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Hawks should have closed it out

Published: Saturday, April 19, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Jeff Roberson)
The Blues' Alexander Steen (20) scores the game-winning goal in the third overtime past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) during their first-round playoff game Thursday night in St. Louis. The Blackhawks led 3-2 after one period, but did not score again.

You know what was the most aggravating thing about the Blackhawks?

A lack of killer instinct, that’s what.

They didn’t need to go to two overtimes in the playoff opener against the Blues, because Jonathan Toews got hurt in each one. This, mind you, coming in the captain’s first game back from injury.

And they most certainly didn’t need the third overtime, because they gave up the goal that won it for the Blues.

But still, the most aggravating part was that the Hawks could’ve won this game four periods earlier.

Should’ve won this game four periods earlier.

The Hawks held a 3-2 lead, and had enough opportunities to make it, I don’t know, 6-2 and see ya later.

Before the period was half over, the Hawks created at least four great chances in about 4 minutes, any one of which likely would’ve chased Ryan Miller from the Blues net.

But no.

Patrick Sharp, Nick Leddy and Patrick Kane all failed to bury the puck ... and bury Miller. That’s what those guys are there for: to bury pucks and goalies.

The Hawks created a couple other scrambles in front, but they got nothing against a goalie who got a sarcastic cheer in his home building on his first save of the second period after allowing three goals on seven shots in the first 20 minutes.

The Hawks blew a chance to run Miller not only from the game, but also maybe the series. That’s how fragile the Blues goalie seemed to be after losing his last five games in the regular season, to go along with a save percentage of .865.

Then the Hawks turned so bad that they couldn’t even get off shots, with the likes of Sharp and Duncan Keith failing to catch passes and control the puck.

The Hawks lost all aggressiveness and puck possession in the third period, conceding two-thirds of the ice and, of course, the Blues banged in the tying goal late.

And if all that wasn’t aggravating enough, the Hawks blew power plays in each of the first two overtimes.

The Hawks are faster and more talented than the Blues. They have to be more dangerous with the puck. They have to be sharper moving it and deadlier shooting it.

They failed badly in Game 1. Miller found his game in the second period. The Hawks let him.

Champs should have a killer instinct long before overtime.

 

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