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Talk'n Hawks

Florida Road Trip, Part 1

It was part one of the “Father and Son” road trip to Florida Thursday night. The Hawks have scheduled Dad/Mom road trips the last couple of years, chartering a private jet for all.

The Florida Panthers have former Hawks Skille, Versteeg, Kopecky and Campbell (plus Dale Tallon). Versteeg and Campbell, by the way, are tied for the team lead in points. The Hawks, so far this season have been basically injury free, played without Duncan Keith. Keith suffered an upper body injury (hand) last game. Other than Keith, the only other injury problems have been Ben Smith (preseason concussion) playing right now in Rockford and Hossa. Hoss had his first of his usual injuries which plague him every season.

Corey Crawford faced the 21 year old rookie, Jacob Markstrom (2-2) in net. As for the Hawks line ups, Stalberg remained on the first lime while the returning Carcillo (2 game suspension) dropped down to the fourth line. Defense wise, all the match ups were affected and shuffled through out the game.

In the first period, Toews scored less than 5 minutes in. The Hawks Captain and NHL leading face off winner (63%) was set up by Brunette. Unlike the last game, “after review the play stands, good goal”. Mayers, once again, showed his quickness to drop the gloves. This time however he didn’t like the hit on himself - two five minute penalties each for fighting. 12 minutes into the period, the Hawks showed why they have a league, 3rd best, Penalty Kill by holding off Florida.. The last 2 minutes of the period (remember this for later) saw both teams coming up with near misses. Florida out shot the Hawks 15-7.

The near misses continued in the second period with Toews hitting the cross bar 20 seconds in. Kane’s great pass to Hossa led to a 2-0 Hawks lead, once again around 5 minutes into the period. Weiss cut the lead in half for the Panthers with around 2 minutes to go in the period. The Hawks won the shot battle for this period, 15-12.

In the third period, after a slash on Crawford, the Hawks once again showed why they have a pathetic 8.9% Power Play, by coming up empty A 4 on 4 ensued later with coincidental penalties going to Versteeg and Frolik, but no one scored. With 11 minutes left, I wrote on my notes that we’ll be lucky to get out of this with an overtime point. With 2 minutes left (getting sick of that phrase?) the Panthers tied it on a tough redirect.

In overtime it was both goalies time to shine. The 6 foot 6 inch Markstrom with a great save, and Crawford.with back to back stops, including his career high 41st save.

Shoot out time. Kopecky-no. Toews-no. Goc-no. Bolland-no. Fleischmann-no. Kane- Hawks win!!!!

They will play part 2 in Tampa Bay on Friday.

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