Balanced Blackhawks Blast Oilers

After a tough home loss against Vegas, the Blackhawks bounced back with a strong matinee performance against the stunningly mediocre Edmonton Oilers.

John Hayden, Connor Murphy and Cody Franson were the scratches and Anton Forsberg was back between the pipes, but the Blackhawks got a solid, balanced attack to run away from the Oilers.

Nick Schmaltz got the party started at 8:03 into the game.

Ryan Hartman and Jan Rutta picked up the assists on Schmaltz’s tenth of the season.

Less than 90 seconds later – as they were just finishing the announcement of the Schmaltz goal at the United Center, Alex DeBrincat banked a puck off Edmonton’s Mark Letestu and into the net to extend Chicago’s lead to two.

DeBrincat’s 14th of the year ties him with a former Erie teammate this season – Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

Chicago had one full power play and skated the final 48 seconds of the opening period with an advantage but didn’t get anything done on either. The Blackhawks out-shot the Oilers 15-11 in the first, and Forsberg was sharp when he needed to be.

Darnell Nurse put a backhand puck on net four minutes into the second that slipped through Forsberg and into the net. It wasn’t a great goal for Forsberg to let in and cut the Chicago lead to 2-1.

The two sides skated back and fourth for 15 minutes after the Nurse goal and it appeared the Hawks would take a one-goal lead to the third until Jonathan Toews made a strong power move to the net and Brandon Saad tipped the puck home with nine seconds left to make the score 3-1 Hawks.

Edmonton out-shot the Hawks 11-7 in the second period.

Jordan Oesterle scored his third of the season at 9:52 into the third period to push the lead to three.

That’s where the score would end, with Chicago picking up a much needed home victory.

Edmonton put 33 shots on Forsberg, who rebounded after the soft goal allowed to Nurse to have a strong third period.

Kempny and Brent Seabrook led the way with four blocked shots each. Tommy Wingels had a strong game, winning six of seven faceoffs and leading Chicago with five hits. David Kampf won nine of 12 faceoffs as the Hawks had a strong afternoon at the dot.

Chicago visits Ottawa on Tuesday night.

37 thoughts on “Balanced Blackhawks Blast Oilers

  1. Nice effort-albeit against a weaker team. Passing was better as was puck control, with the following exceptions- what is wrong with Seabrook (effort seems 70%, passing is random/erratic at times?); Forsling/ Kempny’s puck passing & management!
    Glad Rutta is back and Osterle is very capable as well. John Hayden should be playing every game – sit Wingels or Bouma or Panik! Real tests are in the week to come!

  2. A pretty good effort all the way around. The Toews line looks good with Hinostroza. Hayden and Murphy both sat. Interesting.

  3. Toews looks like Toews lately… The board battles leading to Oesterle’s goal, the power set up for Saad’s… Keep it up, Jonny.

  4. Nice win for Forsberg, top line with really bringing it. Halfway point 46 pts. in a less than great first half, 54 pts in a decent 2nd half not unrealistic. Anyways a road game in Ottawa and then as GH referred to big home games against Jets and Wild with a Detroit at home next Sunday then a week off.

  5. Nice game Forsberg made a huge save right away could have been a different game if Edmonton scored. Forsberg looked good. Toews line looks good as does the 2nd line. Please no more Panik Hayden provides more upside. Need to pick up every point available on this home stand. Go Hawks!

  6. Nice to see (or not see firsthand) Franson back in the press box. Kempny looked solid again, for however long he is allowed to dress and play.

    Kampf 9/12 faceoff wins, I don’t know his percentage so far offhand, but I’ve been advocating Anisimov play the wing regardless, he is dangerous up front, bangs and crashes the front of the net.

    Speaking of Anisimov, there will be two extra forwards when he returns — Kampf is steady, he deserves to not only stay on the team, but play regularly.

    My guess is they will return him to Rockford, but in my opinion that will be a mistake, the Penguins won the Cup the last two years bringing guys up when necessary, they performed well, and remained in the lineup thru two parades in a row.

    Granted, the Hawks objective is to simply make the playoffs, as it should be, but once they qualify, they have the potential with a healthy Crawford — as Q likes to say — to be “dangerous.” If they make the playoffs, lay the farm down on LA or the Hawks to make the Finals with clearly the two best goalies in the West, hands down. What Vegas is doing is a nice story, but in no way sustainable to make a long playoff run.

  7. Liked the way they played today and 19, 20 and Hino did well together and Schmaltz continues to show why he was a first rounder.
    Kempny should be in-Franson out (can’t have two or three non-mobile d-men), especially as stated with quicker teams (ie.-Jets, Knights, Nashville)

  8. Kampf has gone 15 and 6 in last 2 games in faceoffs 71% after 25 and 34 up to Vegas game, only 42 %. He is nlw 40 and 40 overall if he can maintain that level would be a big help. Like to see centering 4th line big d zone starts if can do that consistently, as offence will never be his strong suit but could be a gamer there.

  9. If Kampf continues to perform I would be surprised to see him sent back to Rockford. Not sure who goes but we probably have 2 weeks to figure that out. Hino has provided a nice spark to the top line – we badly need that to continue. The skill that Schmaltz showed on the first goal was high end. I went back and looked at the 2014 draft and Schmaltz is definitely a top 10 pick if that draft was held today, maybe top 5.

  10. Kempny looks great skating. The problem is hes forced to skate up and down the ice because he forgets hes a defenceman. Olczyk pointed it out once. But there was 4 or 5 times he could have gotten burned. One time he did it Wingels had to take on McDavid because Kempny was down low. Not the ideal situation.

    Hinostroza being on that top line has sparked things. Kudos to Q for giving him a shot. But….you cant pass the puck blindly behind your pack at the point. Thatll drive Q nuts.

    Hartman and Saad going to the front of the net. More action in front of the crease. Keep it up.

  11. Neglected to give the accolades due to Hinostroza, he has shown he belongs in the NHL permanently, and on a top 9 forward slot. There is no disputing this, at minimum, based upon his sample size so far. He hasn’t done a thing to warrant being scratched anymore.

    As for Kempny, assuming, arguendo, he is making mistakes (which I disagree with), can you blame him? He hasn’t got a fair shot to play regularly all season; when he did last year, the Hawks went on their best streak of the season to overtake Minnesota. Of course, he was non-existent in the playoffs.

    Kempny has a higher end potential than Rutta, there’s a reason Bowman signed him to begin with, and re-signed him. Until lately (finally), Rutta has gotten the benefit of the doubt from Q all season. He’s been — as Q likes to say — “Ok”, but he is the second coming of Hjamlerson.

    We’ll see how it plays out, one game at a time.

  12. Other then Kampfs 2nd and 3rd game been above .500 on faceoffs. Just when we were talking about faceoff centers the other wk. It took Krugs a full yr with that coach and then he was amazing. Be sweet if 8 and 64 be at least 50%.

    Were looking at some good secondary scoring when 15 is back.

  13. MS- Q said Anisimov was closer than Crawford. Do you mess with the all american line of 38-8-88? Schmaltz was 38% today, 40% on the season. Kampf won 9 of 12 today and is now 50.6% and is very sound defensively. He really looks like the 3c of the future. He probably goes down. But id like to see him stay.

    Id like to see Panik waived. Whatever magic he had last year he just doesnt have now. But youre still left with the problem of who sits on a nightly basis when Hayden is re-inserted and Anisimov returns.

  14. Will agree with Iceman that Rutta has been meh. I will disagree on Kempny. That has always been his m.o. he pinches when he shouldnt. He steps up for the hit when he shouldnt. I understand mistakes happen. But those are the same mistakes he was making 60 nhl games ago. His posession numbers are good. He skates well. He can play the body…but its like hes trying to do too much to stay in the lineup. I cant say I blame him.

  15. It’s always nice to get a win, especially when you’re looking up at every team in your division. But, let’s be honest, the Hawks play an undisciplined uncoordinated team game and until that is tightened up a whole lot they will continue to be on the outside of the playoffs or at best a one and done team. The defensive zone coverage and the ill advised plays in the neutral and offensive zones leaves much to be desired, and corrected. I suppose much of that is due to the young inexperienced players and the hope there is that they will get better with more experience.

    On a positive note, a few of those young players are making strides. Hinostroza has been very good and seems to be the wake up call for Toews and Saad – that needs to keep happening. Schmaltz is back to what we hoped he would be. Now if we could swap shooting mentalities between Schmaltz and Keith we might have something. I’m not a Q basher, but if there is one complaint about Q that I feel justified in having it would be Keith on the PP, and even beyond that – Q not demanding Keith NEVER attempt a shot on goal. NEVER. Q should fine Keith for every time he shoots the puck.

  16. Mo Schmaltz was 6 and 9 on the draws yesterday and Hartman 4 for 4 so that line was over 50% , if they can maintain that there is no big issue.

  17. Ernie-this whole team pinches/rushes a lot–2 and 7 have made a living doing it (7 can’t get back if mistake happens and 2 used to be able to out-skate it when things go badly) so pointing out that Kempny does it makes sense as his role models– model it.
    This year Seabs has been caught in the middle purgatory of the zone and sometimes it helps and often it hurts.
    Kempny has lots to give-really good skater, physical presence, nice shot and as you stated the ability to join the rush. He can learn and he should be on the job. (He hasn’t been given the chance in the NHL)
    Some team will take him and they should–he has the upside to be a good 3/4 HHLer.

    I hope (and think he will) Hino continues to shine. I re-call he did well the first few games last year and lost that magic-I think the year of maturity and playing pro as opposed to limited NCAA schedule has really helped. (Playing with 19 doesn’t hurt either.)

  18. I think part of why Kempny is not getting playing time is he plays as an individual out there and doesn’t seem to have alot of chemistry with others. It makes it hard to find a place he fits in to be a asset.

  19. The Hawks have been scoring more in the past few games. The offense as a whole looks better. This team looks completely different when Toews and his line are on.

  20. If Schmaltz staying at centre and AA is expendable with Kampf as 3rd centre, offense be sacrificed, wouldn’t trying move him and Panik to be able try and acquire Erik Karlsson from Ottawa make sense if you want make a run. Probably be best top pairing league and immediate boost to pp. Also allow you to shop a couple of dmen as well. Ottawa likely looking for draft picks or prospects so have to be more than one straight up deal.

  21. Ugh no Karlsson please!! Wait unless it’s William. That Karlsson I’d take. The other is a massive liability in his own zone. The last thing we need as our D is figuring things out this transition year.

  22. It looked like a much better focused Hawks team yesterday afternoon than the group we saw play Friday night. I think this is the key moving forward. A few parts changed up front, and on the back line. The Hawks needed 2 points and put em in the bank against an opponent that also seems like the Hawks to be trying to find it’s way.

    Its the half way point in the season. As Hawks fans we unfortunately have more questions than answers about where this team is going. The record says this team is just average. We have some good and some bad outings that make us feel upbeat and then wtf type frustration. This team has many new parts and within those new parts there are quite a few young and not so experienced players that are learning on the fly. To my eyes this is a bright spot for the future, but a work in progress here in the present. Team veterans have for the most part have been underachieving with Kane and Crow the exceptions.

    If this team is to improve and make a successful push for the playoffs it has to be the core guys that step up and play to their talents. The past 2 weeks Toews has upped his game. Vinny has helped energize the Hawks so called #1 line. Kane is fine imo and is meshing well with 8 and 38. Keith needs to contribute more offensively as does Seabrook if they can. What ever happened to Duncan Keith’s shot accuracy? Seabs too. If those guys don’t pick it up its up to the young guys to fill a big void. Forsling might be that guy, and Oesterle has some good instincts. Kempny, likes to pinch up, but as mentioned often gets caught to deep when the puck goers the other way. Rutta also can add more offense, and Murphy shows signs too. We need more goals from our d men. Plug in players are for the most part doing their jobs and I like the adds of Bouma and especially Wingels. Those guys will be important IF this team makes playoffs.

    So right now imo SB probably holds em and doesn’t fold em, but we are not at the deadline yet, and we don’t know what the standings will look like then. The brass know this team needs to get better. It is their job to see that this happens. This team has had a hell of a run and it has been thrilling for Hawks fans for the past 10 years to experience some great hockey.

    As a season ticket holder that attends most games I am very much a show me type guy with this current Hawks team. Can they get better? I think so, but the guys getting paid well need to start making it happen and soon. Focus and playing with urgency needs to be there especially to start games. Yes, and come back soon Corey Crawford.

    Lets GO Hawks!

  23. re: Erik Karlsson pipe dream – if you’re dealing Anisimov (who is under control and a valuable asset), you better be doing it for something that helps you beyond a rental. And Erik Karlsson would be nothing more than a rental. Can you imagine the volume of Kleenex being used for the tears on here if the Hawks had three $10M players on the roster? No way the Blackhawks can afford Karlsson (even w/ a Seabrook trade) so I’m a hard pass on him – even though he’s a generational talent.

  24. A hard pass on in your words a generational talent, really. He is a little better than normal rental, affordable cap hit 6.5m next year and rest of this year. A chance for him to play with the core for 2 playoff runs before their window closes. With Blackhawks known as hot spot for Swedes and possibly he may want moved be worth looking at, if asking price isn’t through the roof, type of move that is game changer.

  25. The Schmaltz goal was a thing of beauty. Soft hands and net front presence. Good to see some overall speed on the back end. The NHL game is too fast for Fransen and Murphy. Great to see those plodders benched.

  26. There is tremendous pressure on the Senator management-you could say a do or die decision for their future in Ottawa–
    no way they unload their biggest piece for Panik and AA-(with all due respect and I like what AA brings)
    So it is a big pipe dream, cap issues aside.

  27. Didn’t Ottawa just trade for a center? Part of the problem in Ottawa is Karlsson himself. He’s suppose to be the leader of the team, then publicly states he’s going to get what he’s worth…in July. Which is perfectly fine to say privately. But there was absolutely no reason to bring that public and tell your whole team he’s all but gone.

    I understand the D is active. All I’m sayin is Kempny needs to pick his spots better. At least until he’s trusted.

  28. What Defenceman would be the most ideal then if not Killer Karlsson. Who are the ufa and who are some tradeables worth trading for. Caphit would make it work. Interested in who not the cap space stuff. Be a summer add most likely.

  29. Matt Greene, Jack Johnson, Toby Enstrom and Gubranson to name a few. Just a point of interest Mo, if Panik were bought out he would carry a$933,000 caphit next 2 years and Murphy if he doesn’t ork out if bought out woukd carry $20,000 cap hit next year and $120,000 the following year. 5.8m and 5.7m cleared space next 2 years.

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