Hawks Mail It In And Lose 2-1 To The Wild

Hannah Foslien

Blackhawks give a lackluster performance and lose their third game of the season to the Wild.

If you though the Blackhawks' performance Wednesday night in Detroit was less than stellar then Thursday in Minnesota must have made you sick.  The Hawks never really looked interested in playing much hockey at the Xcel Center.  They showed up for about 32 seconds and still almost salvaged a point.  It's hard to get to worked up about games in late January.  We are used to a certain level of excellence from our Hawks and when it doesn't show up we overreact.  Yes. losing to two inferior teams sucks but it is just part of the ups and downs of the marathon that is the NHL season.

The night got off to a strange start when it was announced, about 30 minutes before puck drop, that Duncan Keith would miss the game due to illness (insert Jimmy Howard/Little Caesars/Detroit drinking water joke here). Jason Pominville opened up the scoring with his 20th goal of the year and his fourth against the Blackhawks this year at 8:08 of the 1st.  The Hawks forwards got caught a bit deep in their own zone which led to a 3 on 2 for the Wild.  Michal Hanzus coasted in from the blue line leaving Pominville enough space to put the cross ice feed form Mikael Granlund into the net.  Matt Cooke doubled the Wild's lead at 15:31 with his seventh goal of the year.  Michal Rozsival got caught committing to the center of the ice and left Cooke wide open to receive a pass from Justine Fontaine.  Cooke settled down the puck and just flicked a harmless looking shot that got in between Antti Raanta's pads and glove, a save he should have made.  The Hawks were outshot 10 to 6 in the opening period.

The Blackhawks seemed to get their legs back in the 2nd period and started to control the puck a bit more like we are used to seeing.  The Hawks best chance of the period came when Pominville fell down at the point while on the power play.  Marian Hossa jumped on the puck but was denied a shot by a great recovery from Ryan Suter, who should have won the Norris last season.  The most amazing part of Suter's play was that he had the legs to catch Hossa having already logged seven million minutes in ice time this season.  The line blender was in full effect during 2nd period.  Kris Versteeg took a few shifts with the top line after Hossa was called for a bad slashing penalty early in the frame.  The Hawks would outshoot the Wild 11 to 6 but still trailing 2-0.

The Hawks kept most of the action of the 3rd period in the Wild's zone but could not figure out Darcy Kuemper.  I was worried that I was going to take a lot of crap for mentioning that the Blackhawks have not been shutout, in the regular season, since February of 2012 in my preview.  Patrick Kane not only put those fears to bed, but he also ended his 11 game goal drought with his 24th goal of the season at 19:28.  With Antti Raanta on the bench, Nick Leddy (where's Cam Barker?) found Kane with a nice cross ice pass who buried the puck in the WIld net.  The Hawks were able to gain the zone in the final seconds of the game but Kuemper stopped the only shot the Hawks were able to get off.

* All I know is that if Bryan Bickell would have coasted like Michal Handzus did on the WIld's first goal he would have not seen the ice agian for the rest of the game.  If Zus would have taken two more strides he would have been in position to prevent Pominville from scoring.  His lazy play did not effect his playing time until the 3rd period, where he only got three shifts.  It's time to say goodbye to Michal Kostka and bring up another forward.  Both Handzus and Marian Hossa are going to need some nights off down the stretch, to save their legs for the playoffs, but if you are carrying eight defensemen you can't give them a well needed breather.

* I don't know which I like less; Brandon Bollig on the ice in the final minute when the Hawks have a one goal lead or when he is one the ice when the Hawks are down two goals with less than three minutes to go.

* Hopefully Patrick Kane's late goal is what he needs to get back to scoring at an elite level.  It's no coincidence that the Hawks "slump" coincides with Kaner's scoring drought.

* The Hawks only had four takeaways Thursday night.  The Hawks are at their best when they force their opponent to make mistakes that end up at goals at the other end.  When they don't force the turnovers the over all product struggles.

* Kris Versteeg might not be showing up on the traditional score sheet but he has been a "fancy stats" monster of late. He had a 80% CF, which was the best Corsi percentage for a forward for the second straight night.  I have to believe this is why he got a few shifts with Toews and Sharp in the 2nd period.  As a whole, the Hawks dominated the possession stats but lost on the scoreboard.  The only Blackhawk with a CF% under 50 was Ben Smith at 47.1.

* The power play only had one shot on goal in four minutes of power play time. Fix this now!

Player(s) of the Game

I know Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves but the Hawks penalty kill kept them in the game.  I thought the game was going to turn around when they held the Wild to just two shots on goal during a full two minute two man advantage.  All that momentum was pissed away when Raanta Claus gave up the softie to Matt Cooke.  The Hawks have killed off 14 straight penalties which has me encouraged.  Unfortunately, the new CBA does not allow you to have both ends of your special teams to be clicking at the same time.

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

16:49

50.0

-19.5

16.7

-47.0

54.5

Seabrook, Brent

D

17:16

55.0

-12.2

16.7

-47.0

54.5

Leddy, Nick

D

17:54

75.0

16.5

66.7

23.8

83.3

Sharp, Patrick

R

19:06

70.0

9.2

28.6

-31.4

75.0

Brookbank, Sheldon

D

11:07

66.7

3.0

33.3

-16.7

40.0

Kruger, Marcus

C

14:50

58.3

-8.3

66.7

23.8

100

Toews, Jonathan

C

17:19

70.4

9.3

20.0

-38.3

75.0

Saad, Brandon

L

16:16

50.0

-18.3

50.0

3.8

71.4

Versteeg, Kris

R

08:21

80.0

19.4

100

64.3

80.0

Handzus, Michal

C

09:05

52.6

-15.1

60.0

18.3

80.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

16:38

61.3

-4.7

55.6

18.1

83.3

Smith, Ben

R

09:33

47.1

-21.7

33.3

-16.7

25.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

08:11

66.7

3.0

75.0

36.5

83.3

Rozsival, Michal

D

18:41

73.0

16.2

62.5

29.2

71.4

Bollig, Brandon

L

10:57

66.7

3.2

50.0

3.3

33.3

Shaw, Andrew

C

16:50

66.7

3.3

75.0

36.5

80.0

Hossa, Marian

R

16:09

68.0

5.5

20.0

-38.3

75.0

Kane, Patrick

R

17:14

65.2

1.4

60.0

18.3

80.0

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Ballard, Keith

D

11:14

28.6

-9.8

40.0

-18.3

33.3

Coyle, Charlie

C

15:36

37.0

1.9

60.0

10.0

16.7

Stoner, Clayton

D

11:52

30.4

-7.5

40.0

-18.3

33.3

Scandella, Marco

D

19:15

40.0

6.1

66.7

16.7

0.0

Parise, Zach

L

15:13

42.9

10.8

57.1

7.1

16.7

Fontaine, Justin

R

15:20

26.3

-12.4

66.7

16.7

28.6

Heatley, Dany

L

10:54

35.3

-0.6

57.1

7.1

20.0

Zucker, Jason

L

08:32

50.0

17.7

50.0

-3.3

75.0

Mitchell, Torrey

C

09:28

44.4

11.1

50.0

-3.3

75.0

Suter, Ryan

D

22:25

35.1

-1.2

55.6

5.6

45.5

Brodziak, Kyle

C

16:06

26.9

-13.1

50.0

-3.8

28.6

Niederreiter, Nino

R

13:22

37.5

2.4

40.0

-18.3

50.0

Cooke, Matt

L

16:56

22.7

-18.0

66.7

16.7

28.6

Brodin, Jonas

D

21:33

35.3

-0.9

50.0

-5.6

45.5

Pominville, Jason

R

12:52

33.3

-3.0

50.0

-4.5

16.7

Prosser, Nate

D

17:37

42.9

9.5

66.7

16.7

0.0

Haula, Erik

L

09:34

50.0

18.3

66.7

16.7

33.3

Granlund, Mikael

C

12:11

28.6

-8.7

40.0

-18.3

16.7

*all data retrieved from www.nhl.com and www.extraskater.com

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