C'mon, kids, let's count all the ways the Hawks choked

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Where should we start with the Blackhawks’ choke?

The lousy power plays? The pathetic faceoffs? The stupid penalties? The bad penalty killing?

OK, let’s start with all of it, and that's still not even all of it.

The Hawks had four power-plays in the first period. They scored on one. They could’ve sent the Kings home before the first intermission.

Most aggravating, one of their blown opportunities was a 5-on-3. Coach Joel Quenneville likes to say the team that wins the 5-on-3s usually wins the game. Sadly, he was a prophet in Game 2.

Then there were the faceoffs. The Hawks got killed at the dot, losing 17 of 24 in the first period, 32 of 49 after 40 minutes, and finished by losing 61 percent of the draws. Good luck playing a puck-possession game when the other team starts with the puck two-thirds of the time.

Or how about the stupid penalties to start the third period? Brandon Bollig took a brainless minor when he was two zones from his own net. Really, dude? In the third period of a one-goal game? Yeesh.

The Kings scored to make Bollig perform the skate of shame, and just :73 seconds later, Peter Regin jumped off the bench and touched the puck to create a too-many-men call. The Kings scored on that one, too, and suddenly led 3-2.

But wait. It gets dumber. The Hawks stopped playing to give up another goal and then didn’t get back to prevent another.

On the first play, Corey Crawford made a save that bounced up towards the netting. But it didn’t hit the netting, and there was no whistle. The Hawks quit on the play. The Kings didn’t. Like that, the Kings scored their fourth straight goal and third of the third period in just 7:20. Just to clarify: not a good thing.

On the second play, the Hawks were strafed on a 2-on-1, and it was 5-2. Running clock, please.

Sure, the Kings scored a lucky goal with less than two minutes to go in the second period of a game the Hawks led 2-0. But the Hawks lost their poise and the brains in the third period. That had nothing to do with a lucky goal. That was all on the Hawks.

A Hawks team that was undefeated at home blew a potential two-games-to-none lead by giving up six straight goals, four in 10 minutes of play over the two most important periods.

I don’t believe this series is over, but I can’t say I know what I believe after the Hawks punked us Wednesday night.

The Hawks were faster and quicker than the Kings for most of the first two periods. This looked like it might be the consistent 60-minute performance we’d been waiting on.

And then, gotcha.

The Hawks still haven’t played a dominant playoff game from start to finish since, I don’t know, the St. Louis series? Maybe not even then.

The Hawks have freely talked about how they haven’t played their best hockey. They will say it again, I’m sure, after playing their worst.

When did the Hawks all of a sudden become the Blues? Or the Canucks? Or the Cubs?

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