by Vince Maranto on 04/24/12 at 03:35 PM ET
Over the last 3 seasons my son & I have a United Center game attendance record of 9 - 1. The one loss was to the Phoenix Coyotes a couple seasons ago. The Yotes, with yesterday’s victory, came in this season & post season and won 5 games straight at the U. C. That’s all you need to know. If you can’t beat a team on your home ice, you ain’t going anywhere.
Andrew Shaw returned from his suspension, and with the rest of his teammates, were part of every different line combination that you can think of. From the drop of the puck, the Hawks came out and controlled things. For the first 7 minutes, the puck was barley out of the Phoenix zone. Pucks were ringing off the post, just missing wide, and MOSTLY being gobbled up by opposing goal tender Mike Smith. However, that changed when the Hawks went on the Power Play, and then most of the action was spent trying to organize at neutral ice. The Hawks ended up 1 for 19 for the series on the P.P.—P.P. should stand for Pathetic Performance. I cannot fault the effort during the first period, they did every thing right but put the puck in the net. And that, my friends, is how you win a game. They out shot the visitors 16 -2 that period, but the score was 0 - 0.
The second period saw more great saves by Smith, and you really got the feeling that nothing was going to get by the kid tonight. The Hawks didn’t help matters by shooting the puck into an out stretched pad or right into his chest with open shots. During one of the Hawks Penalty Kills, something you don’t see very often occurred. The puck landed on top of the net and stayed there, in back of Crawford. Phoenix then scored to go up 1 - 0 and never looked back. There was one point when the puck was in the Yotes zone forever. The exhausted Phoenix players could not change. With possession of the puck, the Hawks threw an errant pass from the goal line to deep in their zone, to bail the visitors out. That’s when I knew it wasn’t meant to be. Former college basketball coach Al McGuire use to say that every game has a moment were it is won or lost. This was it.
There were some more close chances for the Hawks in the third period. However, a 5 minute boarding and game misconduct penalty by Jimmy Hayes with 11 minutes left was not what you wanted. The Hawks did a great job, until the Coyotes scored with 43 seconds left. 2 - 0. It was pretty much over for sure when they scored the next goal. Phoenix then added 1 more to make the final 4 - 0. Kane got a game misconduct with 2 1/2 minutes left. That should symbolize his frustrating season, right there.
Over all, Smith was the difference in this series. Hats off to the kid.
The Hawks have now been eliminated in the first round, 2 seasons in a row after winning the Cup. Where’s that Dynasty they promised us? There better be some moves this summer. More on that later…..
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