By Connor McKnight–
Nick Boynton certainly didn’t mean to fire the puck over the boards while in his defensive zone with just 2:13 left in the third period–it just happened. The mistake cost Boynton 2:00 in the penalty box but cost the Hawks the win as Predators’ winger Joel Ward found himself staring at an empty net as the puck slid to him. Ward buried it and sent the Hawks to a 1-2-1 record.
It’s the second time in as many games a late penalty has put the Hawks in a bad situation. Boynton said after the game, “stuff happens.” (He said stuff on the second time around, incidentally. The first take was less kid-friendly.) Boynton’s right, but the Hawks have to stop having that “stuff” happen in the final minutes of games.
Corey Crawford looked comfortable in net Wednesday night and, at times, even superb. His reads and reactions to a number of odd-man rushes throughout the game were better than he’s shown in prior starts. Nick Leddy continues to make progress, showing heady play and nifty moves along the boards but needs work the closer he gets to his own net. That’s exactly where he was when Ward scored the game-winner Wednesday night. Leddy was drawn across the net trying to stifle the puck but JP Dumont was able to slip it past the rookie for a nice assist.
Boynton, the quote-king of the night, said it best after the game. “We gotta to bury teams. We just … didn’t capitalize on our chances and … when you let it go down to the final two minutes anything can happen.”
The Hawks have to stop this “stuff” from happening.