Photo courtesy of NHL.com
The Blackhawks earned point in the standings in a game they should have won in Calgary Saturday night
With another opportunity to gain some ground in the Western Conference playoff race, the Blackhawks took on the Flames Saturday night in Calgary but only came away with one point. We saw more of the same recurring problems the Blackhawks have had in the past few weeks of stale veterans, high-risk turnovers, and an overall inability to play a full sixty-minute game. But despite the usual disappointment in underachieving stars, the ‘Hawks young players continue to keep the team in games.
The scoring for this game started eight minutes in when Patrick Kane dug out a puck from the corner boards and found Nick Schmaltz in the slot for a one-timer. Schmaltz laid into the shot and beat Mike Smith over his left shoulder. That was Schmaltz’s second goal in two games, and he has five points in his last five games.
The Blackhawks started the second period on the power play due to a too many men minor penalty on the Flames. On the PP, Vinnie Hinostroza fed Brent Seabrook a nice pass at the point but his shot was fired wide of the net. Patrick Kane was there to pass it back to a wide open Hinostroza for the goal. The Blackhawks capitalized on their only power play of the night. Hinostroza also has five points in his last five games.
Five minutes later in the second, the Blackhawks turned over the puck in the Flames zone when Travis Hamonic found Matt Stajan streaking up the ice who then beat Jeff Glass on the breakaway. It seemed Brent Seabrook lost sight of Stajan and just couldn’t catch him in transition. Then minutes later, the Flames forecheck forced a Duncan Keith turnover in the Hawks zone that led to a Johnny Guadreau one-timer goal that tied the game at two.
The ‘Hawks answered back when newcomer Anthony Duclair stole the puck from T.J. Brodie at the blue line and beat Mike Smith clean on the breakaway. Blackhawks fans weren’t sure what they were getting in Duclair who at age 22 had already been traded by a couple teams, but he has been showing some promise. He has great speed and is able to show his offensive talent on the ‘Hawks.
The Blackhawks led 3-2 going into the third period but the game was tied on a simple play. The puck was dumped in to the ‘Hawks zone and when Connor Murphy tried to pass the puck backwards behind the net, Mikael Backlund intercepted the pass and found former Blackhawk Michael Frolik in front for the tip in.
The game went to overtime tied 3-3 but it didn’t take long for the Flames to take over. Jonathan Toews brought the puck into the Flames zone in the first minute of overtime but missed on his shot. The Flames quickly transitioned the other way and had a three-on-two rush with Brodie, Gaudreau, and Monahan. Gaudreau fed Monahan who ripped a wrister past Glass for the overtime winner.
The frustration of Blackhawks fans boiled over on Twitter after the game with their team losing another important game. We keep hearing things like urgency and pace, but this team continues to let us down in the worst way; underachieving. It’s tough to fault Jeff Glass who played a great game, but he was let down by the defense too often. The weird part about this game is that the ‘Hawks scored on a power play, they got more depth scoring, and they even had two leads in the game.
The ‘Hawks host the Flames on Tuesday at the United Center and hopefully Chicago’s stars will get their acts together. Seeing Toews, Saad, and Keith struggle for production is literally letting the air out of the United Center and this fanbase.