The Blackhawks were scheduled to play in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. And 60 minutes of hockey were played at the Wells Fargo Center. But there was nothing to show for the evening’s effort from the defending Cup champions.
Chicago was flat all night, and produced one of the more boring games in recent memory.
After taking four penalties in the first three games of the season, the Hawks were sent to the five times in less than 32 minutes in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, that was the only consistent part of the team’s game in the opening 40 minutes.
The best net-front presence from a Blackhawks player came at 5:35 into the second period, when Viktor Svedberg set a fabulous screen – on Corey Crawford. Hawks killer Sam Gagner, skating for a different team but once again putting the puck in the net against Chicago, put a shot on net that Crawford never saw through the enormous rookie defenseman, and that’s all the offense Philly would need.
Claude Giroux added a goal a little less than 11 minutes later when he was left all alone on the doorstep, and Matt Read put the final nail in the coffin at 17:25 into the third.
Flyers netminder Michael Neuvirth posted his second consecutive shutout, stopping 30 shots in the game; 15 of those 30 came in the third period when the Hawks appeared, at least for a few brief moments, to have a pulse.
Corey Crawford stopped 26 of 29 in the loss.
Ryan Garbutt started the game on the top line with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews, but received a one-way ticket to the Coach Q Doghouse early in the game. After taking a high-sticking penalty early in the second period, he found himself stapled to the bench. Garbutt finished with three hits in a team-low 7:24 on the night.
Bryan Bickell dressed for the game, and was credited with four hits and one blocked shot in 10:02. He continues to take up a roster spot and $4 million in cap space and has shown very little evidence that he’s worthy of either so far this season.
Viktor Tikhonov had a nice game, finishing with as many shots on net – four – as Hossa and Patrick Kane had in spite of receiving half as much ice time (9:33). After Garbutt disappeared from the forward rotation, Tikhonov and Artemi Panarin had a couple shifts on the top line.
Even in a garbage performance by the team, Toews was still a box score beast. Chicago’s captain won 15 of 20 faceoffs, was credited with two blocked shots and finished tied with Brent Seabrook and Trevor Daley for the team lead with four hits in the game.
Panarin (20:26) and Kane (20:48) led all Blackhawks forwards in ice time. Duncan Keith predictably led all Blackhawks, skating 24:26.
The Hawks are back on the ice in Washington on Thursday night.
The Flyers honored Kimmo Timonen before the game.