RECAP: Blackhawks fall 4–2 to Capitals


The Chicago Blackhawks kicked off a three-game road trip in the nation’s capital, tonight, against the Washington Capitals. Chicago had held their past three opponents to two regulation goals, however, the Capitals would waste no time scoring this evening.


Forward Tom Wilson wasted no time finding the back of the net at the :54 mark. The Capitals played the 3-on-3 perfectly. A quick give-and-go from forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, resulted in Ovechkin finding Wilson all alone in front of the net for an easy tap in behind Corey Crawford. The goal gave the feisty Wilson his second of the season.

Breaking down the play, Nick Schmaltz found himself watching the pass and then out of position, while Wilson crashed the net uncontested.

After a tripping call on Gustav Forsling, the Capitals were able to capitalize on the ensuing power play. Forward Andre Burakovsky found himself wide open at the right circle and fired a shot passed Crawford. Initially, Crawford stopped a Matt Niskanen shot from the left point, however, the rebound found Jakub Vrana in front, who dished it over to Burakovsky for his third tally of the year. Capitals led 2–0 with just over six minutes gone in the game.

Chicago had a chance to generate some momentum with a pair of power plays, during the period, but could not find any sustained pressure on goaltender Braden Holtby. After the first period, Chicago led in shots 14–12.


Both teams traded punches for half of the second period until the Capitals broke through for a 3–0 lead.

Former Blackhawks’ defenseman Michal Kempny ripped a one-timer from the point past Crawford. Andreas Martinsen lost the defensive zone draw, which found forward Vrana with the puck on his stick, who then dropped a nice pass to Kempny for the marker. The goal gave Kempny his first on the year. Washington took a commanding 3–0 lead.

Two minutes later, Brandon Saad put the Hawks on the board with his seventh goal of the season. Saad took a feed from Jonathan Toews and whistled a wrist shot by Holtby blocker side. Toews made a nice area pass in which Saad was able to retrieve along the boards.

Chicago trailed 3–1 but held a 24-to-21 shot advantage after the middle frame.


Just over five minutes into the third period, Erik Gustafsson closed the Capital’s lead to one goal. Gustafsson jumped in on the play and found himself on the backhand to beat Holtby. Artem Anisimov and Nick Schmaltz assisted on the play. The goal gave Gustafsson his second on the season.

Any momentum the Hawks built would be short lived. Less than two-minutes later, forward Devante Smith-Pelly extended the lead back to two goals. Center Travis Boyd found Smith-Pelly with a nice cross-crease pass, giving Smith-Pelly fourth on the year.

The play was started by a nice play by Kempny, as he picked a pass out of the air, which would have sprung Anisimov on a breakaway.

The goal took the wind right out of the visitors. Crawford would be pulled with just under three minutes to play, but the Hawks would not threaten to shorten the gap.

Chicago out shot the Capitals 39-to-27 for the game, however, could not recover from the first six minutes of the game. Trailing 2–0 before even breaking a sweat is never a recipe for success, especially on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champions.


Brandon Saad. The 26-year old winger has goals in three straight games.

39 shots. Chicago generated chances but could only find the scoreboard twice.


Artem Anisimov. The Russian center entered tonight winning 46.7% of his draws, but could only win 2-of-9 tonight. He did assist on Gustafsson’s goal, but has been below average at the dot and has two goals in 22 games.

The power play. Chicago was 0-for-3 on the evening. Even the best teams are going to get blanked on certain nights, however, the Hawks were only credited with three shots on goal with the man advantage tonight.

Alex DeBrincat. The shifty forward now has one goal and one assist in his last twelve games.

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