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Blackhawks fall 2-1 in OT to Oilers despite Ward’s stellar effort

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Cam Ward’s best performance of the season just wasn’t enough.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Ward has had his fair share of criticisms, but he went a long way towards proving he’s a viable backup after Sunday night’s game.

The Chicago Blackhawks fell 2-1 to the Edmonton Oilers in OT at the United Center, but Ward wasn’t the problem — he actually was a bright spot.

The scoring started on an abbreviated 5-on-3, when Patrick Kane found Brent Seabrook all alone in the slot, Seabrook buried Kane’s pass top-shelf to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

Edmonton answered within the last two minutes of the period when Zack Kassian scored on a third-chance opportunity after two good saves by Ward.

The scoring ended until overtime, when Connor McDavid converted on a 3-on-1 that barely snuck past Ward.

3 Thoughts

Cam you believe it?

I think we all can admit there are/were question marks surrounding Cam Ward, but he was pretty good tonight. On Edmonton’s first goal, Ward made a pair of quality saves before Kassian scored, and, on the final goal, he almost got enough to save it. I think we can rest easy for a little while, knowing Ward’s rounding into form. After all, your backup is just supposed to give you chances to win when your starter needs rest, and Ward more than did that tonight.

Defense is better. Not great, but better

The defense turned in a solid outing. Duncan Keith made a couple crucial plays that broke up potential Oilers odd-man rushes. Henri Jokiharju continues to impress and prove that he’s a top-tier defenseman. I’d even dare say that Brandon Manning had a solid game. Sure, it wasn’t enough in the end, but if the defense can keep playing like this, it’ll be a massive improvement.

Nick Schmaltz and Brandon Saad might not score ever again

How snake-bitten have these two been lately? Schmaltz and Saad both had quality attempts and quality shots, but Cam Talbot turned both of them away. Schmaltz playing on the second line has improved his overall offense, as he’s not constantly looking for Patrick Kane to dish to.

Saad has had the most rotten luck as of late. He had a good game against the Anaheim Ducks earlier this week, and he’s shown a bit of a chip on his shoulder. But he’s still having trouble finding the back of the net.

3 Stars

  1. Cam Ward — 24 saves
  2. Cam Talbot — 32 saves
  3. Brent Seabrook — PPG