Blackhawks Blow Lead, Lose To Lightning In OT

After getting absolutely demolished by the Florida Panthers, the Blackhawks had a couple days to think about their worst performance of the year.

One skater – Ryan Hartman – got another night to think about it. After taking a bad penalty and doubling his time in the box with an unsportsmanlike penalty that ended up in a Panthers goal, Hartman had a conversation with coach Joel Quenneville at the morning skate and was a healthy scratch on Monday night in Tampa.

When the game started, Chicago rolled out a top line that had been fabulous for six weeks before Artem Anisimov went down. Nick Schmaltz was back with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik and Tanner Kero got to ride shotgun between Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.

Tomas Jurco got back into the lineup, skating with Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa. John Hayden was dropped to the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins at center and Jordin Tootoo.

Those interesting lines paid off early and often against the Lightning.

Panarin scored off a good look from Kero only 83 seconds into the game to ensure the Hawks wouldn’t be shutout for the second time in Florida.

That ugly goal allowed by Andrei Vasilevskiy was Panarin’s 25th of the year.

Brent Seabrook went to the box eight minutes later and the Lightning power play tied the game. The Blackhawks number seven was in the box for seven seconds before Ondrej Palat scored to tie the game at one. After officially killing four of five against the Panthers, the Hawks didn’t look great right off the draw in Tampa.

But the Hawks offense wasn’t done.

Patrick Kane got the lead back 48 seconds after the Palat goal.

Chicago would get a power play 41 seconds after the Kane goal but couldn’t take advantage. But they would extend the lead to 3-1 soon after the power play ended.

Tomas Jurco’s first with the Blackhawks sent Vasilevskiy to the bench. Peter Budaj came in for the final 6:19 of the first period after a rough period for Tampa’s starter. Budaj stopped all three he faced in that stretch, and Vasilevskiy was back between the pipes to start the second.

Chicago held an 11-9 shot advantage after 20 minutes, but their 3-1 lead on the scoreboard was more refreshing after a few ugly games recently.

It took almost nine minutes into the second period for the goal light to get another use, and it came from the Blackhawks again. This time, it was Richard Panik.

Panik’s 21st of the season saw the assist go to Trevor van Riemsdyk. On the Hawks four goals, three defensemen had an assist; Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith assisted Kane’s goal. The other two assists were from rookies – Kero and Schmaltz.

That’s when the wheels started to fall off for the Hawks.

Three minutes after the Panik goal, Jonathan Drouin scored his 19th to cut the lead to two. Anton Stralman scored again 62 seconds later and a relatively comfortable three-goal lead had been quickly cut to one.

When Hjalmarsson went to the box later in the second, the surging Lightning had the opportunity to tie the game and did just that. Drouin scored his 20th of the year and second of the game and the Blackhawks had fully squandered what had been a nice offensive performance through 30 minutes.

Tampa out-shot Chicago 14-10 in the second period and scored three goals in a span of 4:39.

The Blackhawks got a third power play 1:40 into the third period, with Luke Witkowski headed off for the second time in the game. Chicago had a few looks but couldn’t capitalize on the advantage and two more minutes came off the clock with the game still tied.

That’s where the score would stay through the end of the third period, with the Blackhawks out-shooting the Bolts 10-3 in the third. Darling finished 60 minutes of hockey with 22 saves against 26 shots.

The Hawks’ leaders through 60 were all at five: Hayden had five hits in 9:51 through regulation in a fourth line role. Hjalmarsson had five blocked shots through three periods, and Panarin had five shots on goal.

Chicago would need a fifth goal to win the game.

Unfortunately, that fifth goal would be scored by Tampa.

After an up-and-down sequence with both teams getting decent looks on net, Yanni Gourde scored his second of the year with only 35 seconds left on the overtime clock to give Tampa the 5-4 victory.

Nikita Kucherov was the 58th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft, and has been on an MVP run lately with 31 points in his last 17 games. The Blackhawks selected four players before Kucherov that summer (McNeill, Danault, Clendening and Saad), but the only player from the top 57 overall selections of the 2011 class currently on Chicago’s roster is Jurco (selected 35th by Detroit). The Lightning also picked Vladislav Namestnikov with the 27th overall pick in 2011.

Drouin’s two goals give him 28 in 157 career regular season games. He was the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, 27 slots before Hartman. Chicago’s rookie forward has 18 goals in 73 career games. Hayden, the Hawks’ third round pick that year, skated in his seventh career NHL contest on Monday night.

22 thoughts on “Blackhawks Blow Lead, Lose To Lightning In OT

  1. Give credit to TB, but the Blackhawks took the foot off the gas …. again. And those who praise Darling at the expense of Crawford should realize both are human. Great start but awful finish. A point is good but no first round matchup will be easy whatsoever. Gotta get the minds and bodies wired together.
    Go Blackhawks!!!!

  2. Good game we did what we needed to played good. Slash on Kaners gloves was in for breakaway and holding on arm for 2 penatlys on that nothing called.

    This is what we needed to get the juices flowing and pick up the pace. Your not going to get 2 over the glass penaltys and 2 PP goals in 2 periods very often.

  3. Panarin a bit careless with the puck lately. Sometimes there is no play so take the dump in, wait for help. This league is too close so you need to bring it every night like Keith.

  4. Schmaltz looks alot better on the wing with Toews and Panik and seems to be handling the long schedule very well. Kero played strong 2way game between Kane and Panarin but Anisimov gives them the net front presence with a scoring touch too that compliments them so good. When Hartman returns be interesting to see where he will lineup at.

  5. Very good start – had their legs and were skating well. Took a nice 3-1 lead and then Tampa woke up and turned up the heat and the Hawks started turning the puck over in the d-zone. There were some horrendous plays by the Hawks.

    Seabrook alone must have had 6 or 8 (unofficial) turnovers mostly coming from trying to move the puck up the boards to exit the zone only to have a Tampa player receive the puck with no Hawks player even close to contesting the puck. Seabrook also threw the puck into the stands when he wasn’t directly challenged and another stride would have gotten him out of the zone – no DOG penalty – no tying goal given up by the PK.

    Speaking of the PK – it’s hard to ignore the 800 pound gorilla standing in the room with a mere scant 6 games to play and basically no practice time to work on the abysmal PK. And not to be ignored is the equally abysmal PP where the best case scenario for the Hawks on the PP is to not give momentum or a shortie to the other team. If the Hawks can’t figure out how to not spend half the PP chasing the puck around the neutral and d-zones – than just admit the PP is totally inept and focus on playing defense with the man advantage to (hopefully) avoid giving up odd man rushes to the opposing PK’ers.

    If the Hawks don’t improve the special teams play in the playoffs – you can forget playing for the Cup, or probably even making it out of the first round.

  6. Agree with the above-
    They worked hard to get a cushion-helped by a dive by the Wild-
    the problem is that they are taking their foot off the gas at a time when the three teams they might meet are hot, and playing well in very meaningful games.
    So it’s that strange dilemma-you want to rest and get ready for the playoff push but not develop the bad habits that are happening.
    We have two good goaltenders and if 50 plays well the Hawks advance deep into the playoffs.

  7. PK/PP can come in waves the PK had a really good stretch before this so that bodes well after we get back on track with that. PP, there must be a tidal coming or us because it shitty. Back to work on playing a full 60. This is a good start. Theres the stretch of games we didnt play that good, these stretch of games coming up can balance us to where we need to be.

  8. A few thoughts… Why not bring up Hinistrosa with the Hawks down a center? Did anyone before the season started think that Panik could have more goals than Toews? It seems like th pk does better when 16 is playing on the 4th line and doesn’t get as many shifts. It looks like some of the players could use some rest with this very busy end of the schedule. Why not start resting some players instead of double shifting your stars? ie Kane. Maybe rest one defenseman and one forward every game until the end of the season. Let Kempney and Rosival play a little. It can’t be much worse than the current streak of giving up at least 4 goals a game.

  9. 11 goals against in 2 games?! “Q” has to be apoplectic about Defensive Zone coverage! Defense wins cups,

  10. Hawks are coasting to the finish. Self preservation by a veteran group that knows that the playoffs are a nightly dog fight to the death and that they will need to be as rested and refreshed as possible heading in.

    Seabrook is in one of his patented lazy man I don’t give a crap funks. Clearly he is in decline which is alarming. But he’ll dial it up for the playoffs. Campbell meanwhile is victim of Father Time. But again, he will be there in the playoffs.

    Q clearly has faith in Kero, and that faith is being rewarded. Kid works his tail off and is quietly piecing together a nice stretch of performance.

    Q was right to bench Hartman. Kid needs to be cured of his recent case of the stupids.

    Anisimov is missed. Badly so. He needs to be generally healthy in the playoffs or that becomes a big problem. Panarin has been afflicted with a case of the stupids recently too, and getting his commie countryman back at Center to soothe his game is obviously critical.

  11. I’m the only guy not worried apparently. I’m not worried about a) a team with an 8 point cushion on the conference or b) this units ability to step up in the playoffs. We are fine.

  12. Questionable overtime strategy last night. Two defensemen on the ice for a good portion of the OT. Kruger getting OT shifts. He was probably inserted to win the faceoffs which he promptly lost. Schmaltz would be a far better option in OT with all that space than 16. Last nights OT strategy looked like Q was trying not to lose instead of aggressively trying to win it on the road.

  13. Jurco- was skating well… can see Hawks keeping him… really quick, fluid skater, with decent hands… noticeably faster than first few games…. seems aware on both sides of the puck.

  14. Wall, I agree on Jurco. Thankfully he got a goal last night which should lighten the load a bit for him. I’ve liked him since Stan acquired him, even though he hadn’t dented the score sheet until last night. I’ve liked his speed and willingness to engage. If nothing else he would be a decent option as a 4th line winger.

    I also liked what I saw from Hayden last night, (with the exception of the play where he left his defensive assignment which led to the 2nd Tampa goal). He had 5 hits in only 9:21 along with a number of good plays where he battled for the puck in the o-zone and bulled the puck out of the d-zone. It looks like he has a pretty good knack for hunting the puck and consequently lays some good hits and contests the puck very well.

    I would like to see how a Hayden-Kero-Jurco 4th line would be.

  15. In the end Hawks played a rather undisciplined and unfocused style of play last night. They were willing to play pond hockey against a team that brings a consistently good forecheck and has good speed up and down the forward lines. Hawks just bailed with lots of passes in the d zone, and often didn’t move pucks forward when they felt pressure when moving forward.

    Hawks notch a point yet again while not playing a consistent 60 minutes. These have been some tough games to watch recently, and last night yielding a 3 goal lead and a possible 2 pts was no exception.

    Hartman out of the lineup made a difference, but good on Q for sitting the kid down to make a strong point about playing under control.

    Wishing Artie A. a positive recovery. Without that guy our deep playoff chances are reduced. Seasons hang in balance with key player injuries to all teams. Let’s cross our fingers for a healthy Hawks roster.

    Some good teams are right around the corner as tuneups for post season. Tighten up the defensive coverage. Can’t get too high or low right now. Hawks have overachieved imo making this season special thus far. Playoffs are another animal all together. Getting through front round with a decent draw and we could be in store for some extended exciting hockey. We have to remain patient. This team has potential.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  16. Rufus/Scottie, thats what I was thinking.

    Phil, that’s tuff to do especially after a really really good stretch/anything else seems not as good. Like when Tazer was playing hurt it was tuff to remain patient even if you start to worry just a little after it had been 40 games but that it sort of like this. One thing at a time and then we can roll 4 lines because we have 4 lines again.

  17. Any word on Anisimov’s recovery? And if /when he might be back? I think it was 3 to 4 weeks when injured.

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