Now, it’s dire, and there’s dwindling belief the Hawks can do anything to change what seems inevitable.
Maybe you can find some hope in a second straight overtime loss at home. I’m grasping.
The Coyotes tried to bore everyone into a victory in Game 4 on Thursday night. They didn’t care what it looked like, just as long as they got a win that carried them back home for Saturday’s Game 5 with a chance to clinch.
It didn’t look as if it would work early, what with the Hawks’ dominating the first half of the opening period. But after they came up empty, the Coyotes forced boring on everybody. They gave the Hawks almost no open ice. There was no place to move. No place to make a play. The big Coyotes bodies kept the Hawks away from goalie Mike Smith.
The Coyotes were hoping their textbook road strategy would frustrate the Hawks and lead to a mistake. All the Coyotes wanted was one mistake on which they could capitalize.
But no. Didn’t happen. Not for two periods, anyway, a situation that cuts both ways. Credit the Hawks for not cracking. Criticize them for wasting two periods.
The Hawks appeared to be playing without obvious desperation much of the night. The Coyotes had a lot to do with that. They forced the Hawks to settle for playing the game that was there --- one requiring discipline, one without vigilante justice for Raffi Torres’ dirty, flying hit that knocked out Marian Hossa in Game 3.
And then, watch out. The Coyotes scored twice in 44 seconds for what appeared to be an insurmountable third-period lead.
The Hawks were getting a game from Dave Bolland’s line but nothing much from the likes of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Nothing, period, from a power play that has sputtered to 1-for-14 in the series.
And then, well, you’d better sit down for this. The Hawks cut the deficit in half midway through the period on a goal by Brendan Morrison, if you can believe that, then tied it with 86 seconds remaining on a goal by Michael Frolik, if you can believe THAT.
The Hawks then proceeded to blow a perfectly good storyline two minutes into overtime.
Defenseman Nick Leddy reached for the puck. Goalie Corey Crawford didn’t reach for the puck. Mikkel Boedker put the puck in the net.
Who is this Boedker guy and why does he continue killing the Hawks in overtime?
Bigger question: Why do the Hawks wait until it’s dire to do anything? If you have any ideas, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is listening. His guys don’t seem to skate, dominate with the puck and crash the net until it’s desperate. It’s crazy. It’s killing them.
Used to be, the Hawks imposed their game on opponents. They dictated style and pace. Now they’re being told to stand in the corner.
If the Hawks refuse to be happy unless things seem the worst, then welcome to nirvana, boys.