In one of the worst officiated games in recent memory, the Blackhawks wasted a late lead and lost in overtime. The Red Wings and Blues are now tied with the Hawks at 53 points, but both have played one fewer game than Chicago.
Most of Sunday night’s game was positive.
The Hawks “finally” scored a couple quick, early goals to take the lead. Nick Leddy bounced back from a couple awful performances to play a fairly good game. Corey Crawford was outstanding, playing perhaps his best game of the season to date. And, just for the heck of it, Dave Bolland scored a goal.
Rookies Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes continued to be impressive. Hayes was credited with four hits in the game, while Shaw saw his opportunity increase when Patrick Sharp was unable to return after the first period. Shaw was credited with two blocked shots and one takeaway in the game, and made a ridiculous pass from the seat of his pants to Bolland in overtime that almost ended the game.
One other Blackhawks player that was very impressive in the game was Viktor Stalberg. “The Good Viktor” showed up once again, and worked hard all night after getting the start with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Stalberg tied for the team lead with five hits in the game, and was credited with one takeaway and one blocked shot in the game. He was physical the entire game.
Toews did what he does once again: won 16 of 20 faceoffs, tied for the team lead with three takeaways.
But there were, once again, glaring weaknesses from the Blackhawks… specifically Bryan Bickell. Bickell has now officially found the end of the bench, skating the fewest shifts of any Hawks player in the game (other than Sharp), and he did a great job of confirming coach Joel Quenneville’s lack of faith by doing absolutely nothing in his 11:45 of ice time. He was credited with zero hits (though he got rocked a couple times) and only one shot on goal in the contest.
Michael Frolik was better on Sunday night. He was given another golden opportunity to produce, starting with Sharp and Marian Hossa, and he was credited with an assist on Sharp’s goal in the first period. Defensively, Frolik continues to work hard and is a responsible forward for Quenneville, but he appears to have lost any/all ability to shoot the puck accurately.
When the final horn sounded, the officials left the ice after one of the worst performance in recent memory. They missed an obvious goal for the Blackhawks (that resulted in a Jimmy Hayes penalty shot), both teams frequently argued with where faceoffs were being placed, and their inability to make a call on time was painful all night.
Crawford had every reason to complain after the game about interference on Detroit’s second goal, but the most ridiculous no-call of the night was on the eventual game-winner.
Steve Montador’s stick was clearly held right in front of an official. In spite of Pierre McGuire praising Datsyuk, you can watch the video and see Johan Franzen hold Montador’s stick for roughly seven seconds, eventually taking him to the ice.
Just to put icing on the cake, Franzen also sucker punched Montador after the goal had been credited and the game was over. It’s clear in the video, and he did received a minor penalty for roughing. Of course, that penalty, and the lack of a call on him holding Montador’s stick, mean little when the outcome of the game was already decided.
Chicago has now lost four straight, and the Blackhawks sit in fifth place in the Western Conference.