Corey Crawford Returns, Blackhawks Fall To Islanders In OT

Corey Crawford returned to the net for the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, and was spectacular in the final 40 minutes of regulation. But Kyle Okposo beat him in overtime to pick up the second point for the Islanders.

Ben Smith NYI

The Islanders opened the scoring when Bryan Bickell turned the puck over and Casey Cizikas was unchallenged as he attacked the net. Johnny Oduya made the pass to Bickell and immediately went off for a change, leaving nothing between Cizikas and Crawford but open ice.

Just over eight minutes into the second period, Thomas Vanek deposited a rebound to put the Islanders up 2-0. However, Brent Seabrook sent a missile past Evgeni Nabokov with 84 seconds left in the second period to bring the Blackhawks back to within one. The power play goal was Seabrook’s fifth of the season.

A late second period cross checking penalty on Patrick Sharp forced the Hawks to skate 1:35 to open the third period short-handed. Chicago came out of the dressing room with momentum from Seabrook’s goal and not only handled the penalty kill, but created a couple good scoring chances immediately following the kill. Ben Smith tied the game less than two minutes into the third, his fifth goal of the year.

The game stayed tied through the rest of regulation, but Okposo registered his second point of the night when he was left alone by Patrick Sharp and made good on a feed from John Tavares. Tavares had a glorious chance to put the Islanders up in the third period with a wide open net, but shot the puck under Crawford.

In his return to the night, Crawford was good. He stopped 27 of 28 New York shots in the second and third periods and made 31 saves on the night. Unfortunately, he did not get the victory. On the other end of the rink, Nabokov made 37 saves to earn the second point for the home Islanders.

Jonathan Toews had one assist, a team-high five shots on net and won 11 of 21 faceoffs to lead the Hawks. Marian Hossa, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith each had three blocked shots in the game; the Hawks blocked 14 as a team in the game. Only three Blackhawks were credited with a single hit on the night.

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24 Responses to Corey Crawford Returns, Blackhawks Fall To Islanders In OT

  1. Pete says:

    Very exciting game to watch. Give credit the Islanders they had the guts to play a fast open style against the Hawks(unlike the choking defensive style of the Kings, Minnesota, Blues) and they earned the two points. Great game even though we lost. Crawford was great. It was almost like the Hawks were a little out of synch because the Islanders played an up and down open style of play that nobody else really has the guts to try against the Hawks. As a regular fan that’s how I saw the game. Maybe some of the more knowledgeable posters would disagree.

  2. RyanDale says:

    Frankly, I thought we sucked. I’m hoping the 25% of the game I missed we actually were trying to win a hockey game

    at least hit somebody while out there watching NY pretend its 1980. 3hits?
    I thought 5 recently was as bad as it could get. Wrong. NY deserved the 2pts

    50 looked good tho.

    Next game please

  3. Sr. Brad says:

    Nabokov played very well, but the Hawks tried to mail that one in and the Isles were having none of it…when the Hawks waltz into town they ALWAYS have a huge target painted on their chests, ensuring they get the best from other teams…mailing it in doesn’t work in the NHL…they will have to be MUCH better tomorrow in Jersey.

    CC had no chance on any of the goals…Bickell needs to get better and soon!

  4. ebonyraptor says:

    While I don’t fault Bickell for the turnover that led to the 1st Islander goal, because Oduya shouldn’t have passed it to a guy that is covered an then continued to go for a change, I do fault him for less than stellar effort to backcheck the guy – either that or his knee or knee brace desn’t allow him to pivot and stride quickly. In either case, it’s a problem. Furthermore, we are fast approaching the time when it will no longer be possible to use the excuse that he’s still getting back to game speed. He’s nver been a consistent player but he is capable of throwing his weight around every so often and I sure hope we see that soon because he’s not really doing much of anything else out there to justify him being in the lineup.

    It was good to see Crawford look like he has no lingerin effects from him injury. He certainly go tested tonight and from what I cold tell looked in midseason form. With Crawford and Raanta, I think our goaltending is in pretty good shape.

    The Islanders played like they wanted to win tonight. I think for much of the game the Hawks played like they think they should win tonight. The Islanders were better prepared to work hard and battle and they deserved the 2 points. The Hawks were fortunate to get 1 point tonight, mainly thanks to Crawford.

  5. Morrison says:

    Yea, we sucked for the most part. Sort of same thing in Tor, etc. For what ever reason when we play teams that are in that/those sitations (doing good/bad at the current time recently, but overall a bottom10 team) even though were thinking/talking the right way. We just end up not playing. Kind of like a practice skate around. I am not saying they/nyi didn’t do anything good but we didn’t play (mainly defensively), at all.

    Still we managed a tie and could have won on a good play by Hoss. In stead they get a board battle and get a free open shot with goalie not there…

    That’s the remarkable thing about our team is even in a lot of games like these, we don’t play good at all & still are able to get tie & sometimes wins.

    That Tor game is the only loss we have since Crow got hurt…

  6. wall says:

    Crow was good

    Pete- it was a frantic/fast paced game… agree – much better than Hawks/Wild…
    Isles- style (that is why they took Pens to game 7)

    Bickell continues to suck… BUT that goal was 27’s fault!!! Shaw continues to take bad pen./and careless passes in own zone!!!!

    Hawks missed several wide open nets + goal posts… game could/should have easily been 6-5.

    I knew that the Hawks would be beaten in OT by 91/Okoooopppooasa!!!! That was my though with 2 min. left in regulation.

  7. Mike says:

    Sr Brad is right, the Hawks wanted to mail this one in. The Hawks got some good chances, but so did the Islanders. Unfortunately, the Hawks forwards sat out on D last night. Without much of a defensive game from the forwards the Dmen were exposed and the Islanders made the Hawks look mediocre.

    I have to continue to question the use of Bollig. NO, Bollig is not the reason the Hawks lost last night. But he may be the reason we did not win. He has little offensive skills and even less instinct, his defense in no more than “ok”, he no longer plays physical game and he is holding 16 and 28 back. Games like last night are type of games that can be won by the 4th line. It is time to insert Morin, Pirri or Ross with 16 and 28.

    I am not sure what is up with Bicks. He is Shaw in reverse. Where Shaw plays with passion and plays MUCH bigger than he is, Bickell seems listless and plays like he is 5 foot 10 and 185 pounds. I care how many goals he scores, but more importantly, he needs to play like he wants to be out there. I don’t go for that crap that he will not come alive until the playoffs start. Many players raise their game during the playoffs. He gets paid $4mm to play his best every game.

  8. AJ says:

    Patrick Kane piped two shots. Toews, Saad, Hossa all missed point blank opportunities.

    The Islanders have been on a bit of a roll lately and the Hawks didn’t get the fortuitous bounces that they have been. They finish in the first or at a minimum a post goes in and it is a different game.

    Also, teams are adjusting to the Kane being awesome at hockey thing. While he had a few solid opportunities, because of the incompetence on the bench, NY was able to box and one Kane and double / triple team him at every opportunity because there is nothing else on that line. There really needs to be an adjustment made there.

    Re Bickell… Again, far from an elite player and coming back from a major injury and another minor one mid season. Honestly, after watching him the last 4 years, he isn’t at all the force that some people expect. He has consistently been meh during the regular season but then turned into a beast during the playoffs. Exact same story every single year. Expecting something else or more at this point with zero indication that anything has changed at all is a bit much.

    Bickell is a nice role player and a piece to the puzzle but far from an intricate cog that should be relied upon or thrown under the bus for a loss regardless of his salary.

  9. Morrison says:

    Aj, your right about Bicks but at some point he needs to find some kind of grove. Normaly he has the type of season you mentioned… other than then wrist injury, this season/yr hes had two leg ones so that’s got to be harder to get going/confidence. The good thing is he can, so at some point he has to/will. Having Versteeg now allows us to have Saader on the 3rd line so Bicks doesn’t have to carry any load. Then when he starts to bring it, it will be a wicked 3rd line. Plus I think coach Q wants to try some guys in different spots, so I think that’s when we’ll see Kaner & Saader some moar help. I just wonder if he’s going to include 10/81 in this, since we know what the top line can do already we can always have that line anytime we want…

  10. JS says:

    I’m secretly hoping that Handzus’ motorized wheel chair catches fire and he suffers some pretty serious burns that keep him out of the lineup for a few months. Such an unbelievable waste.

    I would also love for Bollig to start fighting again so he can possibly break his hand and we can see what the 4th line would look like with another hockey player on it.

    Other than that, Crawford was outstanding, the forwards were cheating too much and the defenders were left out to dry because the forwards wanted nothing to do with the defensive zone.

    I wouldn’t want to be New Jersey tonight (or any night, that state sucks)

  11. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I thought the Hawks look flat yesterday. They played a good puck possession game but on the offensive end they just couldn’t generate the “right shots” and “right plays”, they were close all night but just off.

    I also thought Bickell didn’t do any favors with that poor give away and poor recovery attempt afterwards. I am starting to wonder if Bickell is a guy that was playing last year only to get paid and now that he has got paid he’s just playing lazy. Its a legit question, is he still hurt? did he come back too soon? Its funny because when he was resigned the question was, “did he finally put it all together?” So far for my money my answer is No, but will he put is together in April, May and June is the more important question.

    I thought Crow played well enough to win but the team didn’t do any favors in front of him.

  12. RyanDale says:

    JS, your Zus stuff is always first star comedy.

    Mike, 29 does indeed play small and a good example is when Nielson, who might come within 60lbs of Bix, rode him along the boards and had the puck from him in an instant. Made 29 look like a bantam kid. And ER is right, the back check after the t.o. was a pretty listless one. Maybe he was dumbfounded no one was behind him but it did not look like he put much effort into it.

    After sleeping on it I may have been a little harsh last night. Crow wasnt just ‘good’, he was great. But on the whole, we still sucked

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, I know that was humour, but something has to give with Handzus…AJ talked about the Isles treatment of Kaner…and he’s right, the Isles adjusted to Kane and doubled him where they could…but here’s the deal, that meant Handzus and Steeger were “2 on 1″ in the defensive zone, and not only couldn’t score, they couldn’t generate offence…Handzus is THE bit, role player…he has NO BUSINESS centring our 2nd line featuring Patrick Kane, during the regular season…Handzus should be buried on the 4th line playing 8-10 strategic minutes a night…how Kaner has achieved what he has done thus far this season, is simply amazing considering his centres…

    As for Bollig Mike…you are right…Bollig doesn’t cost the Hawks games per se, but he isn’t helping us to win either…the skill sets of Kruger and Smith continue to expand, and they need a dymanic winger…Bollig isn’t that guy…and he is not providing any puck control or pace to our game…I don’t mind rotating Bollig (like Handzus) but not starting him every game…but this is a Q decision, in Q style…at least Bollig is no longer hurting us in the D zone…

    And we should ask ourselves this question…how far along would either, or Morin and Pirri be if they had simply been left here to play???

  14. Mike says:

    AJ, I agree with you about Bickell as well. While he is what he is, he could at least put forth 90% effort. He just seems like he in a daze. Skates around in circles and gets hit a lot for a guy his size. I guess he is intimidating no one. Bollig skates around in circles too, but at least he will hit someone once in a while.

  15. Dave says:

    I have watched the performance of Bick and it is disappointing ,he has the tools to be a great player, he has a lazer shot some moves and is physically impressive, yes he is coming off a knee injury but he always plays like he is rationing his effort . If he has a good playoff . all will be forgiven if he doesnt and this is all we can expect a trade will be in order , as Mike says imagine Shaw in Bickels body that would be worth the price of a ticket by itself.
    Dave

  16. JS says:

    I was certainly kidding about Handzus, and I don’t wish physical harm on anyone (besides Dustin Brown because he’s a turd), but something has to happen to get him out of the lineup. A line with Patrick Kane should not be getting killed on possession as often as they do. Just to make it worse, Handzus is incapable of finding open ice even when Patrick Kane is tugging around 3 defenders. I feel like they are playing 4v5 most of the time.

    As far as Bickell goes… I was actually expecting a huge year from him and he’s blown it thus far. Maybe it wasn’t his fault initially since he was coming off of the injury… but think about where he started the year and where he is now. He was on a line with Kane and Toews, he was getting top PP unit minutes, and skating 20 minutes a night. Now he can’t even touch the second PP and is lucky to skate more than 10 minutes. Again, that third line was exceptional at possession with Jeremy Morin, now they seem to be back and forth (unless Q double shifts 88 with Saad and Shaw).

  17. Phil says:

    Yes the guys seemed to mail it in last night. They still almost got 2 points. I expect a better effort tonight. At least Corey was pretty sharp after being out of the lineup for a long time. Raanta meanwhile really played great as a backup. It could have been an ugly month if Antii didn’t come through in December.

    The Bickell struggles obviously continue. I think much of it is in his head, but I am also of the belief that coming back from a knee injury such as the one he suffered takes time. I believe he will get better as the season progresses. Versteeg mentioned that his speed was lacking early in the year and that his jump has only recently returned. Let’s give Bicks another month from a skating standpoint. The rest of his game though must get better, especially work ethic along the boards where his size should be used to his advantage. Front of the net presence would also be welcome. Funny that little Shawsy is the guy doing the dirty work in front of the net with Bicks on that line.

    Saad to my eyes was really flying last night. His game just keeps evolving in a positive direction.

    Rimshots to JS for witty dark humor points regarding Zus and Bollig.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  18. AJ says:

    Yeah, I’m not completely absolving Bickell but I never really had high expectations for him anyway so that is why I am indifferent towards his play right now.

    With his face off % Kruger would be a better option @ the 2 C but having Zues and Bollig on the same line could be calamitous.

  19. JS says:

    I like that word, calamitous.

    Versteeg/Kruger/Kane would get destroyed by teams with size. Saad back to 2LW with Kruger in the middle makes the most sense to me.

    However, I’d still like to see the 4th line with someone besides Bollig. I don’t dislike Bollig. I understand why he skates… but I think Smith, Kruger, and Morin could be a dominating 4th line. But Morin sucks at defense, you say? It’s a small sample size, but Morin has dominated at possession (which could be related to sheltered shifts, but I’d like to see more so we could… you know, make an educated decision).

    Would a second line with Saad, Versteeg, and Kane work? Maybe. But that makes your 3rd line Bickell, Handzus, and Shaw… and I don’t see that line doing very well. I love the idea of Shaw at the wing… but Handzus and a struggling Bickell on the same line seems like a recipe for disaster.

    Obviously the line up I would like to see would involve Pirri at 2C and Morin as a 3rd or 4th line wing, but it’s not possible. Even if they sent down Kostka, they don’t have enough cap space to recall those two.

  20. Mike57 says:

    Why not try 28 at 2nd line center, how’s his faceoff percentage? He could fit between 20 and 88. then move 16 to 3rd line with 65 and 23 on the wings. Yea it makes our 4th line week but lets face it, the only time we continue to roll 4 lines is when we are dominating games.

  21. Mike says:

    Mike57, I don’t think Smith is the long term answer for Kane or 2C, although he would be a big improvement and I am a big Smith fan. The 2cd line needs a center who will be quick, active and draw some attention away from Kane. Any of our centers are better for this than Zues.

    JS, I am not sure Morin would be that much of a defensive liability on the 4th line. Both 16 and 28 are responsible defensively AND with Morin, the puck would be in the offensive zone longer. Morin will obviously never play on Kane’s line for example.

  22. RyanDale says:

    28 is about the same as 65 on f/offs, 43-45. Pretty erratic. Great some nights, bad on others.

  23. Morrison says:

    20-23-88
    29-goc-65
    ??-16-28

  24. RyanDale says:

    Its now 2014 and we still are having to discuss the lack of a 2c. It’s maddening.

    still think Pirri would have sufficed for now. I would have stuck with him as long as he didn’t just fall flat at some point. Wonder if Nordstrom has added that 30lbs of muscle yet?

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