Recap: Blackhawks vs NY Islanders 7-3 Loss


The winter break ended for the Blackhawks on Saturday evening against the New York Islanders. After a five day break, the team had to regroup without goaltender Corey Crawford who, seemingly, has been abducted by aliens because no one has talked to or seem him in a month.

Recap: Blackhawks vs NY Islanders 7-3 Loss
In other news, defenseman Erik Gustafsson made his first appearance in the Blackhawks lineup since the 2015-16 season. Tomas Jurco remained in the Joel Quenneville Shrimp Cocktail suite (sponsored by Kraft Heinz) for the fifth straight game with Michal Kempny, and Connor Murphy.

Joel Quenneville Shrimp Cocktail Suite

These were the Blackhawks starting lines:
Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsAnthony Duclair
Ryan HartmanNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDavid Kampf – Vincent Hinostroza
Lance BoumaTommy WingelsPatrick Sharp

Duncan KeithJordan Oesterle
Erik Gustafsson – Brent Seabrook
Gustav ForslingJan Rutta

It took the Blackhawks exactly 61 seconds take a 1-0 lead in this one. Everything looked like it was going swimmingly. Gustafsson, in his first Blackhawks shift since April 2016, fed Patrick Kane across the Isles zone just inside the blue line and Kane snapped a shot over Jaroslav Halak’s blocker. The good fortune did not last long, though.

That lead lasted about three minutes.  As they have much of the season, the Blackhawks flirted with disaster in the first by taking unneeded penalties. Jonathan Toews took an interference penalty, which put the Islanders on the power play. Anthony Beauvillier was able to corral a rebound in front of Anton Forsberg and sweep it past the Blackhawks goalie, tying the game. All this was under five minutes into the game.

Jordan Eberle then gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead just south of the halfway mark of the first period. A long point shot was partially blocked and redirected, but Forsberg had committed to the original shot and was slightly off his angle. Eberle was standing to Forsberg’s left and all by himself, which is right where the puck ended up. And the Isle forward easily put it into the open net.

Just as the teams hit one minute remaining in the first period, Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock decided to put on a little show by beating Vince Hinostroza at the point, then using a double Blackhawks screen to fool Forsberg and put the visiting team up 3-1. As some expected, the shots and chances were pretty plentiful as the Islanders led 19-13 in shots on net.

Since nothing else seemed to work, the Blackhawks tried to slow the Islanders power play by playing Johnny from “Airplane!” and cutting the lights 32 seconds into the second period.  I wish this was actually a joke.

Recap: Blackhawks vs NY Islanders 7-3 Loss
That “Johnny” defense did not work, though. Beauvillier was left wide open in front of Forsberg, on the power play, and the puck conveniently found its way to him.  At that point, the Blackhawks goaltender was left hung out to dry, and the the Islanders had a 4-1 just 1:25 into the second period.

The Hawks didn’t get any better after that. In fact, the Islanders took an 8-0 lead  in shots before the Hawks registered their first second period shot on net. This was part of an Islanders shot total of 30 just over halfway through the game.

Luckily, the Blackhawks saved some face with about a minute remaining in the second period. Kane carried the mail around the Islanders net and found Gustafsson breaking in from the point. Kane hit him with a cross slot pass and Gustafsson was able to beat Jaroslav Halak. Considering the Blackhawks were being out shot 33-21, with twenty minutes still to play, this was not exactly promising.

And this game certainly didn’t get any better from there.

A minute and 52 seconds into the third period, Forsberg completely muffed a dump attempt, after the Blackhawks failed to successfully get the puck deep into the Islanders zone. The puck rattled around between Forsberg’s legs and drifted out to Ross Johnston, who fed the puck to Brock Nelson. Nelson finished the play with the fifth Islanders goal of the game.  That was all for Forsberg on the night, as Jeff Glass came in to take a little abuse.

One of only two players that actually showed up both physically and mentally for this game, Patrick Kane, cut the Islanders lead back down to two goals by simply taking the puck end-to-end all by himself, using his teammates as a decoy and waiting for a hole to open. This was Kane’s 800th point of his career.

Anders Lee put the Islanders back up by three goals, with 13 minutes left in the third period. Brent Seabrook lost track of Lee and he cut right up the middle of the neutral zone, receiving a 100’ long stretch pass. Lee was in on a clear breakaway and beat Jeff Glass, who had no chance, through the five-hole.

The game wrapped up with a meaningless goal by John Tavares for the extra point and the Blackhawks were finally put out of their misery, getting outshot 46-39 and outscored 7-3


  • Erik Gustafsson had a really good game on the offensive side of the ice, but his play in his own end was borderline, at best. What infuriated me is that while the announcers spend all night pleasuring themselves to Gustafsson in the Isles end, they completely ignore things like the egregious turnover in the first period. Sure, he had a good night, but let’s not put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame just yet.
  • Patrick Kane had a pretty damn good night that cannot be ignored. He had two goals and an assist on Gustafsson’s goal. He is one of the the only players that did not look simply gutless in this game.


  • The Blackhawks showed energy for all of 61 seconds, and it was all downhill from there.
  • If the Blackhawks penalty kill isn’t working, this team has no chance. This game was a prime example.
  • Jan Rutta was on the ice for SIX of the seven Islanders goals. If he isn’t taking a turn in the Shrimp Cocktail suite next, I don’t know what this team is doing.
  • The Islanders goal that led to Forsberg being pulled was a nightmare.  I am usually the goalie apologist, but I cannot defend this one.  When the night is not going your way, just stay in the net and don’t do anything that can dig your team a deeper hole.  Forsberg came out and really did nothing to help his cause with this mess of a goal.  The game was basically out of hand already, but don’t make it worse.


Video highlights will follow when eventually posted by the league

About Jeff Osborn

Jeff has covered the Blackhawks since 2009 with his former website and podcast The Puckin Hostile Shoutcast until 2017, when he moved over to The Rink. After a short hiatus to cover the inaugural Seattle Kraken season, he came back to Blackhawks coverage and started "The Net Perspective" podcast to discuss goaltending and goaltender development.


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