How the Hawks lost Game 7
By now, we’re all slowly coming to terms with the end of the Blackhawks season. It has not been an easy loss to swallow.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 2, 2014
While a lot of things were going well for the Hawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, there were some key struggles across the ice that kept coming back to haunt them.
- Defense: The Hawks had a 2-0 lead to start the game. The Hawks held the lead three times in Game 7 alone. Each time the Kings scored, the Hawks offense came back. You can’t count on your offense to continually score four or more goals. You also can’t put everything in your goalie’s hands. The defense needs to be there to make the stop. They fell short several times throughout Game 7. First goal the Kings had should have been stopped by the defense and never even made it to Corey Crawford. Credit the Kings for a strong offense, but they were also there to capitalize on any small mistake by the Hawks defense.
- Offense: Chance after chance after chance. The Hawks again spent a lot of time near the Kings net. They had 41 shots on goal which was nine more then the Kings, and only scored on four of those attempts. It’s not to say that the offense hasn’t scored well in this series, but watching the games there were many more opportunities that the Hawks didn’t capitalize on.
- Goaltending: It’s clear that Crawford could have performed better in this series. He performed better in last years Stanley Cup final. There were obviously mistakes across the ice, but there were a few key misses from Crawford in Game 7. On the four shots on goal in the second period, Crawford allowed one goal. There were only three shots on goal in overtime, and Crawford allowed one goal. He came up short when the Kings had less opportunities and shots on goals. Those were big misses.
Crawford said battling through traffic was a strength of his during the season, but he didn’t play well enough in that area vs. the Kings.
— ESPN Chicago (@ESPNChiHawks) June 3, 2014
Overall, it was still a hard-fought game and series on both sides of the puck.
“Well, we were pretty close to getting to the big dance,” Coach Joel Quenneville said. “You look at how close we were, how competitive it was. It’s a tough league. It’s a tough thing to do, to win the Cup. I couldn’t be prouder of our guys the way we competed in some tough situations, down 3-1. One shot away from going to try to do it again.
To quote Cubs fans, there’s always next year.