says if the opposition as a scoring chance, play should continue unless the penalty is extremely serious (i.e. a lot of blood or knocked unconscious). Since neither of those occurred, play continued much to the dislike of Wings fans.
Unfortunately the Wings got another one two minutes after Kane’s goal and the Hawks weren’t able to get anything else past Howard as the Wings took game three by a 3-1 score. (The Hawks did get one a minute after Kane’s goal but it was waived off immediately due to incidental goalie interference. It could’ve gone either way so I won’t argue that one.)
I’m not sure where the Hawks go from here as this was absolutely a winnable game and one they really needed to win. Obviously the series is far from over but the Hawks are just making this more difficult on themselves than needed. They are the better team, now they just need to show their division rivals that. Two days off and then these teams go back at it again. Please win game four Hawks. Please.