Blackhawks Waste Crawford’s Effort, Lose In Overtime

The Blackhawks traveled to Montreal for an Original Six match against the Habs on Saturday night, and both goaltenders were sensational. Unfortunately, a terrible sequence in overtime cost Corey Crawford  and the Hawks the second point.

Crawford made 32 saves on 33 shots in regulation, and made a few more big saves to open the overtime period. But Patrick Kane decided to carry the puck back into the defensive zone at the end of a long shift, leading a series of turnovers and Andrei Markov buried the game-winner. Chicago’s netminder made 36 saves in the game.

Markov scored the Habs’ first goal of the game at 12:54 in the second period after another series of bad hockey from the Hawks. Montreal would hold the lead for almost 10 minutes into the third period, but an exceptional pass from Jonathan Toews set up Marian Hossa on the doorstep and the Hawks were able to beat Carey Price.

Hossa was magnificent the entire night, not only scoring the tying goal but also making a number of key defensive plays.

Coach Joel Quenneville’s lines were in the blender throughout the game again as he tries to find a formula to get the high-scoring Hawks out of a slump. Bryan Bickell started the game on the second line with Kane and Marcus Kruger, but was limited to 11:56 in the game.

Kruger skated 17:45, but won only three of 10 faceoffs. He was credited with two more blocked shots and spent 3:17 short-handed as the Blackhawks were forced to kill three penalties in the first two periods. Chicago was successful on all three penalty kills, including 3:58 late in the first period as Mike Kostka and Niklas Hjalmarsson were sent to the box less than two minutes apart.

Brandon Bollig skated a team-low 11 shifts for 8:08, and didn’t impress when he was on the ice. A terrible icing play led his “highlights” for the evening. Bickell also had a bad icing play that led to the Habs’ first goal of the night.

Michal Handzus started on the third line and stayed in the bottom six throughout the night. He won only three of eight faceoffs in 12:27, and was called for interference on what would have been the Hawks’ first goal of the night.

Kane skated 18:57 in the game and was credited with only two shots on net. He was on the ice for both of Montreal’s goals. Meanwhile, Chicago’s defensemen were credited with 10 giveaways in the game, led by three each from Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook.

For Montreal, Price faced only 20 shots in regulation and wasn’t required to make a single save in the overtime as the Canadiens took the victory. Tomas Plekanec was credited with 11 shots on net and won 10 of 18 faceoffs. Alexei Emelin was credited with six hits, including big hits on both Kane and Ben Smith. George Parros skated only 3:33 and seven shifts in the game.

The Hawks return home to face the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night. Chicago has lost five of their last seven, with four of those losses coming in overtime or a shootout.

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21 Responses to Blackhawks Waste Crawford’s Effort, Lose In Overtime

  1. wall says:

    Re: 29- I assume he has a knee injury that will require surgery in the off season…if not-his $4M contract is as bad as the Montador Signing!!! I would rather see 17 skate on wing over 29 right now…

    16- nice try… but not the answer… This roster needs some new blood… and PLEASE no more Kostka…

    as I stated before- 26,52 are mistakes that are easily erased… 29 is not!!!

    Let’s get Raanta another win Sunday!

  2. Darren says:

    Please, someone tell me why Pirri and/or Morin toil in Rockford while 52 and 26 waste space.

  3. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Hawks have clearly hit a rough patch the last few weeks. Ever since the holidays this team has been sleep walking through games.

    I have serious doubts that Marcus will ever be a 2nd line center. The Olympics can not get here soon enough for this Hawks fan

  4. Sr. Brad says:

    Guys, I have been saying the SAME THING for the past 2+ weeks…things changed when Bickell came back…because we lost the production/solid play from the “Rockford Shuttle” as some like to call it, for Bickell’s return…and this team, as good as it is, cannot make up for 3 weak pieces…clearly we can with 2, but not 3…

    Its time for everyone here and the Hawks coaching staff to call it like it is…Michael Handzus has lost whatever game he had…tonight was his WORST game of the season…and for as bad as Bollig was, and once again he got worse, Handzus was significantly worse…not only was he unbelievably slow on the Montreal ice, but he has lost his senses as well…on the waived off goal, all by himself alone behind the Montreal net, Handzus (a) tripped himself into the boards, (b) got up and lazily skated into the Montreal crease for NO particular reason, and (c) allowed himself to be pushed into the Montreal goalie disallowing a goal, instead of fighting back to get out of the crease…it turned out to the difference in the game…

    Guys, sorry if this hurts your feelings, but Zus isn’t good enough for the Hawks right now…he is literally killing this team, and wasting a crucial roster spot…right now, the Hawks need to make Zus and Bollig rotational players that MUST EARN their ice time, the same way that Pirri, Morin, Nordstrom all have to earn their ice time…the CAP space necessary to do this can come from cutting loose the 8th DMan…this IS NOT working…BB has been better this year, but now that everyone is healthy and he is rarely rotating in, he’s gotten worse…Kostka’s play, now that everyone is healthy, has dropped off…Rozy has been getting better as he has resumed his every 2nd game routine…pick Brookbank or Kostka and move on…if suddenly we get 2 DMan injuries, either Clendening or Dahlbeck can come up and more than adequately fill in…

    But a ROSTER change is what is needed, not a line change…Shaw has NOT been “bad” as some here have suggested…Q targeted Shaw as one who had to get better to light a fire under him…it worked…Shaw was VERY good on that 4th line tonight…but we are wasting him playing with Bollig…he’s too good…prior to this “slump” that we are in, we were unbeatable rolling 4 lines…we had 4 decent to good lines that we were rolling…Kane’s production was carrying Handzus’ subpar play, and Kruger/Smith were carrying Bollig…Morin helped to make our 3rd line dominate with puck possession…they (the 3rd line) went 10 straight games without giving up a goal…but Bickell returned and flat out couldn’t play, Morin/Pirri were sent down, and now the Hawks were carrying 3 weak pieces and stopped rolling 4 lines…

    The answer is SIMPLE…4 solid lines…put Kruger back to the 4th line where he belongs with Smith and rotate Bollig with another player…move Bickell back to the 3rd line with Shaw and Saad, and hope he gets better…keep Kane and Versteeg on the 2nd line and give them a F$CKING player…doesn’t even have to be a Centre, as Steeger can Centre that line…whether its Morin, or Saad, or Pirri, or Nordstrom, or Garret Ross…give them someone who can skate and make plays…and we are right back to winning 85% of our games…

    But be stubborn, ignore the obvious and keep Handzus, Bollig and Bickell playing night after night, this “slump” is going to continue…I predicted this because it is simple to see and so is the solution…Bickell’s drop off is too much to stay with Zus and Bollig…something has to give…and if it doesn’t, this continues…

    Finally, kudos to Corey Crawford, who showed up in his hometown…he gave us a point, when we didn’t deserve one, and played like a $6 million dollar goalie…that toe save on the brake away rebound was grand larceny…

  5. Sr. Brad says:

    SSHM, its not “sleepwalking” per se…the Hawks have stopped rolling 4 solid lines, and are putting undue pressure on the stars to produce and the Defence, which are showing their weaknesses…we just need to get back to 4 lines rolling…but we CAN’T with Bickell coming back poorly, joining Zus’ and Bollig’s weak play…its too much to overcome right now…

    Right now Nordstrom and Morin would do a lot to help this Hawk’s team…

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    For those who didn’t see it…Rockford beat Lake Erie tonight 6-1…whoever plays with Garret Ross, gets hot…the last 3 games, Dent moved a slumping/disinterested Morin with Nordstrom and Ross, and now he’s hot once again…and Nordstrom and Ross just keep rolling…

    Morin 1 goal and a +2
    Nordstrom 1 goal and 1 assist and a +2
    Ross 1 assist and a +3

    Klas Dahlbeck continued his great season for Rockford, he had 4 assists and was a +2 with 5 shots on goal…

    On the year Nordstrom is now a +10, Ross +8 and Dahlbeck a +4…on a team where MOST Hogs are – players…

    Also, LaBarbera goaltending has settled down the Hogs and given them a chance to start winning games again…2.28 GAA and a .938 Save %…

  7. Pete says:

    I’m a huge Kane fan, but he messed up in overtime in not getting the puck out of the Hawks defensive zone. So that last goal is on him in my opinion. I also don’t think the waived off goal should have been waived off. So in my opinion the Hawks should have won the game in regulation. I’m drinking the cool aid and the Hawks will repeat with a roster that is slightly tweaked from what they are putting out there right now.

  8. JP says:

    It was frustrating watching the Blackhawks tonight. Puck possession has been their game in recent years, but it gets them in serious trouble at times. Instead of dumping the puck into the opposing end, they try to hold onto it. A good example would be the overtime winner by Montreal. Kane knew all four players were exhausted, but instead of dumping it to allow a change, he passed it back into his own end. This puck possession at times causes them to turn it over in their zone, and then they start running around.

    We also need to start simplifying our game on nights when our skill and passing are off. Tonight the puck seemed to be jumping on players trying to control passes and stick handle. When this happens, we need to try to get more shots and traffic to the net like on the disallowed goal. We can’t always be looking for the perfect pass. There were at least six or seven times when we were in the Canadiens’ end and tried to make the perfect pass instead of firing on net.

    I agree we have to use some of the players from Rockford to provide depth and energy to the lineup. Handzus is slow and whenever Bollig gets tired, he turns over the puck or ices it.

  9. Phil says:

    It was a good atmosphere at Bell Centre this evening. I had great fans sitting around me in the 4 level down where Hawks shot twice. Pity the Hawks started slow again and really for the most part did not deliver much concerted pressure on Price. Price left lots of rebounds. Corey was the real story and kept the Hawks in the game. Some amazing saves. Really good net presence by CC. He played the angles very well and looked extremely confident. Habs had the clamps on defensively and shut down passing lanes and gave up little space for the Hawks to work with. Habs get credit there. Bad refs again. Disallowed goal was BS. If there was goalie interference it IS a penalty to Hawks. No call. Bottom line though was no keeper interference. Fans by me knew it was BS call as well. Early trip penalties to Hawks were lazy plays but massively embellished by Habs. Fans up by me all said Habs got the calls tonight.

    Hawks played a ho hum game. Walked away with another point that most teams don’t get in similar circumstances. Hawks look mentally tired.

    I watched pre -game morning skate at Bell Centre. Sharpy didn’t skate as I heard he has the flu. I enjoyed watching late the shooting drills. Smith has faster hands than I thought watching a drill in front of net receiving passes and shooting.

    All Habs fans I spoke with revere Hawks Organization. They are jealous and envious of what we have. Older fans here see Hawks as what Habs were back in the heyday. I wore my Shaw shirt to the game. I was complemented by many. Even vendors were kind to me and have big respect for Indian head. In this hockey crazy town, our piss poor effort was still considered and viewed as the win of the year for Montreal.

    Hawks lines in limbo except 1st group.

    Clouds will pass. Even with recent sub par showings we are getting points. That was one of the best lines I heard tonight. “Even when you guys play bad, you get points..no one else in the league operates this way!!!”

    Montreal is a great road trip destination. Nice people, good food and beer. Try Saint Bock brewery in Latin Quarter on Rue Saint Denis. They are doing some good stuff in there. Poutine just North of there was awesome too on Rue Rachel. This is a world class hockey town. Always a pleasure to be here.

    Oil tomorrow. Can the guys finally show some enthusiasm and blow up a bad team?

    Lets Go Hawks!

  10. ebonyraptor says:

    I think some patience is called for to see how Kruger does at 2C. You can’t eveluate the move after only one game unless he was so bad he doesn’t leave you any choice, and clearly that wasn’t the case tonight. The same goes for Bickell, who (surprisingly) was credited with 3 hits tonoght. Sometimes staying the course is the right thing to do.

    There is enough blame to go around tonight – the whole team looked half a step slow and out of sync. If it weren’t for Crawford it would have been a blowout.

  11. Mining Man says:

    JP’s remarks are right on. Passing and puck control was frustrating to watch, way off. Why Kane went back into our own zone is a real mystery and you could just see that goal unfolding in slow motion. Zus was in the blue paint and made no effort to get out and therefore prevented the goalie, Price, any chance to cut off the angle…its in the rulebook. Sometimes its called, sometimes its not. I was pretty upset about it being no goal but the Hockey Night in Canada commentators thought it was a good call. We sure get a lot of goals called back on us though, crucial ones at that. Whenever the Blackhawks come into a visiting rink the opposition elevates their game and we are always up against this adrenalin rush. This is a big problem with Eastern teams as we only play in their rink once and they play the games of their lives simply because of who we are. Hockey Night In Canada also commented that Byfuglein wants out of Winnipeg. Any thoughts on this? Is it possible? Thanks to Ebony Raptor for the kind words…I was 11 when they won the cup in 60-61 and remember it like it was yesterday. The Montreal play by play announcer for many years, Danny Galivan, stated that the Game 6 Blackhawks against Montreal that year in the semis was the best hockey game he ever saw. That was the game that made me a Blackhawk fan for life.

  12. Mike says:

    I too would give Kruger 3-5 games at center before putting him back on the 4th line UNLESS the Hawks make some roster moves. This blog knows how I feel about 52 and 26 and how they simply do not fit into the Hawks style of play.

    Kane….what can you say. He made a big mistake and it cost us a potential point. Big deal. I am glad he plays for us and not against us.

    The problem with last nights game is THAT CC had to be outstanding. 36 shots against is not a puck possession game by any means, I don’t care how good or bad the competition is. Hopefully playing a little more often the next 2 weeks will help.

    I have said it before and will say again. The Olympics are a F***ing distraction. I will be glad when they are over.

  13. noonan96 says:

    There is a reason why teams find it hard to repeat-what the hawks have done in the last five years is amazing. I think it’s best to enjoy the talent that we have but realize that every team gets up or them and as the year rolls on this becomes a mental hurdle. This and as has been mentioned you throw in the Olympics and I would have been surprised if this flat stretch didn’t occur-the real test is can they regroup in March and then have a long run again this year?
    Toews looked like his old self and hopefully stays healthy. He can be a beast! The shut down pairing of Oduya and Hjalm… is gassed and needs a break but won’t get one. The Olympics can’t come quick enough for P.Kane. And yes a couple of Rockford people or a trade might infuse some energy for the last third but mostly this is expected–exhaustion both physical and mental.

  14. michael petan says:

    I’m certain that most of this “poor play” is that many players have been playing to make the olympic squads of their countries. Even Sharp. So this is the let down, Hawks again for as poorly as they played was one Bickell shot from victory. Teams are packing it in on the Hawks, not trying out skate or score, just stay close, and block shots and play “low post defense” I’m also not a fan of these “line changes” since the talent is there almost any blend at times will look genius, but as a fan and player i know playing on a different line effect and rhythm chemistry big time. Hawks big problem is also at the DOT and not winning many faces, CLEAN, they are getting beat at the dot. CRAWFORD was amazing!

  15. Mike says:

    Hawks need to be a little more angry. Funny that it was Versteeg who tried to mix things up last night. Now Bollig is not really needed for anything.
    Oilers will be pumped after beating the Pens the other night.

  16. Sr. Brad says:

    Mike, Toews was badly mishandled by the Canadiens last night, and no retribution by any of the Hawks, with exception of Versteeg…there is no value to Bollig…he scares no one…he is slow to get started and is consistent with his mental cramps…could Q make an argument for both Bollig and Handzus during the playoffs??? Maybe, but not during the season…both need to rotate in and out of the lineup so that we can roll 4 lines with consistent production…

    As for Kruger…I like him a lot and think he can do a decent job as the 2nd line centre with some more time, but the fact is, he was overwhelmed with it last night…he’s better off on the 4th line, making it the best in the league…the same with Shaw on the 3rd line with Saad…it was the best in the league…Toews line IS the best line in the entire league…this is how we dominate teams…with 4 lines…in playing musical chairs, all Q has accomplished is rearranging the damaged furniture…Zus and Bollig are broken and need repairs…let someone else play for them and roll 4 lines…

  17. MS says:

    While it certainly wasn’t the best game of the season we need to remember:
    1) We had a goal disallowed;
    2) Bickell beats Price cleanly late in the 3rd and it catches pipe;
    3) We got no calls, including a blatant penalty on Subban shoving Toews into the boards head first;
    4) Montreal played an outstanding home game;
    5) CC played at playoff level

    If not for 1-3 above we had a chance to squeak out a 2-1 win which would have changed many of the comments. That said, the glaring weaknesses of 26 and 52 were laid completely bare against a skilled team that can skate. I previously felt that Q supported 52, in part, for his ability to be physical. It was embarrassing last night that none of the bigger forwards responded with anything coming close to a physical check after Montreal hits on 88 and 19. That is disappointing.

  18. ebonyraptor says:

    I think there is more criticism of the officiating than is warranted. The Hawks are still the least penalized team in the league and that is undoubtedly because they play a puck possession game and not a physical banging type game. So it’s not because the refs favor the Hawks – it’s simply the Hawks play a style where they spend more time with the puck than the opposition and most penalties are taken by the team that doesn’t have possession of the puck.

    Likewise, when the Hawks are struggling to play their style and they end up chasing the puck, they take more penalties than they normally would. So it seems to us fans that the refs are favoring the opposition when it’s more a case that the refs are calling the game fairly but the Hawks are just taking more penalties during a given game.

    I also believe that the style of play influences the officiating. When a team plays a banging and physical style, they are going to get away with more border line stuff than a team like the Hawks because their border line stuff is the norm for them. In a perfect world it wouldn’t be that way … but … well … you know …

  19. RyanDale says:

    Habs were ready and played over their heads a bit, but we have got be able to match other teams intensity. We have failed at this repeatedly lately. Coming out slow, taking penalties,falling behind, playing sloppy with the puck. Yet still within a goal of winning. Just no desperation till late in games and we haven’t been able to overcome. But Montreal just kicked our butts all night long for the most part

    We all know we need more impact players. Well we don’t have them, so blame whoever you want. EVERY team in the NHL needs something more than what they have. I’m pissed as hell about not receiving Hogs to help but the games go on. The players we have need to collectively unite and play better hockey. Show up in the 1st pd for a change, that would be a great place to start! Have some pride, stand up for each other, be accountable. If not, you see what you end up with. Lucky to be scrambling to make the plays that are needed to win late in games

    clearly 88s reentering the zone ended up being a bad idea, but when 7,19 are 2 on 1 vs a Hab behind our own net against the boards, you’ve got to get possession of the puck and exit the zone. Montreal skated away freely with it and a few seconds later its game over

    Can not ignore CCs game, he was all world. Really wanted him to get W at ‘home’. 81 was good too. But what is up with the ice up there?, the puck was on edge and bouncing all over, all game.

    I’m not jumping off any bridges yet. This ‘slump’ is maybe long in perception, yet short in reality. My faith that the Indian can deal with the adversity is there. I still think 29 will give us something, when and what’s best for him today, rest or play, I cant say. But I’m behind him 100%. 26/52 , if morphed into one player, would still not be a help to us right now

    Mike, agree NHL Olympics are asinine
    Phil, glad u had good experience

  20. Milton says:

    Brandon Bollig IMO is a career minor leaguer. Put him on waivers and when no one claims him, send him to Rockford. I agree on Kostka being sent down also. I sure hope Q wakes up and brings replacements from Rockford for 52-26. Bickell’s injury is such that he needs to play through it and hope that he is able to raise his game by playoff time.

  21. Dickie Dunn says:

    What is Hjalmarsson’s problem with the turnovers in the defensive zone – does anybody “blindly” throw the puck around the boards to the opponent more often?

    In Montreal, it wasn’t just Bickell, Handzus, and Bollig – the “core” players (except Crawford and Hossa) turned-in a subpar effort.

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