After an impressive third period comeback in Philadelphia on Thursday night, the Blackhawks appeared to leave any willingness to compete in Pennsylvania.
As was the case in the first 40 minutes against the Flyers, the most impressive players on the Hawks’ all-star filled roster were the rookies. Dylan Olsen was clearly the most physical player wearing red on Friday night, Andrew Shaw was all over the ice and Jimmy Hayes saw his ice time and role continue to matriculate towards the top of the roster.
Olsen had his best game with Chicago. He was credited with a team-high five hits in the game and showed confidence chasing his dump in on a couple occasions.
Shaw once again showed absolutely no fear. He was credited with one blocked shot, two hits and one takeaway. He also stood up strong in the crease and didn’t worry about the stitches in his face from a fight in Philadelphia when Shane O’Brien talked too much for his liking.
And Hayes made perhaps the biggest jump of all the rookies. We talked about his role climbing the depth chart after the Flyers game, and asked if he had taken Bryan Bickell’s place on the roster.
The box score would indicate that he has: Hayes had significantly more ice time (14:46) than Bickell (8:14) in the game, and while Bickell failed to register anything but a single missed shot on the stat sheet, Hayes put the puck on net twice and was credited with three hits in the game.
Indeed, when coach Joel Quenneville sent three forwards onto the ice to begin the third period, it was Hayes with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Nick Leddy had another really rough night. He was credited with two blocked shots and two hits in the game, but was on the ice for all four Colorado goals and had a number of costly mistakes with the puck.
But putting the night squarely on the shoulders of a 20-year-old doesn’t do the pathetic performance the Hawks provided on Friday night appropriate service.
The blue line was handicapped the entire night because the coaches decided to waste a roster spot on John Scott again. In the second night of a back-to-back with travel home from a physical game in Philadelphia in between, Scott was given four shifts and 3:25 total ice time.
Dave Bolland got into a fight. He also failed to register a point for the 11th time in 16 games since the start of December.
Michael Frolik received a great vote of confidence (or an audition for other teams) when he started on a line with Toews and Marian Hossa. He responded with a decent, but once again ineffective game.
Niklas Hjalmarsson was minus-three on the night, and could have taken a photograph of the final goal from the Avs. He stood on the edge of the blue paint and watched as Chuck Kobasew put a rebound into the back of the net.
Perhaps the only veteran that had a decent game was Toews, who did what he’s been doing all season. He won 18 of 24 faceoffs and was credited with two takeaways in the game.
But beyond Toews, the effort from the home team was perfectly reflected in their score: zero.