With a five-day break looming, the Blackhawks looked to take advantage of their old original six rival, the Detroit Red Wings, in the infamous Sunday matinee game. The Red Wings came into Chicago after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Saturday night, and the Hawks looked to build off their 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Friday night.
Even though the Red Wings rivalry has lost its prominence in recent years, this was a very important game for the Blackhawks. Only one point behind the Dallas Stars for the second wild card spot, the Hawks needed to capitalize on the rebuilding Red Wings playing the second of a back to back. Jeff Glass would get his second straight start in net for the Blackhawks.
These were the Blackhawks starting lines:
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Vincent Hinostroza
Ryan Hartman – Nick Schmaltz – Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat – David Kampf – Anthony Duclair
Lance Bouma – Tommy Wingels – Patrick Sharp
Duncan Keith – Jordan Oesterle
Connor Murphy – Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling – Jan Rutta
The pace of the game was exciting to start, with both teams really flying around, but the excitement didn’t last very long for the Blackhawks. After some careless turnovers early in the first period, Andreas Athanasiou used his great speed, as he did much of the game, to drive the net and set up Dylan Larkin for a one-time goal at 4:08 in the first period.
As the turnover trend continued for the Blackhawks, so did the Red Wings goal scoring. Two minutes after the Larkin goal, Anthony Mantha used his speed to push the Hawks defense back on an odd man rush. He then stopped and dished the puck to the trailing Mike Green who fired another one timer past Glass, again to the glove side. The Wings had a 6-2 shot advantage at this point in the period, and really controlled the play.
But, to the Blackhawks credit, they seemed to respond well after the second Red Wings goal. During a nice shift by the fourth line, Bouma was able to draw an interference penalty to send the Hawks on the power play. But, despite sustained offensive zone time for much of the man advantage, the Blackhawks were unable to create any real pressure or high quality scoring chances.
After killing a slashing penalty by Saad, the Blackhawks went into the first intermission down 2-0, but winning the shot battle 10-7.
Early in the second period, the Blackhawks found themselves on the penalty kill once again, a penalty they would kill with relative ease. Regardless of the success of the Blackhawks PK unit throughout the second period, the penalties really seemed to stymie any offensive momentum they were generating. This was especially evident when the Red Wings began to show some signs of fatigue in the second period. After drawing a penalty by Athanasiou at 13:48 in the second period, the Blackhawks were unable to capitalize on the power play because of a careless penalty by Toews.
After accumulating three penalties in the second period, the shot totals turned in favor of the Red Wings, 18-15, through two periods.
Another trend that was painfully noticeable throughout the game was how overwhelmed Glass looked in net. Time and time again, Glass was found far outside of his own net, and it was surprising the Blackhawks made it out of the second period only down 2-0.
At the start of the third period, the Blackhawks found themselves with an opportunity to capitalize on the Red Wings lack of success on the power play. After a good shift by the Toews line, Tomas Tatar was called for hooking, sending the Hawks to the power play with 19 minutes left in the game.
But, instead of the power play resulting in a goal, the Blackhawks yet again looked unorganized and didn’t generate any scoring chances. At the end of the man advantage, Hawks fans in attendance showed their displeasure as boos echoed throughout the United Center.
Unfortunately, fans had a lot more to groan about as the third period continued. Mantha continued his strong play for the Red Wings, scoring at 5:46 in the third. The play was an embarrassing sequence for Keith and Oesterle, as the defenseman collided and found themselves both lying on the ice while Mantha buried a wrist shot glove side past Glass.
Chances were few and far between in the third period for the Hawks, as shown by another frustrating sequence on a 3 on 1. Toews, Kane, and Hartman entered the zone and bobbled the puck between one another until Hartman fired a half-hearted back hander on Wings netminder Petr Mrazek.
As the Blackhawks looked ready to pack it in, the Red Wings continued to pile it on. Tyler Bertuzzi, the nephew of former Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi, scored his first career goal off a rebound to make the score 4-0.
That is how the game would end, as Mrazek would complete the shutout, becoming the first Red Wings goalie to shut out the Blackhawks on the road since Dominik Hasek in 2001.
- David Kampf continued his strong play, and was one of the few Hawks to play with any sort of energy. He continued his success winning faceoffs, played hard on the PK, and even created the team’s best scoring chance of the afternoon after a nice one on one move on Mantha.
- Although he didn’t make a ton of plays, I really like what I have seen thus far from Duclair. His speed is obvious, he has some noticeable skill, and he is stronger than people give him credit for. I’d like to see him get some more time with Toews and Saad, because I think his skills could really compliment those two guys.
- It was reported before Sunday’s game that Artem Anisimov may be back as early as Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders. This should be a nice boost for the Blackhawks after they come off of the bye week.
- For a team with leaders like Toews, Keith, and Seabrook, it is embarrassing how the Hawks played Sunday afternoon. Any reasonable person would think they had everything to play for: an original six matchup, one point out of the playoffs, and a week-long bye week starting after the game. Instead, the Blackhawks came out and played a very entitled hockey game, reminiscent of last year’s playoff series against the Nashville Predators. They played as if they could just walk on the ice and win the game, and once the score was 2-0, they began taking dumb penalties and looked very frustrated. I know it was only one game, but it was very disappointing, especially considering the circumstances.
- The Blackhawks continue to turn over the puck too much. Whether they are trying to get the puck out of their own zone, or trying to generate chances in the offensive zone, they are far too careless with the puck. Against a team like the Red Wings who have guys who can fly up and down the ice, it creates an unacceptable amount of odd man rushes.
- The Blackhawks continue to struggle generating any meaningful scoring chances throughout their games. For a team near the top of the league in analytical categories such as pace of play and corsi for, they don’t score nearly enough goals. The Blackhawks refusal to score any dirty goals, or have any net front presence, is the biggest reason for their offensive woes. Until they switch their game from cute perimeter passes to pucks and bodies down low, they will continue to have a difficult time scoring.
- With Artem Anisimov coming back, it is time to sit Sharp, and sit him for good. I have always been a big fan of Patrick Sharp, but his days as an NHL player are over. Sharp is far from the reason for the Hawks inconsistencies, but he is slow, can’t score, and gets worked off the puck time and time again. I would much rather continue the trend of youth and speed in the top 9, followed by the grit of Wingels, Bouma, and Kampf or Hayden on the fourth line.
- I think it is safe to say that the Jeff Glass experiment is officially over. It was a nice story early on, but Glass was caught out of position all afternoon, and was lucky the score was only 4-0. It is clear that Glass is nothing more than an AHL goalie, and I would expect Anton Forsberg to have a firm grasp on the Hawks net as they come out of the bye week.