Losses like the one that the Chicago Blackhawks experienced on Thursday night have a way of getting under your skin in the most painful of manners. As melodramatic as that may sound, it almost surely isn't anywhere near the type of overreaction we'll see across social media until the next time the Blackhawks hit the ice.
As sloppy an outing as it may have been for the first 40 minutes of their 3-2 loss, there were some small victories in the loss, the first one in regulation for the Hawks this season. Let's take a look at the three stars.
3. Trevor van Riemsdyk
I'm going to go more in-depth with this kid later on (perhaps Friday), but he's starting to gain recognition for his play, and with good reason. His possession numbers were just over the line, on the positive side of Corsi things, but he led the team in blocked shots, with four on the night, and finished at a plus-1. He's gaining more comfort out there, particularly on the offensive side of things. As his game develops, it'll be interesting to see just how large an asset he becomes on the Blackhawks' blue line.
2. Kris Versteeg
This oughta piss some people off. Versteeg had a fine game on Thursday night, his second start in the season. He finished third on the team in Corsi%, at an even 60 and finished third on the team with three shots. He had one of the better chances of the game on a nearly open net in the third period, but Pekka Rinne made a brilliant save to close the door. Nothing you can do. He's going to get on the scoresheet soon, though, and that relief should propel him to some type of consistency in the box score.
1. Ben Smith
Smith continues to be the type of player that Joel Quenneville can insert in any part of the lineup, and any situation, and he'll succeed. He scored the first goal of the game in the first period, giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the grittiest, Smithiest of goals down in front of the net. He possessed the puck well all night and logged over two minutes on both the power play and the PK unit. He registered a Corsi% up at 71, good for a relative Corsi just over 31 percent.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.