Recap: Blackhawks Beat Islanders, 3-1


The New York Islanders hosted the Blackhawks tonight at the Barclay Center, in a matchup of underperforming teams from both conferences.

The Hawks lines and pairings were:

Brandon Saad- Patrick Kane – Alex Debrincat

Matthew Highmore – Nick Schmaltz- Vinnie Hnostroza

Tomas Jurco – Artem Anisimov – Andreas Martinsen

Patrick Sharp – David Kampf – John Hayden

Duncan Keith – Brent Sebrook

Erik Gustafsson – Connor Murphy

Jordan Oesterle – Jan Rutta

And it would be Anton Forsberg’s turn to absorb an obscene number of shots, give up two soft goals and ultimately get pulled.

Or would it?

First period.

The Islanders came out flying and put some early pressure on Forsberg, including two clean breaks in around Hawk defenders. On the second, by Jordan Eberle, Duncan Keith was badly beaten and well behind the play. But Forsberg was solid in the early going.

At about 8:00, the Saad-Debrincat-Kane line mounted some frenzied, sustained pressure on Islander goalie Jaroslav Halak, but came away with nothing.

The period ended scoreless, with the Islanders holding an 11-10 advantage in shots. “Good” Forsberg had shown up, but would he finish the game?

Second period.

The Hawks broke the scoreless tie at 17:24 of the period—after a series of simple, effective hockey plays. First, the Martinsen-Anisimov-Jurco line mounted a tenacious forecheck and forced a couple of turnovers in the Islander end, that finally forced New York defenseman Thomas Hickey to upend Jurco and take a penalty. On the first rush of the power play, the Hawks executed a fast, coordinated zone entry, utilizing the speed and creativity of Kane and Schmaltz to not only establish possession in the zone, but cause the Islanders to have to scramble to get set. Not long after, Kane beat Halak on a deflection from the right halfboard. 1-0 Chicago.

At 15:35, after the Hawks maintained some o-zone pressure at 5-on-5, Saad followed up his own shot, beating a flailing Halak. 2-0 Chicago.

Forsberg made his two best saves of the first half of the game just before the ten minute mark of the second, calmly beating Anders Lee and Brock Nelson on prime scoring chances. Later, Forsberg had, as our guy Wiz likes to say, “a horseshoe in his pads,” when Islander forward Casey Cizikas missed an open side.

Shots were 10-8 Chicago in the period, which ended with the Hawks still up by 2.

Third period.

The Islanders picked up the pace from the opening faceoff of the third, and the Hawks answered. After an Anisimov penalty at 11:48, the Hawks were forced to spend much of the kill pinned in their end. With that penalty killed off, in the nsuing five on five action, the Isles had several quality chances that Forsberg thwarted until John Tavares snuck out from behnd the net to Forsberg’s right and launched a pinpoimt, top shelf backhander at 2:42. 2-1 Hawks.

Brent Seabrook then effectively iced the game at 1:14 with a long empty netter, capping off yet another really solid performance in a season that’s gone from tragically bad to encouragingly rejuvenated for #7. 3-1

The good.

Forsberg. Money. Several outstanding saves, including a nifty left pad save right before the final horn with the Isles all over him and a gassed Hawk D. In my opinion, the coaching staff seriously mishandled Forsberg during the “Jeff Glass Feel Good/Play Mediocre Story.” But it appears Forsberg may have regained his game and psychology. It was one game against a blah team, but an outstanding performance.

Both the Saad-Kane-DeBrincat and Martinsen-Anisimov-Jurco lines were very effective in their respective roles.

The bad.

Not much in an overall solid outing by the Hawks, although Keith struggled a bit at times.

The ugly.

Nothing, solid game for Chicago.


The Hawks’ best players were their best players in this game. And the lower lines did their job the way they’re supposed to. It would be really nice to see some more outings like this one as the season winds down. Hard work, solid execution, and NHL quality goaltending. It would be something to build on for next season.

Please comment below.

Follow: @jaeckel

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