Blackhawks Lose To Rangers In Their Olympic Return

Paul Bereswill

The Blackhawks can't finish a late game comeback and fall to the Rangers 2-1.

Sorry for the Genesis reference in the promo headline, but it was too easy.  I wouldn't say the Blackhawks really laid down but they played more like a team whose majority of skaters spent the last three weeks playing halfway around the world.  This game was exactly what I expected after the Olympic break,  I would have liked a win after both the Blues and Avalanche lost last night, but oh well.

Both teams definitely seemed to have their legs at the start of the game.   There were only four stoppages during the first seven minutes as both teams went end to end.  About nine minutes into the game, Patrick Kane found himself in on a 2 on 1 with Andrew Shaw.  The puck seemed to go on edge during Kane's cross ice pass and Shaw missed a wide open net.  Moments later the Rangers started to own the puck in the Hawks' zone and put an end to the scoreless tie.  J.T. Miller got behind Jonathan Toews and knocked the puck away where it found Benoit Pouliot who got it to Derrick Brassard.  His first shot looked to hit  Nick Leddy in the leg but Brassard was able to put the rebound into the back of the net.  The Hawks would get two power play chances after the Rangers' goal but could not get Brassard's goal back.

The game remained scoreless until late in the 3rd period when Rick Nash did what he has always done against the Blackhawks and score a goal.  Niklas Hjalmarsson was able to poke check the puck from him, but Nash recovered and was allowed to cycle back to the center of the ice and score.  The FNG, Peter Regin, saved my lazy ass from having to look up which horrible late 90's Hawks team was the last to get shutout in back to back games, with his first Blackhawks goal at 19:48. Ben Smith made a nice lead pass which got Regin to split the Rangers defenders and put a wrist shot between the legs of Cam Talbot.  Brent Seabrook picked up his 29th assist of the year on the play as well.  The Hawks had a chance for a miraculous tying goal in the closing seconds, but Talbot was there to deny a shot from Marian Hossa with Patrick Kane on the doorstep.

* The top line and the 4th line stayed in place all night but the middle six forwards where jumbled around like socks and underwear in the dryer.  Peter Regin went from centering Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg in the first half of the game to skating between Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell the second half.  I pretty much expect Q to pull the ultimate Q move and scratch Regin for Michal Handzus on Saturday.  Take away his goal and Regin really didn't have much to offer Thursday night.

* One Olympian that didn't look like he missed a beat was Duncan Keith.  He was his usual fast self with his active stick in full effect.  He was able to make a great recovery and stop a Carl Hagelin breakaway during the Hawks' first power play.  He was second on the team in ice time at 23:11 and finished with five shots on goal, a blocked shot and two takeaways.

* Niklas Hjalmarsson was pretty pissed off after the Nash goal and he had every right to be.  Andrew Shaw delivered a nice pick on Hjammer that allowed Nash to gain the center of the ice where Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell showed no interest in preventing a shot.  That was a pretty bad defensive effort by the forwards on the ice.  No excuse.

* Thursday night was the perfect game for the Hawks to get bodies to the net and play for some "greasy goals."  Instead they decided to play cute hockey which is a really dumb idea considering these guys haven't played together in three weeks.  Too many passes, too many one and done possessions; they deserved to lose this game.

* The Hawks were pretty good from the dot winning 56% of the faceoffs.  Peter Regin lead the way at 70% (7/10) followed by Jonathan Toews at 62% (13 for 21).  Andrew Shaw was 2 for 9. Woof!

* Maybe one of these days the Blackhawks will learn how to properly enter the offensive zone while on the power play.

Player of the Game

20140427_rnb_sh4_071

Photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Usually when you play the Rangers and don't get Henrik Lundqvist in net you breathe a sign of relief.  That hasn't been the case this year as Cam Talbot has been very good when he gets the call.  He had to make 31 saves and faced 13 shots in the 3rd period but he only had to make a few tough saves.  Most of the Blackhawks shots came from a long ways out and through no traffic.

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

20:30

57.9

0.4

46.2

-0.3

76.9

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

17:04

73.7

21.1

75.0

36.9

71.4

Seabrook, Brent

D

19:59

56.8

-1.8

41.7

-8.3

78.6

Leddy, Nick

D

13:37

47.1

-13.6

25.0

-27.4

100

Sharp, Patrick

R

16:30

55.6

-3.3

41.2

-7.5

88.9

Regin, Peter

C

13:50

65.0

9.8

56.3

14.1

83.3

Kruger, Marcus

C

09:24

63.6

6.9

50.0

4.3

25.0

Brookbank, Sheldon

D

16:29

61.5

5.8

43.8

-3.6

100

Toews, Jonathan

C

14:45

60.0

3.1

42.9

-4.6

100

Saad, Brandon

L

13:17

63.6

8.3

58.8

18.3

100

Versteeg, Kris

R

17:22

65.2

10.7

62.5

23.0

75.0

Smith, Ben

R

09:31

57.1

-0.7

45.5

-1.1

0.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

10:30

43.8

-17.5

41.7

-6.0

80.0

Rozsival, Michal

D

15:00

45.5

-17.0

33.3

-19.4

100

Bollig, Brandon

L

08:32

63.6

6.9

42.9

-4.0

0.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

13:05

45.0

-17.1

38.5

-10.3

75.0

Hossa, Marian

R

14:27

57.1

-0.8

27.3

-23.9

88.9

Kane, Patrick

R

18:53

57.7

0.0

55.0

13.8

83.3

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Girardi, Dan

D

17:29

48.3

9.5

57.9

6.5

22.2

Stralman, Anton

D

18:19

50.0

11.1

66.7

19.4

0.0

Klein, Kevin

D

14:53

25.0

-25.0

31.3

-31.9

60.0

Miller, T.J.

C

11:58

47.6

7.3

55.6

2.8

33.3

Carcillo, Daniel

L

10:31

35.7

-8.0

55.6

2.2

0.0

Brassard, Derick

C

11:30

47.1

6.1

72.7

23.9

33.3

Moore, John

D

14:25

23.8

-25.3

29.4

-35.5

60.0

Staal, Marc

D

19:24

44.8

4.0

63.2

14.6

0.0

Richards, Brad

C

15:18

48.1

8.9

52.4

-2.2

37.5

Kreider, Chris

C

12:53

39.1

-4.5

53.8

0.2

0.0

Stepan, Derek

C

16:01

34.6

-11.5

46.7

-9.7

0.0

Boyle, Brian

C

12:01

33.3

-10.6

50.0

-4.3

0.0

Callahan, Ryan

R

16:21

45.5

4.4

50.0

-5.3

37.5

McDonagh, Ryan

D

19:36

51.7

15.0

63.2

14.6

22.2

Moore, Dominic

C

09:55

36.4

-6.9

50.0

-4.3

0.0

Nash, Rick

L

12:45

42.1

-0.3

54.5

1.1

0.0

Hagelin, Carl

L

15:16

45.8

5.1

47.4

-9.8

42.9

Pouliot, Benoit

L

11:35

50.0

10.0

69.2

20.5

25.0

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

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