Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blackhawks vs. Maple Leafs
5-4 Shootout Win Recap

"So I Made A Big Mistake"

by Patrick Stankus

With all the eyes of Chicago focused on the north side of the city, the eyes of Canada were focused on The UC as the Blackhawks hosted the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The Hawks returned home from Columbus, looking to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on Friday night. With the Hawks in the middle of a 3 games in 4 nights stretch, Scott Darling got the nod in net. For any of you looking to start the "goalie controversy talk, I'll show you the door.

Unlike the start on Friday night, the Blackhawks came out with a bit of jump to their step. They were able to cash in on that start just under four minute mark. Artemi Panarin undressed Nazem Kadri and fed the puck to Anisimov, who one-timed it past Andersen to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. As the period went on, the Hawks lost a good bit of that jump, and ended the period with just five shots on net. With the Hawks laboring down the stretch, the Leafs capitalized on their chances, and scored one of those dreaded goals in the last minute of the period to tie the game at one after 20 minutes.

As the second period got underway, the Blackhawks were looking for some sort of spark to get energy back into The UC. They got that break just under five minutes in with a power play opportunity. With the Hawks unable to capitalize on their power play, the momentum started to shift back in favor of the Leafs. The Leafs were able to cash in on their lone power play chance of the period to pull ahead 2-1. As time wound down, both teams would added another goal each, and after 40 minutes, the Leafs would lead the Hawks 3-2.

Once the puck dropped to start the third period, it was clear the Hawks were looking for anyway to generate chances. With the puck in the offensive zone, Niklas Hjalmarsson went to pinch in, but was caught in between and the Leafs went the other way. The Hawks defense left William Nylander wide open and he put the Leafs up by a 4-2 margin. While most people started to write this game in the loss column, the Hawks dug deep to try and mount a comeback. That comeback proved to be fast and furious. The Hawks scored two goals in a minute, in the final three minutes of the game to tie it and send us to overtime.

In overtime the Leafs tried every which way possible to hand the game to the Hawks by taking two penalties in the five minute period. Despite peppering shots towards the net, the Hawks couldn't manage to get one past Andersen and the game went to a shootout. In the shootout, Toews and Panarin scored for the Hawks, while Auston Matthews scored for the Leafs, and the Hawks skated away with a 5-4 shootout win.

The Good
  • How sick was that play by Panarin on Anisimov's goal? Seriously go pick up your jock Kadri. Not only was the move good, but the pass to Anisimov might have just as good, if not better.
  • #DickFuckingPanik tied the game with a net front presence goal late in the third period. I think I speak for most of us when I say this; THANKS TORONTO.
  • The #AK72Line had themselves a night. Anisimov had two goals, while Panarin had two assists and Kane had a helper. Remember when they had their slow start? Is their honeymoon over yet, or did it never end?
  • Tyler Motte scored for the second consecutive game. If there's one guy young on the team that I've been most impressed by, its Motte. He's got a good hockey sense.
  • It was nice to see the Hawks battle back all the way to the end and grind out a win, in a game they probably didn't deserve to win. I don't care if Toronto lacks the experience to close out games, you still have to battle for 60 minutes and the Hawks did that to get the game to overtime.

The Bad
  • The Hawks got their balls chopped off at the dot in the first period. Granted they got better as the game went, but the first period was definitely noticeable. 
  • Roman Polak absolutely lit up Dennis Rasmussen with a hit at center ice. Polak received an interference call on the play, which of course the Hawks couldn't score on.
  • Hjalmarsson's defense on Nylander's second goal was, uh, not good. He got caught flat footed and then seemed to glide back on defense.
  • You'd think the Hawks still had Kris Versteeg or Viktor Stalberg on the team with how many times they missed the net tonight. Worst part was most of the chances were clean looks too. You gotta be able to hit the net with chances like that. 
  • Nick Schmaltz looks lost out there.
  • I'd like to recap a game in which the Hawks don't give up a power play goal.

The Ugly
  • I'll probably take heat for this, but I don't care. The WGN telecast was a fucking disaster. There is absolutely no chemistry between Steve Konroyd and Lauren Magiera. Not to mention Magiera seemed like all she cared about was getting the game over with so she could watch the Cubs. And before you come at me for criticizing her, let me say this, Dan Roan isn't much better. Nor was Rich King. I get that there was a Cubs game tonight, but guess what? Some of use don't fucking care about baseball. It would have been a smart move by WGN to simulcast us the Hockey Night In Canada feed. 
  • Apparently Scott Darling thought he was Marty Turco tonight. Darling tried multiple times to handle the puck and it was an adventure to say the least. I don't know if he felt like he could handle the puck because he has red pads like Turco did, but for Christ's sake, leave the puck alone.
  • 0 for 6 on the power play. Let me repeat 0 for 6 on the power play. U-G-L-Y.
  • Shout out to all the assholes who left the game early that were seated in the 100 level. I'm glad the Hawks came back and you missed it. I don't want to hear the lame excuse of "the Cubs were on." Give me a break. You left because the Hawks were down two late in the game. Just admit it. 

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