Friday, October 20, 2017

Blackhawks vs Oilers
2-1 OT Loss Recap

"Facepalm Mute"

by Gatekeeper

Thursday night the Blackhawks were playing the back side of a back-to-back, after essentially taking a beating the previous night. Joel Quenneville made a couple of small lineup changes, sitting Michal Kempny in favor of Jordan Oesterle and giving Anton Forsberg the start in net. Nothing like getting your second career start in goal against Connor McDavid. Good luck, kid, keep your chin up!

Nothing much happened early in the first until roughly the 7:30 mark of the period. Immediately following yet another failed powerplay, Patrick Kane carried the mail deep into the Oilers zone and tried to dump the puck to Artem Anisimov, who was driving the net, from behind the Oilers goal line. Cam Talbot tried to pick off the pass and ended up putting the puck into his own net with the paddle of his stick. No doubt he wanted that one back. The Hawks continued their pressure following the Kane goal, and had a few successive dominant shifts right around the halfway point of the first period. Kane was, again, the major focus of this pressure. The Oilers, however, didn't have much pressure until there were under three minutes remaining in the opening period. Connor McDavid showed everyone watching just why he was the scoring champ and MVP last season. Not only did he turn a Blackhawks defenseman inside out, but he turned DUNCAN KEITH inside out. He backed Keith into the Hawks zone like a basketball player posting up and put a spinning backhand pass onto the tape of Patrick Maroon, who just had to slam the puck into the gaping net. Even though the Blackhawks had a few dominant stretches, they were out shot 9 to 7 in the opening period and went to the locker room tied at one.

The second period began with a Blackhawks 5-on-3 powerplay which they, of course, blew again. The power play futility didn't stop there, though. Zack Kassian earned himself a boarding penalty for an egregious hit from behind that not only should have earned him a five minute major, but possibly a look from the league office. Somehow, Kassian only ended up with two minutes. The rest of the period was pretty tame, even though there were a couple solid, dangerous chances. Neither team scored in the middle frame and the Oilers out shot the Blackhawks 14-10.

The Blackhawks came out and had plenty of chances in the third period to take the lead, especially on the aforementioned terrible powerplay. They, of course, completely whiffed once again. This isn't to say that they didn't have any chances at regular strength, though, but just weren't able to score that elusive second goal. The Saad/Toews/Panik line was at the forefront of their full strength action, as they got several "grade A" chances on Can Talbot.

After not being able to finish the Oilers in regulation, the Blackhawks fell to the Oilers in the overtime period. This is not to say they didn't have their chances. Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp and Nick Schmaltz all had great chances to win the game but the Oilers had several excellect chances of their own. Darnell Nurse and Connor McDavid nearly ended the game before defenseman Mark Letestu finally won the game on the powerplay with 15.8 seconds remaining. Chalk this game up to an opportunity missed.

The Good
  • God, Connor McDavid is absolutely frighteningly good. That said, I was really impressed with what I saw of 19 year old rookie Kailer Yamamoto, as well. Kid has some serious raw skill and speed. Just a wealth of young riches in Edmonton.
  • In what looks like it will be a regular theme this season, Anton Forsberg was basically screwed over again. He did everything in his power to win this game and, in NO way, is this loss on him. He is just continually getting the crap end of the stick.
  • Jordan Oesterle played his first Blackhawks game, and looked perfectly fine. In fact, I might say he looked pretty good. I want to see more of him, and if it comes at the price of Gustav Forsling's playing time Joel Quenneville needs to DO IT! I think Oesterle was out to show up his former team, as well.
  • I am coming around a little on Lance Bouma. If you just throw out that one anomaly season where he played with players he shouldn't have in Calgary, and put up 34 points, he is a decent 4th line grinder. Blackhawk Up's Aaron Goldschmidt will be happy to read this.
  • You don't really truly appreciate Edzo in the booth until he's not around. Having him back for these two games is really nice. Blackhawks fans are lucky to have him. The first period salute that the UC fans gave him was really emotional and special. If this doesn't choke you up a little, you're simply dead inside.

The Bad
  • Patrick Kane must have seen something in film with Cam Talbot because he was trying to shoot from some weird angles and trying to catch Talbot cheating away from the posts.
  • Ryan Hartman took a serious beating in this game. He was hit with shots from his own team, cross checked repeatedly, and Zack Kassian absolutely drilled him from behind. The fact that Kassian didn't get more than 2 minutes for coming completely across the ice and drilling Hartman in the back is utterly astounding. This is "exhibit a" of how the NHL hasn't a clue about how to police dirty hits.
  • Quenneville was playing his lineblender games again, swapping Artem Anisimov and Tanner Kero back and forth between the 3rd and 4th lines.
  • The faceoff percentage has plummeted back into the toilet (45%) with only Toews winning more than 50%.
  • I'm still not a Cam Talbot fan. He was good, but was bailed out by his defense a lot.
  • Look, fans, this is the Blackhawks team most of us expected to see before the season began. The team we all watched in the first two games was a mirage. Lets not all act surprised that all the concerns we had 3 weeks ago rear their heads.

The Ugly
  • Less than ten seconds into the second period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins damn near murdered Gustav Forsling by taking out his feet as Forsling was skating back hard to pick up a puck behind the goal line. I was certain Forsling's ankle was going to be mangled.
  • I keep thinking the powerplay can't this bad forever, and I keep watching the Hawks totally blow their chances. The Blackhawks were 0-5 including that 5-on-3. Looking for a place to point fingers? Here it is. What good is drawing penalties if you don't make your opponent pay? After this game, the Hawks are ranked 23rd overall (15.4%) and sinking like the Edmund Fitzgerald (stick tap to Stankus).

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

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


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