It's always interesting to see how a team responds coming off as big a win as the Chicago Blackhawks had on Sunday afternoon. A team that had been struggling a bit to put it together, they did a lot of very good things in defeating the St. Louis Blues on the road, only to turn around and host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. While the Hawks certainly had their chances to pull the win out, they were unable to do so in the 3-2 shootout loss.
Even with the fact that the Hawks trounced the Yotes last time the two teams met, the second half of a back-to-back provided at least a little bit of an indication that we wouldn't see the same result for the Hawks this team around. That was absolutely the case, as they needed plenty of extra time in order to find the end result in this one, as it required a shootout.
It wasn't as if the Blackhawks played particularly poorly (alliteration) in this one. The pace was there, but they were unable to connect on passes with alarming regularity, and whiffed on more than a few shot attempts as well. Combine that with the fact that Mike Smith returned to his 2012 form when he was an absolute wall between the pipes, and it's really no wonder that offense was difficult to come by in this one.
Marian Hossa was the star of the evening on his bobblehead night. He opened up the scoring more than midway through the second and was the one to even things up late in the third period. Sandwiched between his two goals were a Shane Doan tip-in goal on the power play (coming off of a really bad Patrick Kane penalty) and an Antoine Vermette deflection.
It appeared that the Hawks may have won the game at the tail end of the overtime period, as a puck bounced over the line before Mike Smith swatted it out. The goal was initially waved off and it was unclear whether there was a millimeter of space between the puck and the goalline, making Toronto unable to overturn it, apparently. Even if it was probably definitely a goal.
With the completion of the extra frame, things certainly favored the Coyotes. Mike Smith had a great night in net, while Antti Raanta isn't the guy you want manning the crease in that situation. Jonathan Toews was unable to score, Patrick Kane did Patrick Kane things, and Joel Quenneville continues to inexplicably put Patrick Sharp in as the third man in shootouts (oh, hi Teuvo). At the end of the day, missed opportunities at even strength and in the shootout, mostly due to sloppy play, cost the Hawks in this one.
The Hawks will try and get their first win of the homestand against Vancouver on Wednesday.
Three Stars of the Night
3. Bryan Bickell
Bickell didn't have a point on the evening, but there was a lot to like about his game tonight. He was active in the offensive zone and led the team with a 62 percent CF%. He also played the physical game. While that aspect is often overrated, Bickell has been criticized for not using his size to his advantage. Maybe throw him out in front of the net with the first power play unit, rather than Andrew Shaw? Just an idea.
2. Jonathan Toews
Toews had a characteristically strong night, with a pair of assists on both Hossa goals. He was putting the puck on net, with his six shots leading team, in addition to his CF% of 55 for the evening. He was also 56 percent at the dot, and had a couple of takeaways. He was extremely noticeable all over the ice throughout the game.
1. Marian Hossa
Hossa has scored the last four goals for the Blackhawks across their last two games. That's good in one respect, but not so much in the other. Hossa is finding a groove offensively and is finding the back of the net with regularity. He's not going to pot two a night, but an uptick in his shooting percentage shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. At the same time, other offensive contributions would have been nice this evening. Especially with the team firing 38 shots on net. Hoss looks great, though. The backchecking and defense are all there, and now the offense is catching back up.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.