Chicago Blackhawks Weeks in Review: March 17-30
Chicago Blackhawks: Weeks Nine and Ten
When we last we left the Chicago Blackhawks, they had just won two in a row and were headed out to Denver to meet the Colorado Avalanche for the first time since their streak-ending loss. Needless to say, it’s been an up-and-down two weeks for the boys from the Windy City.
The theme of their game with the Avalanche was revenge, and that’s exactly what they got in their 5-2 win. But in the process, they lost Marian Hossa, which led to Patrick Kane being double shifted. That strategy failed when the Hawks rolled into California to play the Anaheim Ducks, where the game got out of hand in the last five minutes and the Hawks lost 4-2.
After four days off, the Hawks came home, only to have the Los Angeles Kings hand them their second loss in a row with a 5-4 score. The power play was more than flat, it was oozing into the ice, and they once again let the third period slip away from them. They did redeem themselves with their 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames the next night. Ray Emery racked up his first shutout in three years and his 12th win since the start of the season.
But the Ducks came knocking again, and the power play seeped into the ice again. Kane did score a power play goal, but it was for nothing as the defense called it a night and let the Ducks win 2-1. That pulled the Ducks within three points of the Blackhawks in the West.
We’re heading into the last full month of the season. Can the Blackhawks hold on to their place at the top? You’ll have to come back next time to find out.
Hayes Scores First
When Patrick Sharp was injured, Jimmy Hayes got the call-up from Rockford to take his place on the second line. In his first Blackhawks game of the season, he fired a backhand shot right over Semyon Varlamov to put the Hawks on the board first.
Shaw’s Quick Second
Less than a minute later, Andrew Shaw followed up on Hayes’ goal with one of his own. That would be the beginning of the Blackhawks’ attack on the Avalanche, with Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews adding to the goal pile.
Kane’s Double Shift
When Marian Hossa was injured at the end of the first period and did not return, Patrick Kane took on double-shift duty. It didn’t hurt his game, because he scored a goal and two assists.
Another Double Shift for Kane
With Marian Hossa out and Daniel Carcillo only being used for about two minutes total ice time on the top line, Patrick Kane once again did double-shift duty. The move backfired because he was exhausted by the end of game, and he blamed himself for the Blackhawks’ loss.
The Blackhawks’ penalty kill is sharp, but sometimes it can be deadly and result in a shorthanded goal. That’s what happened when Jonathan Toews got the takeaway and scored on the Ducks’ power play to tie the game in the first period.
Leddy’s Birthday Goal
Nick Leddy celebrated his 22nd birthday in high style with a power play goal, assisted by Patrick Kane. It was his fourth of the season and gave the Blackhawks the lead after the second period.
Michael Frolik can usually be found on the bottom six, but in lieu of double-shifting Patrick Kane again, Frolik was placed on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. The move paid off big time, because he scored two goals. He hadn’t scored a goal since the very first game of the season.
Kane Has the Moves
They say Patrick Kane has moves like Pavel Datsyuk. He certainly had them when he took the puck and held on to it long enough for Jonathan Quick to move in net, which gave Kane an opening to slip the puck behind him and bring the Hawks ahead of the Kings in the second period.
Seabrook’s Game Winner
It was the defense on display when Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook scored the Blackhawks’ only goals for the night. Coupled with Ray Emery’s work in net, the defense was on display for their shutout of the Flames.
Two More Points for Kane
Patrick Kane continued to amaze everyone, racking up an assist on each of the Blackhawks’ two goals. Those two points would give him his 11th multi-point game for this season.
Emery’s First Shutout
Ray Emery extended his NHL record for most wins at the start of a season to 12-0-0 with the Blackhawks’ win. He also took his first shutout of the season, which was also his first shutout win in three years.
The Power Play Stinks
At the beginning of the season, fans had high hopes for the Blackhawks’ power play, which had been simply ghastly last season. With Marian Hossa injured, it’s quickly regressed back to last season’s uselessness. Right now, the thought of drawing a penalty makes fans cringe.
Eight in a Row
Despite the terrible power play, Patrick Kane managed to squeeze out a goal to tie the game in the third period. That would be his 18th of the season, and gives him his second eight-game point streak.
To add injury to insult in the game, a high stick from Ryan Getzlaf caught Viktor Stalberg in the face, cutting him badly. It wasn’t the first time that had happened in the game: Jonathan Toews had taken a stick to the mouth earlier. Though there wasn’t any blood that time, there was no penalty for it, either.