Mike Smith solved the Blackhawks again on Saturday night, and the Blackhawks lost to the Coyotes in the shootout.
It might be frustrating to admit (or write), but the Blackhawks are going through the motions right now. They have clinched the top seed in the Western Conference already, so the thing that’s really important about the remaining games in the regular season is staying healthy.
Against the Coyotes, the Hawks played soft. Chicago was credited with ten giveaways and took five minor penalties in the game; to the Hawks’ credit, they killed all five Phoenix powerplays in the game.
Marcus Kruger skated 6:06 short-handed, and Michael Frolik skated 5:39 on penalty kill duty, as they continued to lead the much-improved Blackhawks PK group. Niklas Hjalmarsson (6:23) and Duncan Keith (6:14) led Chicago defensemen in short-handed time.
Thankfully, the biggest area of concern for the Hawks, their powerplay, appears to be figuring something out. Both of Brent Seabrook’s goals came with a man advantage; the Hawks scored four powerplay goals in 48 hours after not scoring in their previous 20 opportunities.
Nick Leddy had another box score-filling game. He was credited with an assist on both of Seabrook’s goals, and also had two blocked shots, two hits and two takeaways. Seabrook, Keith and Johnny Oduya were credited with a team-high three blocks in the game.
Bryan Bickell led the team with four hits and four penalty minutes, while Dave Bolland led Chicago with three takeaways. Bolland only took five faceoffs in the game, winning two and losing three.
Jonathan Toews won 16 of 26 faceoffs in the game and was credited with two hits and one takeaway.
Between the pipes, Smith outplayed Corey Crawford once again. Crawford let in two ugly, soft goals in the first period, but played a much better third period; the Coyotes were credited with 31 shots in the game, 15 of which came in the third.
For Phoenix, Smith stopped 36 of 38 shots to earn an important second point for a Coyotes team that is desperately hanging on to playoff hope. Vancouver defeating Detroit in a shootout helped Phoenix, but they still have a tough hill to climb.