Walk the Line: Shootout Boxing with Coyotes (3) and Blackhawks (2)
Coming up a fraction of an inch short of taking all six points on a three-games-in-four nights stretch probably should feel better than it does. But when the Blackhawks fail on four power-play chances – including a 4-on-3 in overtime – and take a dumb penalty that gives an inferior opponent a chance to swing the momentum, it becomes a little more difficult to swallow.
The no-call on the ice is what put the ‘Hawks at a disadvantage even before the video review, and to me the more disheartening fact of that same sequence was Brandon Saad hitting the crossbar that would’ve made the puck that toed the line moot. Antti Raanta ended up getting out-classed in the shootout, Mike Smith decided not to completely suck for a night and the Blackhawks dropped the first of an eight-game homestand, 3-2 to Arizona.
With Kris Versteeg about to make his return against Vancouver on Wednesday, the focus now shifts to who will be sent down to Rockford to open up a roster spot. Will it be Teuvo? Nordstrom? We’ll find out soon enough.
But let’s take a quick look at some points from this loss…
- As close as Shaw was to getting credited for the winning goal, he was just as close to blowing the whole thing. A bonehead turnover in his own zone led to a breakaway that Raanta was able to stone. I’d seriously like to know why this guy doesn’t catch more flak from the beats and why Q continues to put every ounce of trust in giving Shaw power-play time and minutes in big situations. I know us here at CtA have harped on this topic plenty, but it deserves mentioning as long as it continues happening. In his defense, he won 12 of 15 at the dot.
- Speaking of problems, Ben Smith continues to be terrible. His gaffe led directly to Arizona’s second goal, and he spent most of his nearly 12 minutes on his ass. Also, Johnny Oduya was #bad again after a solid showing against St. Louis.
- Patrick Kane cannot take that penalty. I’m guessing he was voicing his displeasure over an offsides call, but that’s no excuse to be sent to the box for only the second time this season. The mistake ended up in the back of the net, and the Hawks were caught in a tie game despite owning most of the contest up to that point.
- To speak on more positive notes, the Saad-Toews-Hossa line was fantastic. I’m convinced Toews listened to the podcast, because even he would admit the bit of ribbing we gave him for his recent play was warranted. He had an extremely solid all-around game and assisted on both of Hossa’s goals. Saad drew the penalty on Erat in overtime and created the opportunity on the delayed call.
- Staying with Hossa, let’s keep this little run going, shall we? He’s scored each of the Blackhawks’ last four goals after netting the final two in Sunday’s win over the Blues. He scored four goals in his previous 16 games combined.
Oh, let us know what you think about Teuvo…
Everything else I have is in Boxing….
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