Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blackhawks vs. Devils
4-3 OT Win Recap

"Fight Fire with Fire"

by Patrick Norton

Jonathan Toews missed his fourth consecutive game with an upper-body injury, previously disclosed by the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc as a non serious back injury. The offense had seemingly gone #IceCold, but the Blackhawks are still 2-0-1 without their captain. With the New Jersey Devils in town, the Blackhawks look to make it 3-0-1.

Game Time

We’ve seen some horrific beginnings to games this season, but none that resulted in the United Center crowd booing their own team. Horrific doesn’t even begin to explain it, so let’s break out the thesaurus: frightful, atrocious, unspeakable, nightmarish, sickening. All fit the description of that first period for the Blackhawks; except for Corey Crawford. Once again, the goaltender kept it close through one. Travis Zajac tallied the only goal of the first period on a mad scrum in front of Crawford in which Kyle Palmieri and Zajac each took whacks at the puck and Crawford until the puck crossed the line. At the end of one, it was the Devils 1, Blackhawks 0.

The second period came and the winds shifted. Marcus Kruger, yes #ScorelessMarcusKruger tied it up a minute into the period with a beautiful snipe shot from the slot. Then, in true Blackhawks fashion, Niklas Hjalmarsson turned the puck over in the defensive zone on the powerplay and Travis Zajac had just Crawford standing between the forward and the back of the net. Zajac did not miss and it just seemed like it would become one of those goals that would suck the life out of the Blackhawks. Instead, the exact opposite. Artem Anisimov crashed to the net and pocketed his tenth goal of the season just a minute and a half after Zajac had given his team the lead. After a failed powerplay, the Blackhawks didn’t let the missed opportunity haunt them and Nik Hjalmarsson made up for his previous turnover with a goal coming off of a Devil misplay. In the period, Brent Seabrook left for examination after hitting his head on the end boards due to an illegal check from John Quenneville.

The third period started with a bang. A drive to the net by Richard Panik that ended in a Brian Campbell goal was initially signaled a good goal, but some blatant goaltender interference had it waved off fairly quickly. The Blackhawks kept up the pressure after the fact. Marian Hossa found Ryan Hartman with a laser pass, but Schneider sent it aside. Then, a few pushes from the Devils eventually set up the equalizer, the finishing touch on a hat trick for Travis Zajac. At the ten minute mark, the game become heavily defensive and not who would score first, rather who would give up a goal first. A lot more dump and chases than aggressive charges from the forwards with defenseman jumping into the play. After Zajac’s third goal, the game went quickly. “No whistles for ten minutes” quickly. Anyways, Pat Foley sent this one into OT with a classic “tree-tree after tree” call. Third game in a row heading into OT for Chicago.

There were three moments when I doubted this Blackhawks team in the overtime period; when the puck dropped, when the Devils had an odd man rush, and when Mike Cammalleri drew iron. Marian Hossa quickly made me laugh at myself for believing the Devils had a fighting chance in OT with the Hawks. I held my breath for Schneider to let in a weak goal? My loss...but also, my win? Hmm… anyway, Blackhawks recover from the first and win in OT again, 4-3.

The Good
  • Corey Schneider was excellent in the first period.
  • The Devils forecheck was unsolvable in the first ten minutes of the game. The Blackhawks couldn’t even muster up a shot on goal until then.
  • Corey Crawford’s first period play was the only reason the score wasn’t an eight goal lead in favor of New Jersey after the first period.
  • Joel Quenneville’s first intermission locker room pep talk. Boy, I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall for that one.
  • The centers for the Blackhawks really performed well with Kruger and Anisimov scoring in the absence of Toews. But it’s not like Toews has been some offensive magician this season, or any season for that matter.
  • The pressure the Blackhawks were able to sustain through periods two and three gave little possession opportunities to the Devils.
  • I didn’t notice too many puck possession issues after the first period from the Hawks. Monstrous improvement from the abysmal first frame.
  • Travis Zajac had one hell of a game.
  • Marian Hossa’s OT GWG had me smiling ear-to-ear. He perfected the whole skate left, shoot right move and he snuck it right by Schneider.

The Bad
  • Corey Schneider was NOT excellent in the second period.
  • The powerplay didn’t produce much more than a few wild attempts. Other than that, it was pretty rough. 0/4 is never good. This would be in “The Ugly”, but it’s a bit crowded down there.
  • John Quenneville’s boarding call on Brent Seabrook looked painful to say the least. Seabrook was vulnerable and had his head slammed into the plexiglass. I hit my head on the top of a train car standing up too fast and had to fight to hold back tears, so I can’t imagine being hit by another human at near full speed.
  • Vinny Hinostroza and Nick Schmaltz haven’t provided much in recent memory and it’s time they start to produce. Sure it’s not a switch you can flip, but they need to start seeing some consequences for their lack of assistance.

The Ugly
  • I don’t even want to talk about it, but it’s my duty. The Blackhawks couldn’t even touch the puck for minutes at a time. The Devils were toying with the Blackhawks. I don’t know when the last time the Blackhawks faithful jeered their own team, but it was really f****** weird to hear.
  • Steve Konroyd’s intermission report paired with his post game interview with Marian Hossa had me longing for Mr.….ttt….er Jamal Mayers to be asking the post game questions to #81.
  • Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. No, not apple turnovers, Fatrick. Turnovers, especially in the first period plagued the Blackhawks ability to go on the attack. When the Blackhawks were scoring, they were playing well on all facets of the game. When the Devils were scoring, the mistakes seemed to be highlighted. It didn’t help that Edzo actually highlighted them on the telestrator.
  • The New Jersey Devils players. All of them. Hideous. I’m quoting my mom here. Oh yeah, did I tell you I live with my mom? My God, I am #FatrickJr. Kill me.
  • The Devils offense was nonexistent after the first period besides Travis Zajac. The window for scoring was open in the first and after letting the opportunities slip away, the window slammed shut on their fingers.
  • The penalty kill had it’s moments and performed well enough to make “The Bad” on most nights, but god dammit, I’m putting it here because of how gruesome the second period PK performed that resulted in Zajac’s second goal of the night.
  • Here’s the thing. That first period was the worst period of hockey I’ve seen in a LOOOONG time. After that, the Hawks weren’t over the top trash again. The majority of Blackhawks errors came in those first twenty minutes, but once they passed, it was game on.
  • You may throw stones at me for this, but it kind of seemed like Kane was half-assing everything tonight. I was the least bit impressed with his performance.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Panarin - Anisimov - Kane
Hartman - Hinostroza - Hossa
Rasmussen - Kruger - Panik
Desjardins - Schmaltz - Motte

Keith - Hjalmarsson
Campbell - Seabrook
Kempny - Rozsival

#Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
  • Patrick Kane finished with an astounding +15 corsi, even though I wasn’t impressed with his play.
  • Meanwhile, Tyler Motte fell on the opposite side of the spectrum with a -15 corsi.
  • The Blackhawks and Devils drew even in the shots department with thirty three apiece.
  • The Blackhawks won 22/49 draws, good enough for a 44.9%.

I’m tired. Sorry if I missed something, but I’d love to know what you think I didn’t touch on enough.


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