Blackhawks Get Back On Track In Columbus

After three days off, it took 65 minutes and a shootout for the Blackhawks to get back in the win column on Thursday night.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who was named the Number One Star of the Week by the NHL last week, continued his incredible run with a fantastic performance. He allowed only one goal against 40 Chicago shots – stopping 20 in the third period and overtime – but came up just short in the shootout.

The Hawks were able to put sustained pressure on Bobrovsky and the Jackets for most of the second half of the game, but failed to elevate the puck on a number of great scoring chances and were robbed.

On the other end of the ice, Corey Crawford rebounded from a couple rough performances to earn a big victory. He stopped 29 of 30 shots, many of which were in traffic, and looked good in the shootout to get the Hawks the second point.

Patrick Kane’s assist on Johnny Oduya’s goal in the second period was the 400th point of his young NHL career. He is the fifth-fastest player in Blackhawks’ history to reach that mark, and continues to have a stellar season. Kane skated 20:20 and was credited with a hit in the game.

Jimmy Hayes, called up from Rockford earlier in the week, spent most of the night skating with Kane and Dave Bolland on the second line. Coach Joel Quenneville put him on the ice a lot for his first game in the NHL this season (21 shifts, 15:50), and Hayes had a few good moments. But he struggled to keep up with the speed of Kane and Bolland and didn’t establish good position in front of the Columbus net often enough.

He had been playing center primarily in Rockford, and was credited with one hit and one blocked shot in the game. With Patrick Sharp out for at least another week, it will be interesting to see how Quenneville uses Hayes in the coming games.

Faceoffs continue to be an issue for the Hawks. Only two Blackhawks won more than half of their faceoffs on Thursday night: Toews (13 of 22) and Hayes (1 of 1). Andrew Shaw won three of only six faceoffs in the game, and also spent five minutes in the box after fighting Matt Calvert late in the first period.

Bolland had a rough start to his night at the dot, winning only one of seven faceoffs in the first 40 minutes. He did rebound well, though, winning five of six in the third and overtime to finish the night winning six of 13. He also tied for the team’s high of three blocked shots in the game (with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith).

After winning five straight, the Jackets have now lost back-to-back games by identical 2-1 scores in a shootout; they lost to the Canucks at home on Tuesday night. However, Columbus has at least one point in all eight games they have played in March and have only three losses (two of which are from Chicago) in the month.

For the Blackhawks, all three victories this season against the Jackets have been by one goal. Assuming they don’t meet in the postseason, Thursday night was the last game of the divisional “rivalry” between these two franchises; Columbus will move to the Eastern Conference next season.

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7 Responses to Blackhawks Get Back On Track In Columbus

  1. EbonyRaptor says:

    Crawford had a good bounce back game after a couple iffy games. It’s his confidence I worry about and this game should leave him with a good feeling.

    The PK, on the other hand, is looking too much like the sieve from the past two years. It sure looks like they are not playing as aggressive on the puck as they were earlier. Allowing 6 goals in the last 10 PK chances is not going to get it done. Their PK percentage is dropping like a rock.

    Hayes? So so. Only the first game, so … Still not a good skater though, he was stumbling around a few times. I still think he’s a better option for the 2nd line than Carcillo or Bollig or disrupting the other lines.

    Bottom line – 2 points. Hallelujah!

  2. Sr. Brad says:

    Yeah, interesting game…the Hawks should have won going away in regulation, but the Columbus goalie made great save after great save…having said that, the Hawks haven’t still rebounded from the post streak hangover…even after a 4 day rest, many players looked tired in the 2nd half of the game, and there were lots of unforced errors, especially by our Defencemen.

    The best news was CC rebounding with a strong effort…he has to play this way for us to have a chance in the post season, so it was nice to see.

    Marian Hossa deserves a shout out…he was incredible again tonight…really at times, a man amongst boys…I thought Saad played his lest effective game in a long while…Hayes was okay, but far too reserved IMO…he looked very different from his more aggressive style in Rockford…he is going to have to pick up his effort and pace if he wants to stay…obviously it takes time to mesh with a line that features Patrick Kane.

    The 3rd line was consistently our best once again, although they too seemed to run out of steam late in the game. The 3 of them should be kept together, as they compensate very well for one another. Frolik is still not 100% out there, and Kruger has got to win more face-offs…Toews and Kruger lost some very big draws in our end, and against better teams in the playoffs, that will hurt us.

    Overall a win is a win…but its clear to me that this team is still not 100% healthy…hopefully a few more days will get them right!

  3. Scott says:

    Was anyone else yelling at Ryan Johansen when he attempted Kane’s move in the shootout? I was glad to see him miss, then even happier when Kane’s attempt was good. That’s Kane’s move!

  4. Mike says:

    I hate shootouts but will take the two points. There are way too many 3 point games in the NHL. Go 6 minutes 4 on 4 and call it a tie if no one scores.

    As I opined yesterday I don’t and did not like Hayes on the 2cd line. Not to say he won’t improve enough to be a top 6 but………he simply does not draw enough attention and is on his butt a lot. Put on the1st or 4th, let Saad try some 2cd line duties.

  5. Andrew Raven says:

    Glad the Hawks are back on track! CC rebounded big time after a less than solid effort in his last start in Denver. The Hawks had a great 3rd period and would have won the game in regulation, but their keeper was really good. Speaking of excellency, Hoss had a huge game for Chicago. I also liked Hammer and Duncs defensively and Leddy’s speed. As Tab and other Hawks fans have pointed out, face-offs continue to be an issue for the Hawks. Apart from Toews, our centermen struggle at the dot. Also, Bolland doesn’t seem to be comfortable in a more offensive role as a 2C type of player. We all know he is a different kind of player once the postseason is under way, but I doubt he’ll be very effective on the 2nd line. Looks like we have two 3rd line centers, but no “real” 2C. One can argue that Kaner would be even more impressive this year production-wise if he played alongside a legit-2C.

    One more thing: Can anyone explain to me why Calvert didn’t get a 2min minor for fighting with a visor against Shaw? If I remember correctly, Duncs DID get called for fighting with a visor.

  6. JS says:

    2 minute minor is if you instigate a fight with a visor.

    I thought Bollig played really well. I know I’ve been kind of on his bandwagon… but when he isn’t trying to punch people in the face he’s a really good 4th liner. I’d rather he wasn’t smacking his stick on the ice all the time, but none-the-less he was effective last night.

    Hayes tripped over the blue line at least once and always seemed to be on the ice behind the net. Good thing he has a lot of practice at getting up quickly. Nice positioning on the goal, had a few good scoring chances. It will be nice to see what a few more games on this line will bring. I’m also curious how he is at the dot.

    It was a nice bounce back after the last two disasters. Let’s keep it going tomorrow night.

  7. AJKSweetness says:

    Hayes brings the big body that they lack, but his skating looks to be developmental. May not be an issue (as long as he stays out of the way) because Kane and Bolland can carry the puck long enough for him to get to the net. Might have been a better idea to bring up one of the guys who can keep up, but should reserve judgement until he gets another couple of games with the big team. If he struggles, we know Q will not be shy about juggling him down to 4th line, but we all know that the 3rd and 4th lines have been swinging — if not winning — games.

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