Blackhawks suffer another frustrating defeat in 3-2 loss to Blue Jackets
It was one of <em>those </em>games ... again.
It’s a story that’s been told so many times it’s nauseating: the Chicago Blackhawks got an early lead but couldn’t hold onto it, losing 3-2 on the road on Saturday night to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chicago moved ahead in the first period when Vinnie Hinostroza’s shot was redirected by David Kampf and through Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for a 1-0 Hawks advantage. The game was tied by the first intermission, though, when Cam Atkinson got a power-play tally late with a few minutes left in the first.
The Chicagoland kiddos connect to make it 1-0 #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/E22W9bu3hO— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 25, 2018
In the second, Patrick Kane threaded a pass through the Columbus defense onto the stick of Tomas Jurco, who then sniped it past Bobrovsky to put Chicago ahead 2-1.
Tomas, it's Jur turn#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/HckqoOsjek— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 25, 2018
But a 2-on-1 led by former Hawk Artemi Panarin resulted in a goal for Pierre-Luc Dubois, sending the game into the third period in a 2-2 deadlock.
Then in the third, Josh Anderson put Columbus ahead for good with a goal from a tough angle at the 11:14 mark of the third period. Chicago dominated chances in the final period, but never found the equalizer.
I’ve got some thoughts, so let’s get to ‘em:
Ryan Hartman’s benching
Chicago looked like it had an odd-man rush brewing when Hartman was whistled for a bad high-sticking penalty well behind the play. That happened at the 17:06 mark of the first period and Columbus scored on the ensuing power play. As mentioned on the broadcast, Hartman didn’t play again, finishing with just 4:16 of ice time. It’s far from the first bad penalty Hartman has taken, and not his first benching. But for a guy in the middle of a wildly disappointing sophomore season following an impressive rookie year, it’s yet another disheartening development in a season full of them. Hartman was a first-round pick in 2013 and showed a ton of potential last season. But this disaster of a season has to raise questions about his future with the team at some point. He’s still a restricted free agent, so the Hawks don’t have to let him go for nothing after his contract expires this summer. Still, if a team comes calling for Hartman in a trade at the deadline or at the draft, general manager Stan Bowman is probably going to listen for longer than he would’ve one year ago.
Blue line turnovers
Brian Campbell listed this as one of the keys during the pregame show on NBC Sports Chicago: avoiding turnovers at each blue line. That was a great call, because the first two Columbus goals were the result of blue line turnovers. On the first one, Jonathan Toews turned it over near the blue line in the defensive zone when he could’ve cleared the puck, and Columbus maintained possession and got a goal from Cam Atkinson. In the second, a pass to the point from Vinnie Hinostroza was broken up, resulting in an odd-man rush and goal the other way. Turnovers near either blue line are the type of lethal mistake that this team has made too often this season.
The song remains the same
The Hawks played a decent game, had some chances that they didn’t turn into goals, hit the post a few teams, and then were undone by a somewhat soft goal in the third period that proved to be the game-winner. It’s a broken record at this point, isn’t it? And I promise I wrote this section before this tweet from Chicago Sun-Times’ reporter Mark Lazerus:
Lots of shots? Yup.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 25, 2018
A few Grade-A chances? Yup.
None of them going in? Yup.
An iffy, deflating goal-against? Yup.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017-18 Blackhawks.