Yell at Gatekeeper
The Blackhawks were on Ottawa, Thursday night, to continue their western Canada swing against the Senators following a big win versus the Canadiens in Montreal. The win, though, did not come without a price. The Blackhawks learned that they would be without center Artem Anisimov for three to four weeks with an ankle injury after falling awkwardly at the end of the first period Tuesday night. Luckily they are deep down the middle and had Nick Schmaltz to step in and contribute a nice assist to Artemi Panarin almost immediately. Another fresh face made his NHL debut against the Sens with John Hayden stepping in to show Blackhawks fans what his big frame could bring. While we should all keep our expectations low, having a young talented big body able to help out is never a bad situation to be in. For the Sens, they would be throwing Mike Condon to the wolves, with former Blackhawk and Park Ridge native Craig Anderson still tending to his ailing wife. Mike Condon was facing his friend Scott Darling on the other end, as both teach at the GGSU Legends camp here in Chicago during the summer. Another former Blackhawks player, Viktor Stalberg (ol stone hands himself), would be making his first appearance in a Sens uniform against the Hawks. Lucky them.
It looked like neither team was ready for "one of of those great 6:30 starts", because there were several icing and off-sides infractions in the opening 10 minutes that made it drag. Things picked up a little in the remaining half of the period, with the Blackhawks getting a slight edge in scoring chances even though the official shot counts were tied at 13. Joel Quenneville seemed like he was still getting his lines dialed in as well, sheltering Hayden a few times resulting in him only getting 2:07 over 5 shifts.
The middle period was certainly an extension of the sloppy play later in the first period. The sens even tried to hand the lead to the Blackhawks, but their goaltender had other ideas. That didn't stop the Blackhawks from throwing some sloppy play in of their own with some late careless penalties. When all was said and done the game was still scoreless after a full forty minutes. The Blackhawks led in shots on net 9-8 and held a one shot advantage for the game.
Nothing changed in the third period either, as far action went. Many mistakes both ways led to some decent chances and the Blackhawks finally drew first blood. The goal was on only their third shot of the period, but the damage was done. Unfortunately for the good guys the Senators tied the game just a couple of minutes later on the powerplay. Not to be outdone, the Blackhawks scored on a back-to-back powerplay with three minutes remaining, and thet was the little bit they needed to to get out of the Canadian Tire Center with two much needed points, to increase their lead on the Wild, after the Wild lost in regulation.
- It took just over 48 minutes for the first goal to be scored and that goal was by the Blackhawks. Duncan Keith unleashed a one timer that Mike Condon couldn't control and the Sens defender tried to push it back into his goaltender. That effort, however, basically put the puck into his own net. That is exactly the type of goal you should expect from a game this sloppy.
- I am hard on the powerplay, but it was pretty good all night. They got some quality chances and controlled the puck well. #DickFuckingPanik put the Blackhawks up 2-1 on the Hawks final powerplay of the night with 3:01 left in regulation.
- Marian Hossa played his 1300th NHL game right where it all started, in the Canadian capital.
- As much as it pains me to admit, Jordin Tootoo hasn't been a totally useless mammal. He has shown some decent hands and made a few skilled plays. That said, he played the least of all the Hawks forwards.
- Nick Schmaltz continued to impress with a beautiful first period rush that saw him split three defenders and end up one-on-one with the Sens goaltender Condon.
- With his 3rd period assist, Patrick Kane held on to his single point league lead in scoring.
- Speaking of league leaders, Scott Darling increased his save percentage lead by saving 33 of 34
- John Hayden had a bit of the "yips" in his first NHL shift. He was running all over the ice trying to hit people a la Dan Carcillo. Dial it back a little, kid. Alot of games ahead of you.
- Just a couple of minutes after the Blackhawks took the lead, a tired Blackhawks group ended up taking a penalty, and the Sens were able to solve Scott Darling, finally. If Richard Panik was able to get the puck out of the zone on the previous play, Brent Seabrook may not have taken that penalty. Small things matter in slopfest games.
- It's not often that I'm calling for post whistle activities, but in the seconds period Scott Darling took some contact after making a save and no one did a thing. If you want your goalie to bail you out, protect him. Especially a goalie that is still probably nursing an injury.
- The Blackhawks were just stomped up and down the rink at the faceoff dots. The final tally was 36% of their faceoffs won.
- All the players you'd guess that would lead in Corsi for led the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin actually led the team by double digits.
- There were only a couple of Sens players that were negative Corsi, with the Sens leading in shots overall 34-28
- The Blackhawks officially had TWENTY TWO giveaways.
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Hayden - Toews - Panik
Panarin - Schmaltz - Kane
Hartman - Kero - Hossa
Desjardins - Kruger - Tootoo
Keith - Hjalmarsson
Oduya - Seabrook
Campbell - van Riemsdyk