The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks played a great, playoff-caliber hockey game on Tuesday night to begin the home stretch of the season. The game was as close as the final score indicated, and the action was intense for more than 60 minutes.
But when the dust settled, the box score makes little sense.
Where do we begin with the anomalies from this game?
The Blackhawks rank third in the NHL in faceoff win percentage (52.0 percent). Vancouver ranks right behind the Hawks (51.9 percent). But in the game, the Canucks won 42 of 62 faceoffs with Henrik Sedin winning only eight of his 17 attempts.
In an important overtime game against a key Western Conference opponent, Jonathan Toews skated 19:10, Patrick Sharp skated 19:09 and Patrick Kane skated 19:02. Marian Hossa, meanwhile, skated only 16:52 in the game. But the ice time leader among Hawks forwards: rookie Andrew Shaw, at 21:51.
Four Blackhawks forwards were credited with a blocked shot on the night (Shaw, Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik each had one, while newcomer Brendan Morrison, who had two).
Chicago finished January winless in games in which Nick Leddy skated more than 20 minutes (0-5-3). In the three previous months, the Hawks were 20-6-2 in games in which Leddy was over the 20 minutes mark.
Just as the Leddy ice time stat seems odd, Corey Crawford’s save percentage as an indicator of win probability is even more strange. Tuesday night was the fifth time in 10 January appearances for Crawford that his save percentage was over .900, but the Hawks were only 2-1-2 in those games.
And yet, even with all of these seemingly strange numbers popping up in the loss, the Blackhawks did have a few positives to take away from the loss.
Crawford was outstanding, playing as well as he has this calendar year. Indeed, both goaltenders earned the regulation point for their respective teams.
Viktor Stalberg scored his 15th goal of the season. He now has 30 points on the season, blowing away his previous career bests.
And Morrison looked at least adequate in the heaviest ice time total he’s skated since October. In fact, he hadn’t crossed 17 minutes on the ice since Oct. 20.
Everyone knows this is a critical road trip for the Blackhawks, and they certainly left one point on the table on Tuesday night. Clearly they need to dress six defensemen in the remaining eight games of the trip (read: no more John Scott), and they should probably look for someone not currently on their roster to fill the spot wasted on Scott in Vancouver.