The Blackhawks failed to bounce back against the Edmonton Oilers in a 2-1 OT lose coming off the heels of getting stomped by the Blues the night before. It’s always fun to be able to watch an unbelievable talent like Connor McDavid. It’s even better when that talent has a quiet night…well, at least until the end.
The first period opened with a display of relatively sloppy hockey from both teams. It seemed like each side was feeling each other out, but couldn’t quite get anything going. There were a few chances here and there, but there were a number of missed opportunities.
Alex DeBrincat had an uncharacteristically off period, having turned over the puck twice in his own zone and having the puck jump over his stick and out of the zone on a power play. Speaking of which…Chicago’s power play looked like it was going to continue displaying why it’s one of the worst in the league – having failed to convert on a couple man advantages.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 28, 2018
It wasn’t until the Oilers had two men in the box, granting the Hawks a 5-on-3, that Chicago was able to capitalize. The goal came with 8:58 left in the period when Seabrook snuck in low (to the middle of the hash marks) and rifled a one-timer from Kane up and over Cam Talbot’s glove side. Seabrook had a strong period where he was blocking shots and getting physical in front of the Hawks net to clear guys out. Edmonton answered back in the closing minutes when forward Zack Kassian picked up the lose change after Cam Ward made two excellent saves off quality opportunities.
The second period belonged to the men in the blue paint. Both goalies played stellar and kept the game tied at 1-1 despite a number of really good chances. The two teams seemed to settle in a bit more and the untidy play tightened up. Forward Nick Schmaltz really came alive in this period, making a couple nice defensive plays in his own zone and even springing for a breakaway – only to be bested by the solid play of Talbot. Schmaltz has seemed to develop a knack for pick-pocketing opposing players and his ability to do so seems to keep getting better. It feels like every game he has a couple plays where he’s stripping the puck away from guys (in all areas of the ice) and turning that into opportunities.
The close play (and rather boring game) continued into the third period and saw the Oilers get some quality chances early that were turned away by Ward. The even play came to a stalemate of sorts and neither side could get an edge on the other. The Hawks failed (again) to convert on the PP and that would end up costing them later in OT. There was a great opportunity with 17 seconds left when Kane raced down the boards and fed Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who joined the rush, a nice pass that Gustafsson snapped on net. These two guys have really developed some nice chemistry and Gustafsson has found a way to put himself in a number of really good positions in this young season.
Overtime started with the Hawks pressuring Edmonton and driving hard to the net; however, a quick 3-on-1 rush up the ice saw Forward Leon Draisaitl dish a sweet saucer pass to McDavid, who settled it down and buried it by Ward.
Losing a winnable game is never easy. With 32 shots on goal and 57% at the dot, the Hawks should have been able to put the Oilers away, but they didn’t. Only converting once the five PP’s Edmonton gave Chicago is unacceptable. We sound like broken records, but the PP is truly brutal and likely cost them the game.
- Dominik Kahun, Luke Johnson(-1) and Alexander Fortin(-1), though quiet tonight, posses the speed, quickness (arguable better than speed) and skill that the modern-day NHL game is moving towards.
- The 19-year-old Henri Jokiharju continues to develop on the blue line and play like a savvy vet and not a young rookie
- Brandon Manning and Brandon Davidson are the type of players who when you don’t hear their name, it’s probably a good thing. It’s not a knock on them, it just means they’re doing their jobs and playing a simplified game and just doing their jobs
- Overall team defense was on display tonight
- Cam Ward continues to prove the naysayers and critics wrong with strong play
- Brandon Saad keeps sniffing around the net
- Hawks playing more physical
Areas for Improvement:
- Power Play
- Power Play
- Power Play
- Marcus Kruger now has seven penalties in 12 games. He needs to tighten up his play because having your best penalty killer in the box is counter-intuitive