Blues Best Blackhawks After Bad Third

Another third period lead disappeared on Thursday night, and the Hawks were only able t0 take one point away from their division game against the Blues.

Jonathan Toews carried the offense, scoring his 18th goal of the season and then recording his 200th career assist on a filthy dish to Brandon Saad.

One other bright spot for the Hawks was the play of Michal Handzus, the team’s only acquisition before the trade deadline. He won 10 of 14 faceoffs and was credited with three hits in 12:50 on the ice. He was especially effective at the dot in the defensive zone, starting the game on a line with Marcus Kruger but sharing faceoffs duties. Kruger won all four of his faceoffs in the game.

Later in the game, Handzus replaced Andrew Shaw on the third line; Shaw continued to struggle at the dot, winning only three of nine faceoffs. Dave Bolland won only five of 15 faceoffs and was minus-two.

The Hawks allowed only 22 shots in the game, blocking another nine, and killed the one St. Louis powerplay opportunity. The Blackhawks failed on three powerplay chances of their own, though, and continue to struggle with an advantage.

In the shootout, Patrick Kane was able to duplicate the move Toews’ used to beat Elliott. After the Hawks’ first two shooters, though, the script became interesting.

Andrew Shaw shot third, and failed. Marian Hossa shot fourth and opted to use the Dustin Byfuglien load-and-fire method, and scored.

Brandon Saad followed Hossa with a good move, but failed to elevate the puck and was denied. Then Michal Handzus was stopped in the sixth and final round; Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winner.

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15 Responses to Blues Best Blackhawks After Bad Third

  1. Dave says:

    It’s the first division loss of any kind this year.

  2. Mike says:

    We are gonna see some shuffling in the next few games I think.
    Rosy did not have his best night last night and it really hurt.

    Tab, do you know when Sharp will be back?

  3. EbonyRaptor says:

    The Blues capitalized on two opportunities to score their first two goals. The first when Keith lost en edge leaving Seabrook to scramble back and get a stick on the breakaway shot which just served to deflect it past Crawford. The second when Rozsival let the puck bounce past him giving the same Blues player another breakaway that Crawford couldn’t stop and in fact was a preview of Crawford’s shootout problems. So … those things happen.

    What was more concerning to me was the Blues third goal because it was a result of poor defensive zone coverage. What was very good through the first part of the season has now begun to unravel a bit and that is the scrambling chasing the puck instead of staying disciplined and sticking to the man you’re supposed to defend. On the third goal, the winger had gone too low to help with the scrum along the boards and left Bouwmeester at the point. When the puck reached Bouwmeester, he had time and space to drift along the blue line and get a shot through to the net which then was tapped in on the rebound. Had the winger been doing his job and not been trying to do more than his job, he would have been in position to defend Bouwmeester and that shot never gets made. This has been happening more often lately where we see the Hawks chasing the puck all over the d-zone instead of staying disciplined. It’s a case of players trying to do too much instead of just doing what they’re supposed to do and trusting their teammates to do the same.

    The good news is that I’m sure the coaches see the same thing and it’s something that can be corrected before the playoffs.

    Oh and Crawford didn’t have a very good game last night. He did have some nice saves, but the second goal and the shootout were not very good.

  4. IceHogst says:

    Went to the game at the UC last night. What a spectacle. Blackhawk hockey live is jaw dropping, both the skill of the players and the intensity of the place are remarkable.

    It is harder to evaluate overall play from the great seats we snagged off EBay. On the other hand, I could study players without interruption (and talking of interruption, I was shocked at the number of TV timeouts and the concurrent hyper guys shoveling off the rink). Here’s some observations:

    -Handzus may do alot of the important details well, but his game is boring in every way. Tab’s stats indicate he’s a smart pick-up. But no sparks are going to fly from him. He’s a stay-at-home offense man. True, it’s only game 1.

    -Hossa struggled mightily, which is expected after the injury layoff. His timing was way, way off. His SO skate-and-blast was comical. I bet we won’t see anything like that once he gets his wheels going again.

    -Toews is an unbelievably smart and strong hockey player. His feed to Saad for his goal was brilliant. These two played off each like brothers. Blues poked and prodded Toews away from the puck all game long.

    -Frolik cannot shoot. I mean he was missing the net by a wide margin even in warm-ups. On a 2 on 1 break, with a clear shot from between the dots, he missed high by five feet. I believe he is properly placed on the 4th line.

    -Kane was off, kind of wandering around with the occasional short burst of energy. Actually the Hawks seemed like that in general. Except Toews and Saad. Brent Seabrook is as lackadaisical live as he is on TV. With Clendening, Olsen, Stanton and even Montador waiting for a chance, that’s the guy that better pick it up.

    -Crawford was at my end for two periods and the shootout and looked shaky, just really unsettled. In his defense he was screened on the rebounds that turned into Blues goals. Hard to put a finger on it, he just played nervous.

    All in all, I barely cared we lost. What a night.

  5. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    A few observations after last night. Crow made some good saves but overall was shakey. David Bolland had another rough game. Even in a good goal scoring situation was unable to get it done(he had a nice setup by Kane). As for the D pairing, It was an odd grouping last night. Keith/Hammer, Seabs/Leddy & Rosy/Oduya. I’m wondering why now has Q switched things up. Handzus is a BIG guy, much bigger than a lot of the Hawks players lol and slow too.

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    The Blues came out hard in the 3rd period and took it to the Hawks…they wanted it more…they also got way better goaltending (CC saw 27 shots throughout OT and the Shootout and let in 7).

    Handzus proved to be a good pick up and played strong…he looked at ease playing almost 13 minutes…I think the time is now to try him on the 2nd line…he won almost every face-off last night and that’s what the 2nd line desperately needs.

    But I am surprised with this article by Tab…he completely skirts around the issue and minimizes the role of Bolland and the 2nd line centre…the 2nd line was MINUS 2 on the night, and with 5 minutes left in the 3rd Bolland was 1 for 11 at the dot. They gave up the go ahead St. Louis goal after having zero presence all shift, and if not for some strong individual plays by a physically ill Patrick Kane, they would have NOTHING to show for the entire game.

    This is what I, and tons of others here and around the league, commented on leading up to the trade deadline…the Blackhawks had one glaring weakness (2nd line centre) and they didn’t address it with the aggressiveness they should have. Bowman traded for Handzus and now that’s all we have…Dave Bolland couldn’t play 3rd line Centre right now either…I don’t know what is wrong with Dave, but it must be serious because he is a GHOST on the ice…he’s not checking, he’s not skating, he has no offensive zip or spark, he can’t finish, and has no vision. Bolly’s been a very good Hawk, but right now he’s hurting this team…if Sharp is ready for the weekend, Handzus should centre he and Kane. Bolland can play 4th line wing for now, or take some time off to get healthy…because right now he’s not doing anyone any good.

    One point that Tab made earlier that is very true, is the sooner Frolik gets back to the 4th line, the better the Hawks will be…Fro has done a very good job filling in on lines 1 and 2, but he really makes that 4th line dominant and dangerous…and you saw last night what a good 4th line can do…Bollig and Mayers should NOT skate another shift in the NHL this season.

    Nick Leddy continues to impress…he’s our best DMan right now.

  7. Tab Bamford says:

    If I emphasized Bolland underwhelming with his performance in every post game article, it would get awfully redundant… Especially after I wrote an entire article calling him out & asking for Kruger to get the shot there less than two weeks ago.

  8. Stinky says:

    Well the 2nd line center they won the Cup with is still on the roster. Kooga can play there, Kane can play there, Shaw can play there.

    Objectively speaking Bolland probably earned an opportunity to fill that role but hasn’t been able to due to incompetence, injury or disinterest. They don’t need a premier player centering Kane. They need to get puck, give puck to Kane, go to net, deflect puck into net. Sharp, Kruger and Shaw are all capable of that. This is especially true if Stalberg is fetching it when it is loose.

    Kane centering a line (with Sharp taking draws) and Hossa on the right boards is a terrifying option.

    The Detroit Red Wings haven’t gone out and bought their way out of problems by shelling out picks and prospects for yesterdays hot commodity. The Hawks being modeled in that same philosophy are going to behave similarly.

    What second line center was available? Roy? Really? Another lil guy who is worse than Kruger and Shaw at winning draws and on par with Bolland the last two years in terms of PPG production? Silly.

    Brassard went in a package involving a premier player (Gabo) which is what Columbus was after. Which top tier Hawk gets moved to secure him?

    Plenty of options. No need to panic or go nutzo about who was or wasn’t traded for.

  9. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Bolland is already listed as out for the game against Nashville maybe they should sit him down until the playoffs and call up someone from Rockford, couldn’t hurt

  10. Mike says:

    Stinky, I will have to disagree about the hated Red Wings. Although not this year, they have been masters at the deadline picking up rentals and even making them longer term. They have fallen off that mode the last 2-3 years.

    As for Sharp, don’t have a problem with him at center. Keeps him away from wall hits.
    Just hate to see him get hurt again…

  11. Sr. Brad says:

    This is Handzus’ chance to shine on the 2nd line. With Bolly out, Kruger is best suited staying on the 4th line. But why did Q send Hayes down and bring Bollig back up if Sharp wasn’t ready to play…its something that got missed from last night’s game…we are a better hockey club with Frolik skating on the 4th line with Kruger and Carcillo or Morin. My vote for Saturday/Sunday is…

    Saad-Toews-Hossa
    Hayes-Handzus-Kane
    Stahlberg-Shaw-Bickell
    Frolik-Kruger-Carcillo

    Shut down Mayers and Bollig for the rest of the season.

  12. Sr. Brad says:

    Great comments Icehogst…thanks for sharing your UC Centre experiences!

  13. Dickie Dunn says:

    I believe it’s a good option to have Bollig available for the 4th line against certain opponents.

    Handzus taking draws and playing wing seemed to work(?)…I really don’t see him centering Kane (and Sharp when he returns).

  14. Milton says:

    Nobody mentioned that Ray Emery has not been given the playing time that he has earned. With back to back games Sunday against Detroit and Monday against Nashville Crawford plays both games. What is Q thinking? Let’s have a competition the last 12 games to see who plays in the playoffs? We won the Stanley Cup with our #2 goaltender. Emery has a way of stepping up his game and does not play nervous or scared like Crawford has been in the last 2 games. I think Emery gives us a better shot at winning the Cup. Emery plays mean and confident. Give him a chance. Would we have won the Stanley Cup with Cristobal Huet in goal?

  15. Ryan says:

    I think Handzus should center the 2nd line tomorrow between Hossa and Kane to see what he can provide. I would then skate Frolik with Toews and Saad.

    Here’s my reasoning.

    With a healthy roster:
    – Kruger is perfect as a 4th line center with Frolik onthe 4th line as well. This way both of those guys are on the first unit Pen Kill and that is when our kill is at its best.

    – I know the 3rd line has struggled lately but they have earned the right to battle thru it with their play for most of this season. I also don’t like the thought of busting that line up going forward if the can regain their form.

    – Bolland has the ablity to play the wing, so with a fully healthy roster maybe he skates on the 4th line with much more Pen Kill and Power Play duty. If a Center gets hurt he’d obviously fill in there, but if a wing gets hurt even top 6 he could fill in there. He could be a very versatile guy for us down the stretch.

    To me it seems to obvious to try Handzus at 2nd line center over the weekend to see what you have. I also think putting him out there at least a little bit of the time with Hossa and Kane would be beneficial to know what we have moving forward.

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