Blackhawks Burn Out Against Calgary

Derek Leung

The West Coast Road Trip Got Started With An Overtime Loss To The Calgary Flames.

Well, that was interesting. The Blackhawks opened up their Wild West road trip by visiting the Calgary Flames for one of the later game starts this season. I hope you are hitting the snooze button this week because this is just the first of several late starts heading into the Olympic break. Pour the extra coffee because it's going to be a late one.

The game started with one of seemingly hundreds of odd man rushes on the night. This one found the back of the net before much had even transpired yet. The see-saw scoring then got underway with some soft goals given up by Antti Raanta and Reto Berra. Each team tallied a short handed goal during the game as well. After getting kicked around for nearly two periods, Antti Raanta was pulled in favor of Corey Crawford, who performed very well for the remainder of the game. After the second intermission, Karri Ramo took the net from Reto Berra for the Flames and also played well.

Kris Versteeg had a really nice pass from behind the net to set up the Patrick Kane goal in the first period. Brandon Pirri put the puck in below the goal for Versteeg and this plan worked well.  There were a few other strong shifts for Versteeg but for the most part, this was not a good game for him. He seemed to have trouble keeping the puck and his defensive play was lacking on more than one occasion. The second line on which he played with Patrick Kane and Brandon Pirri did have some good looking shifts but that seemed more indicative of their play than Versteeg's. If that line remains together, some chemistry would be welcome. Pirri is trying to get his timing back both due to missing significant time due to injury and switching from the AHL to the NHL. Kane has changed line mates as often as his socks this season so he would likely benefit from some consistency as well.

The first line started out slowly but gained momentum as the game went on.  Marian Hossa ended up being credited with two goals and the line was dominant in possession. The checking line of Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith had nice possession numbers and contributed a goal to the effort. They matched up against tough competition as Quenneville has been apt to do this season. Their competition also put up the best number for the Flames, albeit those numbers without context are quite poor.  In relative terms however, they did lead the team and contribute on the score sheet.

As has been the trend lately, the game went to overtime and as is also the trend, the Blackhawks failed to get the second point. There were definitely some moments of sloppy play this evening that led to scoring chances for the Flames; however, much of the Blackhawks play was fairly solid and is supported by the stats as well. There were several times during the game that all of us watching were shocked that the puck did not find the back of the net. Much of this is luck and fortunately for us, luck tends to even itself out. If the Blackhawks can make some minor changes and tighten up the little sloppy habits they are dealing with right now, they will continue to control possession of the puck. When the puck luck favors them and they get back to having those pucks go in, things will look much brighter.

A few other notes before I close this out. The Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad line was not that great tonight. Shaw seemed off of his game as did Saad. Bickell was running around looking for the hits everyone seems to want from him and blowing past chances to get the puck as a result. Early in the game, he focused more on back checking and won some possession battles that led to shots on goal. Once the hit seeking started, that line started to slide downward. Unlike the last few games, it wasn't Johnny Oduya taking the heat for defensive lapses tonight but Brent Seabrook, who looked to be involved directly with several odd man rushes against the team. This simply cannot happen to this defensive corp so hopefully an increase in the quality of their opponents over the next several games will help them focus.

The Advanced Stats below are as you would expect. The Blackhawks absolutely dominated possession in all aspects of the game, which makes this loss that much harder to swallow.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

20:03

71.1

10.7

71.1

12.0

62.5

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

20:11

57.1

-11.0

54.5

-13.6

20.0

Seabrook, Brent

D

18:01

62.9

-2.3

62.9

-1.2

60.0

Leddy, Nick

D

16:51

69.0

6.5

69.0

7.5

83.3

Sharp, Patrick

R

17:27

72.5

13.5

71.8

13.5

76.9

Kruger, Marcus

C

11:06

68.2

4.9

66.7

3.8

14.3

Toews, Jonathan

C

17:51

76.3

19.2

75.7

19.2

76.9

Saad, Brandon

L

13:23

52.6

-14.4

52.6

-13.6

50.0

Versteeg, Kris

R

16:26

50.0

-18.4

50.0

-17.5

42.9

Oduya, Johnny

D

19:48

55.9

-12.8

53.1

-15.5

20.0

Smith, Ben

R

10:19

75.0

14.0

73.9

13.4

20.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

10:01

55.6

-10.7

55.6

-9.9

50.0

Rozsival, Michal

D

18:31

71.9

11.0

71.9

12.2

85.7

Pirri, Brandon

C

14:37

54.5

-12.5

54.5

-11.7

50.0

Bollig, Brandon

L

10:25

72.2

9.6

70.6

8.4

16.7

Shaw, Andrew

C

11:06

47.4

-20.9

47.4

-20.1

50.0

Hossa, Marian

R

16:06

69.7

7.9

68.8

7.6

69.2

Kane, Patrick

R

18:37

55.6

-12.0

55.6

-11.1

50.0

CALGARY FLAMES

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF% 5v5

CF%Rel

5v5

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Smid, Ladislav

D

15:24

40.0

6.2

40.0

5.2

87.5

Russell, Kris

D

21:05

29.7

-9.3

31.4

-7.6

50.0

Giordano, Mark

D

20:17

30.6

-7.9

30.6

-9.1

21.4

Wideman, Dennis

D

13:56

44.4

12.0

46.2

13.3

70.0

Brodie, TJ

D

20:40

35.1

-0.8

36.1

-0.4

21.4

Colborne, Joe

C

14:37

30.4

-6.7

31.8

-5.8

60.0

Backlund, Mikael

C

19:40

31.3

-6.4

32.3

-6.0

60.0

Westgrath, Kevin

R

08:53

36.4

0.9

36.4

0.0

100

McGrattan, Brian

R

07:13

38.9

3.9

38.9

3.1

50.0

Bouma, Lance

L

13:22

37.9

3.2

37.9

2.2

15.4

Stajan, Matt

C

16:01

43.3

10.9

43.3

10.0

15.4

Stempniak, Lee

R

19:19

35.3

-0.5

36.4

0.0

75.0

Monahan, Sean

C

12:54

35.0

-0.8

36.8

0.6

85.7

Hudler, Jiri

C

19:13

30.0

-8.0

31.0

-7.5

66.7

Street, Ben

C

08:51

31.6

-5.0

31.6

-5.9

50.0

Galiardi, TJ

L

13:41

34.8

-1.1

36.4

0.0

66.7

Butler, Chris

D

21:56

37.1

2.3

37.1

1.2

62.5

Jones, David

R

13:51

43.5

10.1

43.5

9.3

16.7

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

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