Bryan Bickell Returns, Blackhawks Bounce Back

For the first time since they joined the NHL roster, the Chicago Blackhawks played a game without Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews because of injury. The Hawks were also without Michal Rozsival and Johnny Oduya (lower-body) was scratched after warm-ups.

Even with those key veterans – and Teuvo Teräväinen – sitting out, the Hawks were able to end the losing streak.

Bickell


The lineup looked more like a 2006 Blackhawks unit than that of the defending champions, with Andrew Shaw the top-line center and recently recalled Joakim Nordstrom starting the game on the second line. Jeremy Morin and Peter Regin were both in the lineup as well as the Hawks needed every healthy body to contribute after losing four of their last five in regulation.

Charlie Coyle tipped a shot that had already been redirected by Niklas Hjalmarsson past Corey Crawford in the first period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. The Hawks looked awkward and mediocre in a first period that saw the home team get only five shots on net.

Ben Smith opened the scoring for the Hawks with his 11th of the season, tying the game in the second period. Smith and Brandon Saad were both in front of Ilya Bryzgalov when Nick Leddy put a shot on net, and Smith put a rebound home.

Bryan Bickell, who hadn’t played since March 19, scored for the first time since March 6 after Morin made a great play to win the puck. It was Bickell’s 11th goal of the year, while the assist was Morin’s first point in the NHL since Dec. 8.

Unfortunately, Erik Haula scored a tying goal with 1:54 remaining in regulation and the Hawks skated through a scoreless overtime period.

Smith won seven of 11 faceoffs and was credited with three blocked shots in the game. Shaw skated over 22 minutes and was credited with six hits in the game, while David Rundblad and Brandon Bollig were credited with five hits each.

Rundblad was pressed into action with Oduya out, and was also credited with three blocked shots in 9:21 on Thursday night. Sheldon Brookbank skated over 25 minutes in the win.

Bickell skated only 9:56 in the game, and Morin was limited to a team-low 8:56 in spite of a good evening.

Crawford continued his strong play, making 25 saves in 65 minutes of hockey, while Bryzgalov made 24 saves. In the shootout, Crawford made three stops and Marian Hossa’s goal held up as the game-winner.

The Hawks travel to Columbus for a Friday night showdown with the Blue Jackets, who won in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

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45 Responses to Bryan Bickell Returns, Blackhawks Bounce Back

  1. Pete says:

    So does this win lock in the seeds that the Hawks will play Colorado in the first round?

  2. Martin M says:

    No, Colorado could still catch St Louis points wise even though it doesn’t seem likely.

  3. Pete says:

    Anyone have any thoughts regarding Bolig’s hit on Parise. Was he trying to skate around him or not?

  4. morrison says:

    This just in from…

    Colorado is absolute garbage, that their going to win their last 7 games down a goal in last 5min of 3rd period and get free 2 pts in ot/so and be +34 over 500, because St Louis will go 2-3-1 & Colorado will win the ‘hardest’ division & Presidents trophy (unless Boston can tackle enough goalies to get pp/goals).

    Its so amazing how many times they got lucky in the last 5min of 3rd period this 82game season. Is there a record on that, they must have smashed it. Also broke the record for most consecutive games played by a criminal with a warrant out for his arrest. Its shocking they havnt found him yet.

  5. morrison says:

    What really will be funny is when Chicago wins the division in playoffs after only winning a total of 2 division games this 82game season.

  6. Bannerman & Belfour says:

    Long time hawks fan and was concerned about the game tonight cause we had to win. I just wanted to say that the young guys were good, especially Smith and Morin. But Crawford let in 2 more soft goals tonight including 1 with less than 2 minutes to play how can anyone describe his 60 minutes as great, he was good in the shootout but it should never have got there. We can’t have these goals against us come playoffs.

  7. JS says:

    Broken record on Crawford. Both were redirects, but I agree he should have stopped the second. Guy has like a .930 s% in 2014 and is 4th in the league at 5v5 s%, yet people are still going to cry about it. What can you do? Can’t win a cup with this guy!

    Incredible play by Morin on the Bickell goal. That line, of course, had the best possession numbers. So that line, of course, played the least amount of minutes.

    The Wild probably would have won if they responded properly to the Bollig hit on Parise. Now other teams know that and they are just going to have people taking shots at their stars all the time.

    PS- After the game, Parise said he had a headache. Good job letting him play, Minnesota doctors! Also, Yeo was crying about Bollig after the game as well.

  8. ebonyraptor says:

    I thought Bollig’s hit was borderline. Parise had just released the puck so it wasn’t charging because you’re allowed a a stride to finish the check. Bollig could have pulled but why should he? He didn’t hit him above the shoulders and the only reason Parise got dinged is because he got whiplashed.

    I’ll bet Yeo wasn’t complaining about the refs letting two blatant hooking penalties go when Hawk players were driving to the net.

    A good gritty win. Nice to see and nice to mathematically lock in a top-3 in the division. With the Avs win tonight it’s very long odds to overtake them for home ice but let’s just get playing the right way and that’s just what the boys did tonight.

    Crawford should have played the 2nd goal better but it was a deflection so those things happen. The first goal was a double deflection and can’t be considered a soft goal except by the most ardent Crawford haters.

    One in a row – let’s keep it rolling boys.

  9. Mining Man says:

    It does look like the 2006 version…..younger, energetic, exciting to watch, the future is “there”and for the first time in a long while we are actually the underdogs in every game we play until the playoffs start. Then what?…gonna be a blast for sure. Quite the stategy.

  10. Tim G says:

    Pete- I dont think its locked… if the hawks lose out in regulation AND the wild win out they can still technically pass us on tie breakers… but i doubt that will happen

  11. Phil says:

    Kind of a disjointed effort last night where one had difficulty finding much cohesion in the lineup. Like a ship without a rudder. I thought it strange that as the game wore on, Morin didn’t play more. I liked that line out there. Morin deserves more ice time. His skating is much improved and his drive to the corners has been strong. It is clear though that Q does not like him much, and his game to game low minutes are telling. Happy to see Bicks get on the sheet first game back, but Morin made that play with hustle. I was hoping to see TT play against a Wild team that doesn’t really play a big physical game. CC needs to stop letting in the softies. It is deflating for his team to see goals like that 2nd one go in. You could see Hawks heads drop. That game should have been in the can after 3 periods. I think Corey is a good keeper, but the game to game frequency of those softies needs to be reduced.

    Avs keep finding the points we have given away this year. I still hold out hope we can get home ice, but chances now are much reduced.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  12. Ernie says:

    Here’s two things I noticed, or didn’t notice during last nights game.

    1. I didn’t realize Handzus wasn’t playing until about 8:45 left in the third.
    2. 42 has some wheels!

  13. wall says:

    Morrison- Avs getting “lucky” or are they just good enough to will a win out of different situations??? Reminds me of a team last year – that could will wins out of thin air (Balckhawks?)

    Was Crow that good in SO? I think the Wild were less creative/good in SO… less creative than most Hawk’s Shootouts this year!!! and that’s pretty bad.

    Really, liked 11 and 42’s skating…

    Oduya- I think somebody (me) called him out for going to play in Olympics- while obviously being injured prior to them!!! Has not skated well since then… BUT he had to go and play!!!

    Now we see why the Runbad addition was needed. Rosey/Oduya are both dinged up…
    I am guessing both of them might not be w/ Hawks next year- freeing up some Cap space and some roster spots for younger/cheaper guys- which should be a good thing.

  14. JS says:

    Speaking of Rundblad, I think he played a pretty good game. Don’t like the fact that he limited Leddy’s minutes. My favorite part of the game was when someone was coming to hit him and he jumped like 18 inches off the ice and then bounced off the guy like a pinball.

    Last years Hawks team was worlds better than this years Avs team, don’t be silly Wall! Hawks in 5!

    Read on the Twitter machine that the Hawks have been out-possessed 18 times this year. 9 wins, 9 loses. In the wins, they were like +30 on goals which is just score effects at work. In the losses, 8 of them are by 1 goal. Hawks are still real good.

    I saw updated Cup odds yesterday, Hawks are 3rd at 13/2. Kings were 12/1. I was thinking about putting some dollars on the Kings… and then Doughty got hurt last night. It’s obvious the only reason he got hurt was because I was going to put money on them.

    I want to watch some more replays on the Bollig hit on Parise. Didn’t look too dissimilar to what Hansen did to Hossa last year. I wonder if the fans/media in Minnesota are going crazy that they didn’t take a run at Hossa or Keith.

  15. John Wangsauce says:

    These short side goals that Crow let in are maddening. Even if there was a deflection, he was still out of position, which made me start thinking…

    For all of you goalie experts out there: has Crawford been caught out of position more this year than last? I started looking at some #’s (and I know #’s don’t mean everything), but I found this interesting:

    Corey Crawford:
    2013 (under Stephane Waite) – GAA 1.94, SV% .926
    2013-14 (under Steve Weeks) – GAA 2.23, SV% .918

    Carey Price:
    2013 (under Pierre Groulx) – GAA 2.59, SV% .905
    2013-14 (under Stephane Waite) – GAA 2.36, SV% .925

    Could a goalie coach have that much of an affect on how a goalie plays? We always heard Waite praised as a great goalie coach. Could his departure be contributing to Crow’s increased lapses in positioning?

  16. Phil says:

    Come on JS let it go with this stuff relating to Toews injury against Pens. You are beating a dead horse. We have spent enough time with this, and by the way we know your opinion. I’ll take the bait though and say Hansen hit wasn’t even close since he planted Hoss completely from behind and he hit him in the back of the head. Bollig was a behind/ side shot that spun Parise. It wasn’t a head shot. By the way ask Versteeg what he thought about getting drilled after the Bollig hit. That was the answer from the Wild, so they did go after one of our guys.

  17. michael petan says:

    Bolig hit was clean and Bickel thankfully is back. Morin has speed an size to burn, Hawks need his size and stick and hits he should stay up. Smith really coming around. Crawford looked okay, but as we all say broken record, if we only had a great goaltender, that last goal, at that time in this type of game is HORRRRRIBLE. Seems he gives up soft goals not with a 3 goal lead but gives it up at the most critical time in the game. Hawks play very well defensively so he looks better than he really is. If Hawks get by the first round they will be on their way, a rested Kane and Towes should provide a spark.

  18. Peter says:

    John,
    I just started thinking about the goalie coach change too. Thanks for the numbers. I think coaching does have an effect on the players and change can be difficult. Waite just seemed solid and damned if broadcasts last year in the playoffs didn’t talk him up a little bit…and then boom, he’s gone.

  19. ebonyraptor says:

    Tim G – The Wild have 90 points with 5 games remaining so the best they can do is 100 points. The Hawks have 101 points. They have a top-3 spot locked.

  20. JS says:

    Mr. Wang- Crawford’s numbers are slightly skewed by the attrotious penalty kill to start the year. His 5v5 s% this year is 92.8. His 5v5 s% last year was 93.2. He has had some struggles this year, but he’s been really good since coming back from injury.

    Phil- I’m sorry! Just wanted to point out that sometimes points are more important than retaliation. And I guess it was a clean hit by Bollig, but one I wouldn’t mind being taken out of the game. Good way to get a concussion or some bad whip lash. Wouldn’t have been hard for him to go shoulder to shoulder instead of the middle of his back.

  21. Tim G says:

    I thought Minny has one less game than us left… guess i was mistaken… sounds good to me…

  22. AJ says:

    Hitting someone from behind is pretty cowardly and an intent to injure in any circumstance. He drilled a player in the numbers that had zero chance to defend himself and a star player at that. It is baffling how Hawks players are heroes and everyone else villains regarding legal hits that are on the dangerous or on “the edge” people clamor for more Hawks to play on.

    29 by the way did exactly what he should do to be successful. Nothing stupid, parking his 230lbs ass in front of the net and throwing his wrists to the crossbar.

    Seriously, no way no how Crawford can ever win a Cup. Can’t ever imagining it happening. So deflating and substandard. Gosh he sucks.

    He had an off year under waite in 11-12 and had a solid year before that. Realistically he should be in the .915 – .920 range. If you want to look at comparables, in terms of the only stat that matters regarding goal tenders (that being save %), he is right on par with Jonathan Quick.

    You are nuttier than a fruitcake if you think Crawford is remotely near the reason the Hawks have hit a slump or think that he can’t be relied upon in the playoffs.

  23. John Wangsauce says:

    I guess part of my question is a bit more subjective since it would have to account if his positioning was on or off when goals were scored. Perhaps part of the atrocious PK was due in part to letting in soft goals because of being out of position. Just throwing it out there for discussion because I haven’t seen much talk about the goalie coach change.

    It’d be nice to see how Raanta would be doing with Waite vs Weeks, but that would require 2 universes.

  24. Negzz says:

    JS and AJ- get off your petty and condescending little high horses when it comes to both Crawford and the retribution topic. You ask to bury the topic and move on from what many clearly disagree with you on, and then chirp away post after post. You want to re-open the can of worms after every questionable hit? We disagree and we’re all clear on your “new school” pov. Get over it.

    As for Crawford, another pathetic softie in closing minutes when we should have been done in regulation. If you can’t see that you’re blind. Dig your stats all day long- doesn’t matter- that goal can not go in.

  25. AC says:

    Definitely seemed to be Rundblad’s first good game, hopefully he can keep that level up if pressed into further duty. Morin looked good again and Nordstrom had some energy, I liked that. I don’t know what Saad did to get saddled with Versteeg as his other winger, but Steeger looks done (little forecheck, slow backcheck, poor decisionmaking with the puck, ugh) and he needs to sit in the playoffs.

    Ranta tonight?

  26. Tim G says:

    I’d assume we see Rantaa… 3rd spot locked in… back to back… no need to but 50 out there.

    Not to mention that 2nd goal…

  27. Dickie Dunn says:

    I prefer Nordstrom’s speed to Handzus’s experience. I doubt that Q agrees.

    In my opinion, the Bollig hit was not “clean” – it was from behind/target defenseless – I think he knew it too, from his immediate reaction. I don’t believe it was an attempt to injure – compared to Oprick’s hit on Toews the force was just a bump.

    I believe that Crawford should have made the save on the second goal. He has played very well most of the time, but he does let in the occasional soft goal often at inopportune times.

  28. Phil says:

    Good comments DD. I agree with you on all counts, although Zus has his bright spots that occasionally outweigh his lack of speed, especially on the PK. I like the jump Nordstrom has. We have missed that speed with Fro gone and our old buddy Stalberg hibernating as a Pred.

  29. JS says:

    AJ and I ride one horse and he sits on the front.

    And look, I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I thought it was a perfect example of a team trying to win a game instead of retaliating after their super star was plowed from behind. I will never mention it again!

    As far as Crawford, name me a goalie that doesn’t let in the occasional soft goal and I’ll still show you a Stanley cup ring.

  30. Mike57 says:

    Thought it was funny that Tab didn’t even mention Zus was out when he was letting us know who sat out. Love the job Ben Smith has done, you can see who was driving that 4th line. If Morin is not 10 times the better hockey player than Bollig – I am seeing things when I watch games. Makes you wonder how much better we could have been giving more time to Morin and Ben Smith instead of relying on Zus and Bollig. I liked Rundblad’s game last nite too. Amazing how guys respond when given a chance to play a little.

  31. RyanDale says:

    if 50 gets 2 rings, it still won’t be enough for some(not that those ‘some’ are residing here) He’s got a great attitude, is mentally strong, and consistent as anyone. All you need to win. His only drawback is, he’s a goalie, and they’re All nuts !!

    52, Not much to like about hitting from behind. Just too dangerous today

    Ten days in and the TT vibe is near silent. Thought Morin looked strong

  32. Tim G says:

    RD- I think the TT talk is limited cuz he has been working outside of what we all expected him to be working with.

    I know I for one was really high on him (and still am), but i was expecting him to get a 2C spot playing with some combo like 20/81, or 10/81, or 29/88 or 20/88… something. That just hasnt happened, so its hard to keep the talk up.

    I still think he has a spot on this team next year for sure… I would say this year too, but for him to contribute in the playoffs he would need to have some really chemisty with his teammates and its hard to do that from the bench/press box. We will still see what happens. I would want to see lines like this…
    29/19/88
    20/86/81
    10/65/28
    16… then any combo of 26/52/11/23/12
    but i just dont see Q after seeing how he has used TT thus far

  33. Negzz says:

    DD- I agree the Bollig hit was not clean and that there is no need for that crap as it was unnecessary and accomplished nothing. Completely different scenario in that it looked to be more of a reach/mistaken judgement (and that he knew it.)

    My view is we need the Hawks to re-up their commitment to team defense (always makes the goalie look good), and for Crawford to stay steady while eliminating the softies. There is still hope for the playoffs, just need a little sense of team-wide desperation and commitment. As another poster speculated- maybe the loss of 19/88 for week or 2 will benefit us in that dept?

  34. Negzz says:

    @Tim G- Like your lines (and agree we should see 29 with 19/88 again), but would reunite 16-52-28 if you’re going to blend as proposed, they’ve been a great mix together this year. Gotta give 28 his props too, he gives what he’s got every nite and has been decent at the dot when we need it..

    The TT thing?- (as I’ve been saying), he looks to have a promising future but he’s not ready yet. Further, he’s no where near the “top/elite” talent we’ve seen from our own premier players at the same age (Toews and Kane), or other recent phenoms like Mackinnon, etc. Give him time to bulk up and get used to NA hockey, he’ll be a top-6 value-add imo..

  35. RyanDale says:

    TimG- agree with your TT points, Im sure he’ll be fine. Just noting the ebb n flow of the times. Im as anxious as anyone for him to succeed.

  36. Dickie Dunn says:

    Negzz, “the Hawks to re-up their commitment to team defense and for Crawford to stay steady while eliminating the softies.”, along with the healthy return of Toews, Kane, Bickell (- he’s not there yet) and Roszival = sounds like the formula for success. (…and if Versteeg can manage to elevate his game to the next level, who knows how far they can go?)

    Another two points tonight (in regulation time?) – GO HAWKS!!
    Phil, Zus surprised me (and anyone else?) with his playoff performance last year…this year he hasn’t done much – yes, some blocks and clears on the PK, but overall, I think he’s contributed less than Bollig (who I believe is a good 4th line role player most games).

  37. RyanDale says:

    No question Team D is down from 13. Doing it well ensures success. Some nights we are far short of doing it well, and unrecognizable from last year. We CAN at times, choke teams out, at ANA, vs.StL , just too inconsistent. I think playoffs will bring out the best in us though.

  38. ebonyraptor says:

    I could be wrong – just guessing, but I don’t think Stan and Q had a scripted plan for when TT joined the team, and I think they still don’t have one. I think their approach was to bring him along slowly and just kind of see where it goes, and that’s what they are doing. They’ve played him a few games so far and they will probably play him a few more before the regular season ends. They’re giving him time to take baby steps before expecting more of him and I think they’re handling it very well. The last thing any of us wants is for him to lose confidence because he tried to do too much before he was ready. I’m not usually a patient guy, but in this case I think it’s absolutely the right approach.

  39. morrison says:

    The 2013 Chicago Blackhawks were one of the all time top teams (2nd longest undefeated winning streak, ever, 33games).

    This yr Colorado reminds me of Montreal last yr, they are a good team, fast and have good goalie & for whatever reason they overachieve in the reg season by having a better reg season record then they really are. Last yr Montreal had a higher reg season record than Boston did to…

    When 3 of our ass gm went to be head gm, it makes good trade partners. That’s not the case with goalie coach’s. At least we got ‘the good’ faceoff coach. As long as we have these good coachs at some point, write down the notes and keep them in a safe.

    Yea, Smith is only in his first full/82 year (same as 20), he is going to get better in his 2nd & 3rd full yr, look at Krugs.

    Ben & Jerrys Baby.

  40. Phil says:

    It will be interesting to see which lines go tonight, or if Q will stick with anything for very long. It seems as though the lines worth trying to find right now are the 3rd and 4th lines. Without Toews and Kane the top 2 lines are a crap shoot, mix and match.

    I was hoping to see TT against the Wild last night since they don’t bring the rough and tough. Q threw him in against a hard road game in Boston where he didn’t look out of sorts at all. The kid looked just fine against the Stars, but a little tentative against the Pens, but that game, well screw it. I’m not going there. There have been flashes of what is to come from this youngster. Q’s lineups are confounding worthy of WTF thoughts, yet the coach seems to be really good in playoffs when he has the soldiers to roll in a 7 game series. He figures out how to dial in advantageous match ups. The guy has 2 Cups, enough said. With TT we can wait, but I would like to see more ice time for him. Blues game might be pushing it, but the cream rises to the top. This kid can create, but he just needs to slow down a little, and let the game come to him. Looks to me like he is rushing things because NHL pace is SO fast.

    I laughed when I read your comments DD about Zus. I was so surprised when he raised his game in the playoffs last year. He was amazing in some games. Regrettably, I believe it was his swan song. In market terminology he is now making lower highs and lower lows on a his game to game bar chart. He was a good pickup though for the Hawks and was an important player in last years Cup run. Hope he something left in the tank for playoffs this year.

    Well pointed out Rd about Hawks team D. It seems when they play against strong opposition they really focus on that part of the game. Other games guys are cheating on potential breakouts that result in turnovers and odd man plays where pucks go in our net. I have to think team defensive play will improve once the real season starts. It has been a cornerstone of Blackhawk hockey since Q got here and remains so going forward. Otherwise, those that don’t buy in won’t play.

    Hopfully Avs lose some and we win. I’d love to have home ice against those guys. Hope we come out and get the lead tonight.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  41. wall says:

    Re: TT- he has surpassed my expectations in the D zone, and didn’t realize how good/active his stick is on D and in Neutral zone… Offensively- kind of like I expected- over passing AND Passing sooner than he needs to… He needs to be greedy and more assertive… Q told him to shoot and he did last game…

    Reality is the Hawks are short handed AND have not practiced much since TT joined (which surely is needed w TT and his quick passing/timing)…

    Really exciting is that the Hawks could have around $5M in cap space next year if they decide to Move 27, and 32… or 32 retires.

  42. AJ says:

    Nothing condescending just stating the facts and trying to figure out if I’m missing something.

    Why is it OK for the Hawks to play with an edge and drill players but no one else is? That’s all I want to know. Seems reasonable.

    Crawford won a Cup, has a good career and year long save percentage compared to the other top goalies and is very consistent. And again aside from some nonsensical “back breaking deflating” goal statement that can’t be quantified in a meaningful way there is no reasonable or fact based argument to assume he wont pick up that big silver Cup or that a collapse starts there. At least have some solid argument that can be respected instead of throwing out the same old straw man.

    Yee haw.

  43. Phil says:

    Actually AJ you are missing alot. Your comments have become condescending, arrogant, and provocative. The argument you make and don’t understand is a soft goal is a soft goal. If you can’t tell the difference, well what can I do to help you open your jaded eyes except get some glasses, and see what’s going on? I am a CC fan, but he gives us bad goals. He can also come up big as he did last year in the playoffs. No one is picking on Corey. Just telling it like it is. By the way when you get your new glasses, have a look at the Hawks players on the ice when CC lets in a softy. See the heads drop?? It really happens.

    The Hawks don’t play with an edge, but that is not how they were put together. When they back up their team mates who have been drilled all the better. It shows team spirit, which by the way they have had in each year they won the Cup.

    I speak for the straw men by the way….

  44. RyanDale says:

    finally a late game break

  45. Phil says:

    Fantastic team win tonight.

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