by Vince Maranto on 10/08/11 at 12:00 PM ET
Missed opportunities. The title says it all, as the Hawks fall in the season opener at Dallas, against the Stars. Dallas, with their new head coach, Glen Gulutzan, and minus ex star Brad Richards (UFA who went to the Rangers) beat the Hawks 2 - 1.
In the first 2 periods, the Hawks did everything right except put the puck in the back of the net - an obvious key to victory. 4 straight unsuccessful power plays, fanned shots, and a couple of open net scenarios early, seemed to set the tone.The fourth power play was interrupted by a Hawks penalty. Dallas scored their first goal early during the four on four. Corey Crawford was outstanding during the first period, stopping everything he faced. Stars goalie Lehtonen, however, was great throughout the contest.
he Hawks dressed 7 defense men for the game. This was due (I guess) to the fact that Dave Bolland and Ben Smith were out with injuries. Dan Carcillo also missed action. He is serving a 2 game suspension leftover from post season play last year. Brandon Saad (18 years old) became the third youngest Hawk, behind Grant Mulvey and Eddie Olczyk to start a game. League wise, he is the first 2nd round pick to play opening night since 2009 (Ryan O’Reilly - Colorado).
The Hawks lone goal was scored by Nick Leddy with 13 seconds left in the game. Crawford was pulled with 2:37 left in the third. Duncan Keith stopped a couple of empty net tries to keep the hopes alive before that.
Coach Q started with these first 3 lines during the start of the contest. Line 1 consisted of Toews at center with Saad and Sharp at the wings. The second line was Kane in the middle, winged by Brunnette and Hossa. The third line featured young Brandon Pirri flanked by Bickel and Frolik. Frolik missed a wide open net during the game..The fourth line was different almost every shift form the beginning. As always with his opening line ups those didn’t last very long. Kane, Toews and Sharp found themselves together a lot during the third period. Defensively, for the most part, Hjalmarsson was paired with Seabrook, Keith with Leddy, and O’Donnel with Lepisto. Although they all seemed to play well together, with a lot of nice passes and good shots on net, they came up empty until the end.
As a side note, the Hawks now have their numbers on the top, front of their helmets. This was mandated by the league this year.
The Hawks will try it again against the Stars tonight at the United Center, completing the second half of the home and home. The puck hits the ice at 7:30 (Central) and will be carried live, locally, by CSN-Chicago and WGN Radio 720.
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