Blackhawks vs. Capitals: 3 stars of the night
Shooting percentage doomed the Chicago Blackhawks once again, as they drop another at home. Who helped us find some solace in the loss?
The home woes of the Chicago Blackhawks continued on Friday night, as they came off of their 5-0 win on Tuesday to a strong start against the Washington Capitals, only to fall by a 3-2 count. At some point, you'd imagine that the Hawks would find their way past average goaltenders, but that wasn't the case here, as the trend continues. It's almost become exasperating to watch, not necessarily because of what the Hawks are doing, but because the frustration they're likely feeling in not being able to put the puck in the net has carried over into the spectators as well. Which is why this edition of 'Three Stars' will be devoid of snark.
This was another example of the Hawks looking great in the Corsi department and vastly outshooting their opponent, only to falter on the scoreboard. What can you really say at this point? The Hawks aren't as average or as bad as their record might indicate, but with every game that passes that reflects a loss in the standings, it's beginning to feel more and more like this team is missing something. We thought that perhaps they turned a corner against the Montreal Canadiens with that blowout on Tuesday, but there's still a ways to go here.
Of course, that statement appears to be induced with a great deal more panic than it actually is. This is an elite team, even with Patrick Sharp sidelined for the time being. They'll find their game and start stringing wins together more consistently. There's still a long way to go here. Beating the mediocre teams would help, though. Enough with the monologue, onto the reason we're here:
3. David Rundblad
What the hell, I'm going to throw him a bone here. Rundblad has been much better of late, although that hasn't really translated to anything on the stat sheet. He played almost 15 minutes tonight and is clearly showing growth next to Trevor van Riemsdyk, as Michal Rozsival starts packing his things to head to the glue factory. He took four (!) shots from the blue line and played a minute and 14 seconds with the man advantage. His Corsi% was right about at 74, tops on the night for a defenseman. He's finally getting a shot at consistent ice time for the first time in his career, and if this continues, Stan Bowman won't have a problem rationalizing that trade.
2. Brandon Saad
He's been in the doghouse, so hopefully opening the scoring with his first period goal will help him start to crawl out of there. His relative Corsi was less than a full percentage point into the negative, so he was about right in line with where the Hawks fell on the night in that department. Nonetheless, five shots on goal and finally getting one in, coming on a nice feed from Marian Hossa, gets Saad in the mix here. Hopefully he can avoid a trip back down to the bottom six and fire up that breakout campaign that everyone in the world predicted.
1. Brad Richards
We'll probably take a deeper look at Richards' recent improvements with the Hawks, but there's a lot to like about the way he played on Friday night. He won eight of 10 draws and had an assist on the power play, with four shots on the night.. His line was a source of consistency for the Hawks. If only he'd have seen more than the 12:52 he logged for the night. He was second in Corsi% among everyone for the game, at a touch over 82 percent. Again, he's improving and it's been fun to see him get his legs under him in this recent stretch.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.