Sunday, October 22, 2017

Blackhawks at Arizona
4-2 Win Recap

"The Price Is Wrong"

by Gatekeeper

Saturday night the Blackhawks traveled to sunny desolate Arizona for a tilt with the Coyotes. After losing at home Thursday night to the Oilers, the Hawks had a slightly less threatening opponent this time around. In fact, the Yotes were winless for the 16-17 season. Almost makes you feel bad for Niklas Hjalmarsson. There was a very good chance that the Blackhawks could get back on track against one of the NHL's worst teams.

To open the game, the Blackhawks didn't look like the better team, at all. Arizona came in and out shot the Hawks early, and had a few good chances to take a lead, as well. They finally did take that 1-0 lead as Connor Murphy got caught on a bad pinch that no one covered for him. That left Jordan Oesterle back to cover a 2-on-1 that he actually played pretty well. Unfortunately for Corey Crawford the attempted pass across hit Oesterle's stick and split Corey's wickets. Not the prettiest goal. All was right again, when Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik hooked up take advantage of the Blackhawks first powerplay of the night and tie the game up, just a minute later. The following five minutes were the Blackhawks penalty kill circus, as they wore out a path to the penalty box, taking FOUR in five minutes. Luckily, the Yotes are terrible and they weren't able to generate much of anything on the advantage. Oddly enough the Yotes only had 11 shots on net, even though they had so much extended powerplay time, while the Blackhawks had 10.

The second period didn't open up with nearly as much action and was generally a boring until the Blackhawks woke up halfway through. Captain Jonathan Toews sprung Patrick Kane for a breakaway that he had all kinds of trouble gathering, but ws still able to eventually pull away with. Kane sized up the Yotes backup goalie and picked him apart, for a 2-1 Blackhawks lead. Just a few minutes later Kane led a 2-on-1 that was stopped, but got the "home away from home" crowd off their hands once again. Speaking of getting out of their seats, Tommy Wingels was awarded a penalty shot, and initially scored. Unfortunately the refs were forced to make a judgement call and they did what they regularly do, which is got it wrong. Almost as if it was written, the Blackhawks then gave up a poorly defended goal shortly thereafter. They should have been up 3-1 but were now tied 2-2.

As this game when on, it got more boring. Just when it looked like both teams were playing for overtime, the Blackhawks 4th line came up big. They didn't pull off any highlight reel plays, but Lance Bouma swept a rebound past Domingue by being in the right place at the right time. This was all the Blackhawks need to squeak out a win on the road, but Tommy Wingels took back what was taken from him earlier by the officials. This was a far from perfect game, but a regulation win nonetheless.

The Good
  • The penalty kill had a good night, even though the bar was low, based on the opponent. The Coyotes can boast that they are better than the Blackhawks on the powerplay, at 22nd, but not much.
  • After their stupid first period plays, Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma each had 2 pts, and Wingels should have had a second goal. Someone had to step up in their game, and it was the 4th line.
  • The Saad/Toews/Panik line were possession monsters all night and it showed in the number as their corsi numbers were +10/+14/+12 respectively.
  • Not Corey Crawford's best game, but he saved 27 of 29 and kept the game close enough for them to pull away.

The Bad
  • I will never stop being annoyed by pointless fancy blind backhand passes, when they are clearly not needed. I've watched enough of those go terribly wrong to know that they are needless and high risk. Just simplify and make a solid, strong, safe play. This time it was Jonathan Toews on the powerplay. Knock it off.
  • The Coyotes second goal was a total mess. The Blackhawks actually won the faceoff but the puck flipped up and hit Patrick Sharp and dropped in the slot. Clayton Keller just jumped on the loose puck and buried the goal.
  • The third line of Sharp/Anisimov/Debrincat were all -2 on the night. Their corsi numbers were -3/-9/-7 respectively. That's brutal.
  • HOT TAKE ALERT: Sorry, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson is over rated. I keep reading and hearing how good this guy is and he continues to just be mediocre. I haven't seen it. You watch him play and tell me he's a future norris trophy winner, and I'll tell you that you're wrong.

The Ugly
  • Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels put their team down 5-on-3 with two stupid penalties on the same play. The stupidity didn't stop there, though. The usually smart Jan Rutta tried to whack at a shoulder high puck with his stick and took another penalty. IT DOESN'T STOP THERE! Brent Seabrook had a complete brain fart and put the puck on his own net, which turned into yackety sax. The penalty killers ended up taking another penalty, which was their fourth in five minutes. If they were playing even a decent team, the Hawks would have been down 3-1.
  • The Tommy Wingels penalty shot was a goal. Plain and simple. There were absolutely no angles that showed clearly that Louis Domingue touched the puck. Just scrap the replay, because they seem to rarely get the calls correct. You know how they say trust your first instinct? The NHL needs to start doing so, because they are once again pulling goals off the board without any clear definitive evidence. Joel Quenneville has every right to be furious, here:
  • No one seems concerned that Alex Debrincat keeps getting crushed game after game. He gets flattened almost once a game and everyone sticks their head in the sand. When he ends up on IR everyone will act stupid, like it was a surprise. That's fine and well. No one can say I didn't tell them months ago that he is not adjusted to the pro game enough to adequately protect himself.

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Nick Schmaltz - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Alex Debrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Jordan Oesterle - Connor Murphy
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta


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