Yell at Gatekeeper
If you told most Blackhawks fans that the team would be competing for the Presidents trophy just a mere 60 days ago you'd get laughed into obscurity, but the Blackhawks sat on March 23rd, just two points behind the league leading Washington Capitals at 100. Even more surprising would be the fact that they came into Thursday night's action tied with the COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS. Fancy that! Honestly the Presidents trophy is over rated and just a big silver piece of added playoff pressure. I'd just assume the Blackhawks slide through the rest of their schedule unscathed by any more injuries and take it easy. Also, Patrick Kane came into action five points behind Connor McClavicle in search of back to back Art Ross trophies.
After another come from behind effort against a far inferior team two nights prior the Blackhawks faced, yes, another inferior team, the Dallas Stars, Thursday night. It would be perfectly reasonable for one to be worried that they might play down to the Stars level, which they totally did. We were all also treated to Ryan Hartman's debut at Artem Anisimov's usual second line pivot, which shaped up to be an adventure. Whatever, give it a shot.
Adding to the late season festivities this game was the next in the Blackhawks #OneMoreShift campaigns. This time Eddie Belfour was back with the organization. One of the absolute legends of my childhood/young adulthood and a huge influence on my early goaltending. It was super surreal to see him back out on the ice with the Blackhawks crest on and, honestly, he looked like he could have still played.
The game itself started off a little, alright ALOT, sloppy. Both teams had multiple penalties each but only the Blackhawks took advantage of the powerplay time. That said, the Stars out shot the Blackhawks pretty considerably 13-7 and had the majority of quality chances, including a breakaway from the corpse of Patrick Sharp. This was already a better start than the Vancouver game earlier in the week, defensively.
In the second period, the play was slightly less sloppy which led to less quality chances overall. Dallas was able to tie the game on one of their 14 shots on Corey Crawford, and the Blackhawks were held well under ten shots for the second period in a row. If the Blackhawks were going to do anything other than squeak by, they were going to need to put a lot more pressure on the Stars. They preferred the "squeak by" method.
The Blackhawks actually came out and took the lead early in the third period, but then gave up that lead with five minutes remaining on more sloppy play. They also were held under 10 shots once again, with the Stars getting 11. With goals scored each way, this game was headed to #Fatrick's favorite hockey spectacle, 3vs3 O-VER-TIME.
The overtime was dominated early by the Blackhawks thanks to some powerplay time but the Stars came on hard late. Corey Crawford held his net and took the game to a shootout where the Blackhawks went down 0-1 but came back to score two straight goals and gain the extra standings point.
- About eight minutes into the first period, Patrick Kane led a rush from his own end after a failed quality Stars shorthanded chance. Kane used #DickFuckingPanik as a decoy and took the shot himself, beating Kari Lehtonen 5-hole. This would be a theme repeated later.
- At the eleven minute mark of the third period, the Blackhawks third line gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. New third line wing Nick Schmaltz fed Marian Hossa, who sent a shot through a screen and hard driving Marcus Kruger to beat Lehtonen.
- Corey Crawford was pretty great in this game, making 42 saves. After his pretty poor effort earlier in the week, he was a huge reason the Blackhawks didn't roll over and give the Stars a useless win.
- I usually hate the staged fighting but Ryan Hartman and Dan Hamhuis got into an actual "heat of the game" tussle and Hartman put a thorough beatdown on Hamhuis.
- With about seven and a half minutes remaining in the second period, the Blackhawks got a little jumpy trying to get out of their own zone and the Stars' Ales Hemsky eventually beat Corey Crawford high to the stick side.
- Hemsky tied the game once again, later, this time it was with 5 minutes remaining in regulation. Corey Crawford was able to make the initial save on the play after the Blackhawks lost a defensive zone faceoff, but the puck squirted out to Crawford's right, and Hemsky was left with a gaping net.
- Patrick Kane almost ended the game on the powerplay in overtime, but hit the post and Lehtonen's back.
- For the first game SINCE his first game, John Hayden wasn't noticeable at all. Listed with 3 shots and 4 hits, but I honestly cant remember seeing a single one of either.
- Keith and Hjalmarsson were out for both goals against, so we can't blame it on player quality.
- With all the powerplays and extra time, the Blackhawks only had 26 shots on net. That's terrible.
- in the middle of the first Stars powerplay Crawford slid awkwardly to his left and had difficulty getting back to his feet. I thought he might have tweaked a groin but, of course, they completely glossed over it. Crawford didn't talk to the media after the game and there was some hint at maybe a minor injury.
- Later in the period Jonathan Toews took a shot in the leg on the powerplay and the broadcast team completely ignored him gingerly coming off the ice as well as the time to took as nice shot in the back on overtime and came off slowly. Not anything the viewers at home might need to know, guys.
- The only Blackhawks with positive overall Corsi were Toews, Panarin, Kane, and Panik.
- The Blackhawks only win 46% of their faceoffs and lost a huge one that turned into the game tying goal, late in the third.
- Brent Seabrook ate shit in this game, with a team low -14 overall Corsi
- Jonathan Toews stickhandled himself out of space
- Tyler Seguin beat Crawford high stick side.
- Patrick Kane beat Lehtonen badly 5-hole.
- Jamie Benn couldn'r beat Crawford.
- Artemi Panarin beat Lehtonen with a top cheddar backhand
- Ales Hemsky was beaten by Crawford.
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
John Hayden - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Hartman - Patrick Kane
Nick Schmaltz - Marcus Kruger - Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen - Tanner Kero - Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya - Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell - Trevor van Riemsdyk