Cam Ward, Blackhawks Show No Sympathy For The Devils

When the Blackhawks visited the Devils in New Jersey on Jan. 14 Chicago took one of the ugliest losses of the season, falling 8-5.

Cam Ward started that game but didn’t finish it.

Ward was back between the pipes against the Devils exactly one month later, this time in Chicago, and he was certainly looking for some redemption. The Devils came in missing some key players, including Taylor Hall.

Jersey scored the first two goals of the game, but Ward had a terrific first period. Damon Severson scored at 7:14 and then Travis Zajac scored a power play goal at 16:42 to give the Devils their lead but the action was controlled by the visitors for the game’s opening 18 minutes.

Ward was playing so well the Blackhawks just needed a little bit of a spark to get some momentum. And they got it from Patrick Kane with 1:43 left in the first.

Dylan Sikura made a strong play against the boards and held onto the puck just long enough for Kane to join the rush as the Hawks’ sixth skater with Jersey having a delayed penalty coming. Sikura and Artem Anisimov were credited with the assists.

Jersey out-shot the Hawks 14-13 on paper in the first but the opening 20 minutes felt a lot more one-sided than that.

Whatever Jeremy Colliton said during the first intermission worked.

Because 20 seconds into the second period, Drake Cagguila tied the game.

With an assist on the Cagguila goal, Kane breaks Stan Mikita’s franchise record for consecutive games with an assist. Kane’s streak is currently at 15.

But Kane wasn’t done on Thursday night.

Kane started a rush 13 minutes later, leaving the puck for Slater Koekkoek who found Jonathan Toews for the Blackhawks’ third goal of the night, giving Chicago the lead for the first time.

Cagguila wisely drove the net and slammed on the breaks to provide some traffic on the play and Toews’ one-timer was true.

When the dust settled after 40 minutes, the Blackhawks had out-shot the Devils 15-10 in the second and took a 3-2 lead to the room.

New Jersey continued to have good chances denied by Ward early in the third period. Anisimov extended the Blackhawks lead to two 13 minutes into the third.

Unfortunately Marcus Kruger went to the box 76 seconds after the Anisimov goal.

Fortunately Brandon Saad wanted to join the party.

Saad exploded up the ice and scored his own rebound for a short-handed goal, giving Chicago a 5-2 lead late in the third.

That’s where the score would end.

Chris Kunitz played his 1,000th regular season game on Thursday night. He was honored before the game, was on the ice for the first shift of the night and Colliton sent him out for the final shift of the victory as well.

Ward made 41 saves and earned the Blackhawks the win. The game could have been blown wide open in the first period if not for Ward’s exceptional work.

Kane finished the night with one goal and two assists. Anisimov and Saad had one goal and one assist each and Toews scored the game-winning goal. Chicago’s captain also won 12 of 22 faceoffs.

Cagguila had a great night, playing a strong, physical game all over the ice. He added three hits and three shots on net to his goal in 15:44 on the ice. Koekkoek was credited with four hits in the game and his assist on the Toews goal is his first point with the Blackhawks.

Connor Murphy led Chicago with five hits.

Alex DeBrincat’s personal scoring streak came to an end.

45 thoughts on “Cam Ward, Blackhawks Show No Sympathy For The Devils

  1. Nice run, but what a difference between the Devils and the Bruins. Still with the Hawks schedule they could come close or squeak into the playoffs.

  2. As the Blackhawks (like it or not) are at the bottom of the league they have been and will continue to face an opposing team’s secondary goalie; which in turn will result in more wins; thereby putting them around the playoff picture. This was the only reason the (2001?) Blackhawks made the playoffs; almost every game was against a backup goalie and turned into a win. Throw in the steller play of Thibault in net and the team was in the playoffs…..and swept in the first round. Tonight they made sure the NJ Devil goalie continues to struggle; I guess he’s been hurt but not winning since 2017; that stinks for him.

    Nice to see the Blackhawks stars shining of course. It’s the supporting cast and defense that’s lackluster on this team. Ward has surprised a bit but wouldn’t be considered one of the leagues best.

    Regarding trade rumors…..there are none involving the Blackhawks that I’ve seen. Are we done dreaming about the first overall pick? Told you it was way too soon. Look forward to Crow coming back and Delia getting lots of game time in the minors to get the hogs in the playoffs….if that’s even an option at this point.

  3. Forsling makes Koekkoek look like Doug Wilson, or if we want to stick to a stay at home type, Keith Carney. Simply stated. Forsling’s time is up here. Rundblad Jr.

    Over 40 shots on goal again (against a dog breath team), Ward outstanding. The amount of shots on goal is an issue that good goaltending hides.

    As stated previously hereto, the new coach did a great job repairing the power play; the penalty killing, however, is still a joke. When it was 3-2 in 3rd period, the NJ power play was in the Hawks zone the entire time until the last 15 seconds. That’s how you lose games (when you’re not playing NJ). Ward did a fine job as well.

    The Hawks started the season well (and with a worse roster) with Kane Toews & Debrincat carrying the team. The same holds true lately, with the goalies playing better and a better (compared to the beginning of the season) overall roster. I’m not sold on the new coach at all. He has a hell of a lot to learn game management behind the bench. Would a different, more experienced coach — with admittedly Bowman’s new and improved roster — have the team playing better?

    Irrespective of same, always nice to see the Hawks win. Keep the line moving.

  4. We went 6-2-1 to start the 2nd 40 games, and 7 of those 9 games were top 10 teams/like BOS.

    We lost 5/half were tie = 3 loses.

    Now we win 8-1, and played (WAS/NYI/BUF/MIN/BOS) about 4 of the 9 games against top 10 teams.

  5. 14-6-1, with 3 losses in between, since we took out the ‘tank’ ufas, Dals and Murf came back and we made those trades. Also getting used to new system.

    Not at any point, I wouldnt even say the 3-16/ok the 3-16 stretch was the only time we were a bottom 10 team this yr.

    As soon as we mad those changes, we were instantly a mid tier team/this is why were beating every/most of the bad teams. A bottom 10 team would split games with the worst teams in league.

    Were only 2 games behind MIN for 8 seed. So is about 5 other teams.

  6. We though, do not have a deep roster, only about 3/4 roster. We need better D, PK and a couple good players, then were right there.

    Remeber the 6-2-1 was against 7 of those 9 vs. top 10 teams.
    and the 8-1 was against 4 of those 9 vs. top 10 teams.

    That is not fools gold when 11 of 18 teams are top 10-not even mid tier.

    Make the right adds in summer Bowman and the wave is coming.

  7. We simply do not have 9 top 9 FW ans do not have good enough D, PK and need to add a couple really good ufas in summer and make more trades, adding good players for depth and what we need.

    Remember we played with a half roster this yr, until we made thos trades and now have a about 3/4 roster. We still have to add to get roster to full, then we can become an elite team. Were really playing with one arm ted behind our backs and have done well with that.

    2 yrs.

  8. I’ve always liked Anisimov’s game. He’s not speedy but he’s a net presence. He factored into two goals tonight. One he scored himself by being near the net. Earlier he was down low battling and screening the goalie to help one go in.

    However, I’m realistic and know that his age, contract etc. may not fit in with him being a part of the team’s future. So here is a question for those who really keep up on Rockford;

    Barring a trade for a center/forward who has a net presence and is gritty, who on Rockford’s roster currently has the stuff to fit that need? A team has to have role players and not just a bunch of snipers who play the perimeter.

    Good win tonight.

  9. Made mistake, we were 4 games behind MIN/the 8 seed with loss, so now were 3 games behind 8 seed.

    Still pretty close to top 3-6 pick.

    Were just to good to end up with a top pick, even with a 3-16 stretch that had coaches/new system and half a roster before we did the adjustments to roster.

    Well the people who wanted to win and get experience of a winning atmosphere, we have it. Since the adjustments were 14-6-3 (thats with a 0-3-2 section in the middle of it).

    14-6-3
    Need to add this summer and trades.

  10. That photo of Kunitz getting his 1000th game picture, 14 stanley cups there, wow think about it.
    Great result on the scoreboard, Kane doing it again. Sikuras best game by far, looked like he belonged. That line was only one that had a good 1st period.

    Ward stole the win, could’ve been over early. Far too easy in Blackawks end for opposing teams, too much puck possession, way too much room and time for teams in front Chicago net. As Tab mentioned Devils are a team hurting, notably the reigning MVP. Onto next game.

  11. Nice victory. Team showed some heart tonight.

    Bowman should be fired for signing the worst “tank” goalie free agent in history. Apparently Bowman didn’t put the word “tank” in big enough letters on the contract for Ward to read. Oh, BTW – this is sarcasm.

    Just curious: How many points would Gus have at this spot in the season if Q was still coaching? Likely more press box visits than goals is my guess. Oh, BTW – this is a serious question.

    Our defense is still ugly, sometimes not even that good. We go nowhere without a top pair. For that, we need 2 good Dmen.

    Still, this is entertaining hockey. Hopefully we find a piece or two falling through some other team’s roster before the season is over. The last few have worked out pretty nicely.

  12. Like Er pointed out a couple wks ago, agasint the top 4 teams in Cambell, the teams we would play in playoffs were 2-7-1.

    but, since we made adjustments to roster, it started when we blew out PIT 6-3
    were 2-2-1 against those 4 teams (CAL/SAN/NAS/WIN) and
    were 9-2-1 against top 10 teams until BOS game, now 9-3

    Still, we need to add to roster to get a full roster. Rather have top 6 pick. Were just too good. Crazy thing is were as close to playoff spot, 3 games behind, as we are to a top 6 pick.

    Go Blackhawks!
    gday.

  13. It’s not surprising how much better the team plays when going up another suckwad team. And yet the game was closer than the 5-2 score would indicate. Ward was better than Schneider.

    The Strome line got skunked tonight but the Toews line carried the load with all three guys getting one. Kane gets 3 points tonight and still losses ground to Kucherov in the scoring race because Kucherov picked up 4 points. I don’t remember the last time when so many players were averaging more than one point per game but it’s over 30 guys right now – with Kucherov at 1.59 and Kane and McDavid at 1.49 and 1.46. Toews is at 0.98 and DeBrincat at 0.94.

    We kinda got a diamond in the rough with Strome and I’m starting the think Koekkoek is trending that way too. Now if our other castoff 1st rounder – Perlini – would come around to something close to his 1st round pedigree.

  14. LOL. The Blackhawks winning all these games just doesn’t fit nicely into the
    negative posters frame of reference. They would rather be right than have the
    Blackhawks win and prove them fools!

  15. Truth, how true. We win 8 of 9 and we’re just a terrible team. Some posters are delusional, thinking we may get the 2nd or 3rd pick.

    I missed about half the game, but two quick comments:

    That goal from Saad is among the most skilled you will ever see. Reminiscent of his short-hander against Anaheim in the 2015 semi-finals. Only this one displayed speed, strength, and control. Blocking out the defender while never losing control of the puck and still able to bang in his rebound. It makes us wonder why we do not see this a little more often from him.

    Koekkoek: Plays well in all zones. Hope they give him lots of ice time. Terrific pass to Toews. Upended the NJ player nicely. A tough SOB. Can we keep him?

  16. A good comeback win against a team that is really struggling. The 40 plus shots a game has got to stop. It’s been a rough year for Kunitz in Chicago, but congrats on the 1,000th game.

  17. Good on JC to recognize he needs to rotate goalies every other game. The goalies got to be tired, but are doing a great job.

    Can JC turn Gus into a forward…..cause his defense sucks. He has the tools to be a middle 6 forward, and we need middle 6 forwards.

    The Kunitz ceremony made me notice something. So I looked it up. The Hawks have 7 retired numbers (should be 8 with Larmer) in the teams long history. It is astounding that there are 4 sweaters that will be retired on the current team!! 2, 7, 19 and 88. We have had a GREAT run.

    Playoffs or not, the team and organization are pointed in the right direction.

  18. Iceman the only caution on Forsling is he is 22. Yes he hasn’t played well, yes he isn’t strong and yes he may not be a Blackhawk in the future–but many a defenceman have matured at about 24-26. If he had no attributes, it would be an easy no. Will he? -time will tell.
    Now in the NHL the forwards can burst on the scene and be a force at 19-21 but not all positions.

  19. Noonan I agree with you on Forsling. Why would we want to just throw away a kid that has plenty of potential and is 22 years old. He has had spurts where he looks great, and others where he looks soft and lost out there. He is 22 years old, plenty of time to come around and be a contributing factor to the defensive core in the future.

    If people are so willing to get rid of Forsling, why are we still trying to see if Sikura can play at the NHL level? He is a year older and has played in North America his whole life… maybe because not every player is ready to come into the league at 19 or 21 or 23?

  20. Please allow me to introduce myself
    I’m a man on an MVP pace
    I’ve been ’round for 12 long years
    3 Stanley Cups I will not waste

    I was ’round when Savy
    Had his time behind the bench
    Made damn sure Quenneville
    Raised 3 cups to seal his fate

    Please to meet you
    Won’t you guess my name
    But when I mesmerized you
    Is the nature of my game………

  21. I agree the Hawks are not the worst team in the league, or probably not even one of the 5 worst teams, which is to say there are teams even worse than the Hawks. But the Hawks have still given up more goals than every other team so from a defensive standpoint – they are the worst team. What elevates them above the truly worst teams is their offense which is 8th best.

    When I posted recently that “wouldn’t it be great if the Hawks could acquire Kapanen and get an NHL-ready player in the draft” – I didn’t mean the Hawks were going to finish the season with one of the 5 worst records (although who knows – they still could if things so south) – I meant wouldn’t it be great if the Hawks could acquire Kapanen and get lucky in the NHL draft lottery. Unlikely but possible as long as they miss the playoffs.

  22. Forsling – ah yes. At 21 we anointed him the 2nd coming of Pierre Pilote. At 22, we sentenced him to a career in the booth, laughing at Ed and Pat all night (gotta be the worst job in the world).

    Fickle bunch. A very patient fickle bunch (as he holds up his sarcasm sign).

    And next year we will have 4 number 1 Dmen playing for us under the age of 23, one who has actually played about 30 games in the NHL. Wow! Can’t wait to read the words of patience!

    150-200 games. It is safe to draw conclusions about Murphy now. As for the rest of the kids, you better strap yourself in, cuz it figures to be a bumpy ride. You’ll have more luck at Binny’s getting instant gratification.

    Apparently there is a YOUNG FAN with wisdom out there.

  23. Not much to say following the seriously piss poor showing in Boston. That was just embarrassing to watch as a Hawks fan.

    I am wondering if there has been any discussion amongst the Hawks coaching staff to switch back to playing a different defensive system. We continue to see pretty much every game opposing teams having multiple wide open players in prime scoring positions. It is cringeworthy viewing. How many times as fans do we utter “uh, oh”, or “oh noooo” during games watching the Hawks try and play defense. Of course some good individual plays happen. There are games when the Hawks exit their own end with quick precision passing, but too often it is just a complete shit show defensively. I don’t know why opposing teams don’t just relentlessly forecheck the Hawks. They just seem to wilt under the pressure. Our goalies have really been stellar again this year and this is without Crow for the most part. I mean Ward and Delia have been way better than any of us would have thought. Ward was terrific last night. He had to be, otherwise the Hawks would have been lit up even worse in the 1st. Hawks keeper play is why this team is near 500.

    Saad shorty last night was thing of beauty, and reminiscent of what Hossa used to bring. Powerful skating and strong on the puck. I am so pleased to watch Saad playing with confidence again following that nasty patch early in the season. Slater K is a d man that needs more ice time. Caggiula continues to really impress. Cags is a little(no pun intended) like Shaw, but on Prozac to stay in control. This kid was a super add by SB and Slater K as well.

    Kaner is just in the zone. Pity that great pass to Strome didn’t get buried.

    Points to JR ROMAN. Tip o the cap to ye for your prose.

    Schedule in Hawks favor finally after what was a nasty first half of the season draw. Games have been entertaining as of late. Still lots of empty seats in my UC section. Season ticket holders are missing some good action. I’d say the Detroit game last weekend had more Wings fans than we have seen in many, many years as Hawks ticket holders aren’t going and are sellers at discount prices. Sad.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  24. Nice win- not pretty, but nice. Ward must have PTSD given the shots fired at him! Once again, the key guys are the ones stepping up and I’d say pride is driving them.
    I’ve said this before, but hockey is, and always has been, a contact sport. Cagguila shows it shift in and shift out, as does Hayden ( although he was flat footed on the first NJ goal- should have had that man!) Forwards who feel “safe” in the offensive end ( ie. no fear of getting body checked into the boards) will NOT feel threatened, and become dangerous scorers. When you “hear footsteps” and you think someone is going to crunch you, you aren’t thinking as much about scoring … WHY don’t the D hit harder and more often? Why aren’t they “punishing” opposing forwards? They need to put the fee of God into each and every forward that they are going to get splattered against to boards! You see how JT was taken out by NJ defender? THATS how you punish forwards – and Cagguila shows how you punish opposing D! This “rolling off a player with a stick poke check does nothing to intimidate… Hawks just need to be tougher- SKILL, SPEED & STRENGTH (toughness) wins games, series, cups!
    Lots of opportunities to grow!!

  25. Brent Burns was not exactly good at def with the Wild but was a stud off. Gus is similar where Hawks fans are now and Wild fans were back then. SJS stole Burns from MN. Gus has his def of liabilities but has brought strength to the PP and 5/5 scoring that otherwise is pretty bare with the group we have. For the record, I am not comparing Burns to Gus. What I am saying is they have similar OFF of abilities where they can score.

    Forsling is at best #6 or 7 on the list of NHL Hawks DEF with Henri, Mitchell, Beaudin, and Boqvist not far behind. Trading Forlsing could add an asset if you feel Henri could be the 7th for the playoff run.

    I am still in the camp to add the following:

    1. top4 DEF would be the first piece and would be willing to give up Forsling and a pick
    2. Top9 is Sikura enough with Saad/AA? He looked ok yesterday and give him 20+ more games to see what we have. Otherwise Kampf returns with the two.
    3. Add 1 or 2 bottom 3 with Kruger. If Sikura is the Top9 choice, it would be Kampf/Kruger. Can Hayden, Perlini, or Kunitz make a solid 4th line with Kampf/Kruger. We are probably ok without adding a 4th line if Sikura secures the Top9 role.

    My hope is we add a top4 DEF to play with Gus. If we do not, ok as well.

  26. Phil
    I don’t know why opposing teams don’t just relentlessly forecheck the Hawks. They just seem to wilt under the pressure.

    Phil good question but I think in the playoffs they will!
    -that’s why this success is a bit of fool’s gold. Teams take nights off in the regular season, not in the playoffs. And I found NJ to be one team lacking that heaviness-(at least without Woods and Hall)

  27. Yes, Noonan we all remember well how the Preds ran our guys mercilessly a few years ago when they swept us. This current Hawks roster is not physically equipped to compete in that way. Boston the other night was a good example. Want to beat the Hawks? Beat em up. Hawks making playoffs will require winning 3 of 4 type consistency to finish the year. It’s possible, but getting through the front round would be very tough proposition considering who they would likely match up with. We will see…Keep it fun!

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  28. @Phil: agree on Saad, Caggiula, and KK. Saad’s shorty reminded my of him in 2013-15. Is he producing enough to justify the 6.5 — probably not. Do we have anyone in the entire org who can remotely fill the power forward role as well as he can? Definitely not. Keeper.

    On Forsling, the problem is his compete level is too low and he is erratic. He looked great early this year but once again he has regressed. The hot/cold pattern has been ongoing with him. Originally his offense was highly touted (he ran Sweden’s PP in WJC and has a good shot) but that hasn’t materialized. There is no reason to throw him away, but if moving him brings creates value (e.g. packaging him with AA in order to move the latter’s contract) then it makes sense. It’s about managing your assets and this guy’s ceiling doesn’t seem near as high as maybe two years ago.

  29. I think the issue is not whether M2M or zone is the better defense – it’s what is the most effective defense this particular team can play to minimize good scoring changes and goals against. To site that the Hawks should be playing zone because they’re giving up too many good scoring chances playing M2M is to ignore that they were also giving up too many good scoring chances when they were playing zone. It’s not like they went from a better defense playing zone to a worse defense playing M2M – they suck at both. I will say this in defense of zone over M2M – M2M requires better skaters as they have to shadow the opponent’s moves more than defend an area. A case in point was the play where Murphy took a hooking penalty last night when he couldn’t stay with his man coming off the boards into the slot and he got no weak side help because his team mates were focused on covering their man instead of covering the middle of the ice. I think M2M is the better defensive method but you need to have players capable of playing the more demanding method.

  30. ER, I do not think were bottom 10 team. Were a mid tier team without a full roster. Once we have a full roster were borderline top 10.

    I wouldnt go by record, because That is fools gold. Is COL a bottom 5-10 team F no, are we no. Its just a record. Are Islanders a top 5 team, no.

    I go by the roster and we have more work to do, but we have made the right moves, when taking out the ‘tank’ ufas, Dals and Murf came back and those trades. Still need to add 2 or 3 good ufas and have young wave/blue chip drafts be NHL ready. Then were talking about top 10 like BOS is now

    People can think what they want, seriously or delusionaly, were are 3 games behind the 8 seed and 4-5 games ahead of a top 3-6 picks.

  31. Jordy – I agree on Forsling – no one is advocating throwing him away but there’s no doubt he’s falling down the depth chart and next year won’t be able to go back and forth between the Hogs and Hawks without waivers so if the Hawks feel he’s been surpassed and can get something of value for him why not?

    Otherwise you run the risk (if he’s not in your top 7 next year) of losing him on waivers for nothing – like you said – asset management

  32. Further to the point above KK looked good again (nice assist and hit) and IMO has moved ahead of Forsling (granted small sample)

    Plus somebody has to go either by trade or next year left unprotected on the waiver wire – there are simply too many D

    2,7,5,63,56,68 – there’s 6 plus Joki plus maybe a UFA plus maybe Boquist – that’s potentially 9

  33. oops I forgot Forsling – the topic of my thesis – that’s potentially 10 D men that can’t be sent to RFD without exposure to waivers

    Eve if you don’t sign a UFA and Boquist plays a year in AHL there’s still 8 – somebody’s is going to be moved either at the TDL or in the summer

  34. And speaking of “what are we going to do with all these D-men” – I would add Lucas Carlsson to the list because he has a chance to be a NHL d-man too. Raddysh, Gilbert and Hillman probably don’t skate well enough to rise above AHL level, but Carlsson has a chance.

  35. #88, great to watch him at his prime again. Really carrying the team all season long.
    Forsling has some potential but is not wide or strong enough at 22. Will he get there? Who knows? Probably not until the age of 24-25 like Gustafsson. He may attract interest but maybe not. Someone like AA may plug a whole at the number 3 center position for another team. Hopefully Bowman can find a trade to get a draft pick or prospect back.
    Sorry, Sikura is not showing anything yet. He gets push off the puck every time along the boards. I am not sure he will ever fill out but this will be the ongoing question next season, He had a whole summer of training to be ready but he still seems way too light.

  36. Don’t disagree on Sikura but he had his best game last night so here’s hoping he builds on that.

    He’s good defensively especially with smart passes to exit the zone – we’ll see if he can have more of an impact offensively – it was a nice play on his part on Kane’s goal

  37. 17 dmen under that count against 50 limit contract this year, 19 if you count Boqvist and Beaudin in juniors.
    Campbell and Davidson ufa not likely back. Dahlstrom, Forsling, Koekkkoek and Hillman rfas. Don’t see any just walking, so stay at 17 level with 2 that didn’t count. With Mitchell, Krys and Ryczek possibly Shea as candidates to sign and may need a spot, something gotta give for a couple of spots at least.

  38. Think we make some moves. Really unless a prospect is past theres no reason to not stick it out for development. Until were full of NHL ready guys. Any One of them makes it, it was sorth while. Just like that guys said last mth, if any One of these trades by Bowman pan out, it was a steal, and excellent move by Bowman and crew.

    It looks like 17, Caggiluia and KoKo are doing that. Keep them flying, we want them up in the air.

  39. Lazerus: However this unlikely Blackhawks playoff push ends, the lasting effect will be significant.

    Anyone cut and paste or have cliff notes to this.

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