You Again?

We failed to recap the first regulation loss (my fault) that bucked the point streak to open the season but the difference in both that contest and this one against the Oilers was the same. One bad period where the Hawks surrendered four goals and it put the game out of reach. The difference between Friday and Sunday’s game was that Chicago battled back and nearly completed the comeback against the Oil.

There really isn’t a lot to say about Ray Emery’s performance as the starter. He was awful. The team in front of him wasn’t much better but the first goal he gave up against Mike Brown pretty much summed it up. A soft floater from the top of the slot from a 14th forward on most NHL rosters. Not long after that, Sam Gagner’s goal was a tap in off a blocked shot that found him six feet from the net.  The Oilers spent the vast majority of the first ten minutes of the game stuffing their forecheck down the Hawks’ throat. They were rewarded with a third goal from the ever quotable Barbaro at the end of those 10 minutes on a great pass from Taylor Hall after Toews lost a defensive zone faceoff.

There’s really not one good thing for the Blackhawks in that preceding paragraph which tells you all you need to know about Emery’s night.  Corey Crawford would surrender a powerplay strike from Ganger near the end of the period and it was looking like he was on his way to another renowned night against the Hawks.

Then Devan Dubnyk did whatever this is.

Credit to Kane for the patience to wait for an open net but I’d have to imagine Dub will be hearing about that in the film room tomorrow. Marian Hossa got the Hawks within two on a beautiful pass from the Captain and that would be the only time the game would really feel close until the third period. A deflection from the Oiler Captain would push the lead back to three while Sheldon “the accountant” [s/t to Slak] Brookbank would add a very strange shorthanded goal to get Chicago back to within two about four minutes later. That was shortlived when Taylor Hall’s deflection on the powerplay would again balloon the lead to three.

At that point the Oilers would lead by three and be a perfect 3-for-3 on the man advantage. That might be related.

Brent Seabrook had a cannon shot from the top of the right circle late in the second and the Hawks would go into the dressing room down just two. The Oilers barely possessed the puck in the third being outshot 11 to 4 while giving the Hawks two chances on the powerplay. They’d only cash in once when Kane scored his second of the night. While the Hawks would threaten several times they just could never find the equalizer in the final 13 minutes. 6-5, second straight game without a point.

  • Of the six goals allowed, three came on the man advantage (all against Crawford) while the only even strength tallies came against Ray Emery. Crawford was pretty solid at even strength and the Blackhawks seemed to handle the Oilers forecheck much better with him out there. Emery was under siege for the 9 minutes and change he played and while I don’t want to pile on him, he wasn’t good tonight.
  • I admit to having not seen much of the Avs loss but what I did see wasn’t positive for the 2nd and 3rd lines. Tonight, Gorilla Salad only saw four minutes of ice and the Hawks rolled 11 forwards pretty much for the final 30 minutes. During Patrick Sharp’s absence it should be Joel Quenneville’s prerogative to determine who the best matches for Patrick Kane are. I was a defender of the 10-36-88 combination for a while but as it wore on even I drew tired of it. Stalberg isn’t the finisher that Kane needs on his opposite wing and it’s only been apparent in flashes that Bolland can be in the middle. At this stage, I’m very comfortable with what the 3rd and 4th lines have provided in the early part of the season, as long as Bollig is in the press box. I’d lean more towards bringing up a lamp lighter from Rockford to try on with Kane and Bolland. The bottom six didn’t factor into the Hawks scoresheet tonight and they’ll need that supplemental scoring if the defense is going to be leaky for a stretch going forward. It’ll be interesting to see what Q does here in the near future.
  • That last bullet was long and if you tl;dr I totally understand.
  • This is more picking nits than anything but it felt like after Kane scored his 2nd goal that he was a little trigger happy trying to get that last goal for the hatty to complete the trick. I’m not going to sit here and chastise a goal scorer for getting rubber to net (and it would have really helped in getting those awful green hats on the ice to be disposed of) but some of his attempts did feel forced.
  •  Not sure I want to live in a world where Mike Brown not only scores but is smart enough to back away from a Mayers instigation that was designed to change the momentum.
  • It would, however, have been funny to watch Taylor Hall fight Andrew Shaw. The equine was smart enough to not waste five minutes in the box in a trade for Shaw but watching him struggle to find a fighting form while having 10 inches of reach on Shaw would have been entertaining.
  • Have to give Sheldon Brookbank credit for managing an even +/- in 16 minutes because when the game started I was in favor of Rozsival starting.
  • The powerplay penalty kill was fucking clown shoes.
  • The Blackhawks absolutely porked the Oilers in the dot 62% to 38%. Dave Bolland won 11 of 20 draws. Marcus Kruger was 8 for 13. What?

Two straight regulation losses doesn’t suddenly make this team dog shit on the canvas. The two bad periods within these regulation losses are exactly that though. Avoiding those 3+ goal outbursts in a period while cleaning up the penalty kill will go a long way to making the upcoming road trip a success. It’s the end of a stretch of 7 games in 11 days so at least there’s some well deserved rest upcoming.