Blackhawks Can't Finish The Comeback

Bruce Bennett

The Blackhawks erase a 2-0 lead but lose to in overtime to the Islanders.

The Blackhawks never really looked too interested in playing the Islanders tonight.  They had more scoring chances but too many turnovers and lazy defense did the Hawks in at the end of the night.  Corey Crawford deserved more than just one point on Thursday night

The Islanders got the only goal of the 1st period, a period you would have missed if you blinked you eyes, 15:24 into the game.  Johnny Oduya flung the puck into center and then headed straight to the bench for a line change.  Casey Cizikas was able to poke the pass away from Bryan Bickell and catch him flat footed on his way to a breakaway goal, his fifth on the year.  The Blackhawks did have their chances on Evgeni Nabokov.   Both Brandon Bollig and Jonathan Toews had chances in front of the net but were unable to elevate the puck.  Michal Handzus decided to pass to Patrick Kane, on a 3 on  2 rush, instead of taking a shot from the slot just moments before the Cizikas goal.  The Hawks held a 12-5 advantage in shots after 20 minutes but trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard.

The Islanders were able to double their lead at the 8:09 mark of the sandwich frame thanks to some horrible defense from the Hawks' 2nd line.  Michal Handzus turned the puck over at his blue line and then all three forwards got pinned along the near side boards. Tomas Vanek was able to clean up a rebound from a Kyle Okposo shot for his 14th goal of the season.  The Hawks would get on the board with a power play goal from Edzo's favorite player, Brent Seabrook. Kris Versteeg made a great cross ice saucer pass to Seabrook who cranked a one timer past Nabokov.  Nick Leddy was given credit for the apple on Biscuit's fifth goal.

The Hawks were able to tie the game moments after killing off a Patrick Sharp penalty, 1:50 into the 3rd period.  Ben Smith charged hard to the net and put back a rebound after both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp had chances to score in the blue paint.  Both teams would have some quality chances to win the game in regulation, but Crawford and Nabokob were able to force overtime.  The Isles would grab the extra point just 58 seconds into the overtime period.  Once again the Hawks were distracted by the puck and forgetting about their defensive responsibilities.  John Tavares got the puck off the boards and found a wide open Kyle Okposo who beat Corey Crawford to the dreaded high glove side.  Thankfully the Hawks have a quick turn around with a game at the Devils tomorrow.  Any time the Hawks play in the Garden State I am always reminded of a quote from the great George Carlin; "kiss her where it smells, take her to New Jersey."

* We are going to start with the bad, and Lord knows there was plenty off it.  The pairing of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya were garbage against the Islanders.  The first goal was on Oduya, not Bickell.  There is no way you can head off for a line change after making that pass into the neutral zone.  If Nick Leddy would have done that he would have been benched for the rest of the game.  Hjalmarsson also was guilty of heading to the bench early on the first goal and was on the ice for the other two goal against. Hjammer got hung out to dry on the second goal because his forwards were all up against the boards but he can't get caught that far out of position on the game winner.

* The Islanders second goal is all you need to see to come to the conclusion that Michal Handzus should not be on the 2nd line.  The play started because he decided to pass to Patrick Kane, who was a foot in front of him, instead of skating the puck out of the zone.  After the turnover he skated everywhere in the defensive zone except where he should have been; down low to help out his defense.  Marcus Kruger has done more than enough to get a shot in between Kaner and Steeger.

* Too many turnovers and too many missed defensive assignments.  You don't deserve two points when you play like the Blackhawks did tonight.

* The Hawks could have easily won by three goals had they just elevated the puck. But, on the flip side, they could have lost by three goals had John Tavares not missed a multiple scoring chances in regulation.


* On to the good; how about the night from Kris Versteeg?  He made a great pass on the game tying goal and was all over the ice.  But in typical Steeger fashion he had his "Goddammit Versteeg" moment by missing the net by a mile in the 1st period.

* 4th line was very good despite having Brandon Bollig on the ice.  They had quite a few shifts against the Isles' top line and got the best of the them for most of the night.  You can all thank Randy for Smitty's goal.

* Marian Hossa does what Marian Hossa does.  Although he didn't have any points he saved a goal with his stick early in the 2nd period and finished the night with fours shots on goal and three blocked shots on the defensive end.

* This might be the most unpopular thing I have ever typed on Second City Hockey but I think the Hawks should send Antti Raanta back to Rockford.  Now hear me out; Raanta has done a great job but Corey Crawford is being paid to be the work horse.  If Crow is going to play 80-90% of the games it would stunt Raanta's growth as player to sit on the Hawks' bench.  Jason Labarbera is a competent back up and the fact they have not sent him down yet makes me think StanBo is contemplating sending Raanta back to Rockford after Friday's game in Jersey.

Player of the Game

460219095

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Corey Crawford was fantastic and showed no rust from not having played since the first week of December. He made a bunch of big saves and deserved better than what he got Thursday night.  Unfortunately, Evegni Nabokov was just as good at the other end of the ice and his team couldn't give him the third goal that he needed for the win.  Crow made two big saves, right after the Hawks tied the game, on a breakaway by Brock Nelson and a point blank shot from Tavares after Hjalmarsson and Oduya both got caught on the same side of the ice.

Blackhawks Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

22:29

56.4

2.4

56.7

5.7

58.3

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

21:15

56.4

2.4

54.3

2.1

63.6

Kostka, Michael

D

13:27

45.5

-12.0

35.7

-21.0

25.0

Seabrook, Brent

D

21:06

58.5

6.1

59.4

10.4

57.1

Leddy, Nick

D

13:59

52.0

-3.8

47.1

-7.6

33.3

Sharp, Patrick

R

18:12

61.5

10.7

62.1

14.0

75.0

Kruger, Marcus

C

11:32

57.9

3.7

58.8

7.3

0.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

18:41

62.2

11.4

60.7

11.7

66.7

Saad, Brandon

L

11:55

60.7

8.0

56.6

4.8

80.0

Versteeg, Kris

R

14:06

34.8

-26.0

33.3

-25.4

50.0

Handzus, Michal

C

12:24

35.0

-24.8

31.3

-27.2

50.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

19:20

55.3

0.6

52.9

-0.3

70.0

Smith, Ben

R

11:49

60.0

6.3

56.3

3.9

0.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

10:51

56.5

2.1

52.9

-0.2

66.7

Bollig, Brandon

L

10:25

64.3

10.9

61.5

10.1

0.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

12:36

57.7

3.7

55.0

2.5

100

Hossa, Marian

R

16:02

55.2

0.4

54.5

2.0

75.0

Kane, Patrick

R

17:53

46.4

-11.7

45.8

-10.3

54.5

Islanders Advanved Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Hamonic, Travis

D

22:51

36.8

-13.2

34.6

-18.1

40.0

Carkner, Matt

D

12:22

60.0

19.7

63.2

21.2

85.7

McDonald, Colin

R

10:45

73.7

35.1

78.6

38.3

77.8

Hickey, Thomas

D

20:15

43.2

-2.9

45.5

-2.5

36.4

Clutterbuck, Cal

R

14:42

35.5

-13.8

33.3

-19.3

25.0

Regin, Peter

C

13:09

43.8

-1.6

46.2

-0.9

50.0

Martin, Matt

L

13:18

38.9

-7.5

40.0

-8.5

50.0

Strome, Ryan

C

13:09

72.0

35.6

75.0

37.3

77.8

Okposo, Kyle

R

16:21

38.9

-9.6

43.3

-5.7

40.0

Vanek, Thomas

L

15:31

36.1

-13.9

40.0

-11.0

40.0

Nelson, Brock

C

12:54

77.3

41.0

82.4

44.9

77.8

Strait, Brian

D

13:59

58.6

18.9

62.5

22.1

85.7

Grabner, Michael

R

13:58

34.6

-14.1

31.6

-20.0

25.0

de Haan, Calvin

D

21:40

33.3

-18.2

32.0

-21.6

40.0

MacDonald, Andrew

D

20:29

46.2

1.7

48.6

2.9

36.4

Neilsen, Frans

C

12:55

34.6

-14.1

31.6

-20.0

25.0

Cizikas, Casey

C

12:40

43.8

-1.6

46.2

-0.9

50.0

Tavares, John

C

17:04

34.3

-16.5

37.9

-14.0

40.0

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