The Blackhawks left Vancouver with a point on Friday night, but many fans were wondering if they ever arrived in the first place.
In one of the more lackluster efforts of the season, very few Blackhawks appeared to be engaged through the first 40 minutes. Indeed, if not for Brandon Saad’s hard work and another strong performance from Corey Crawford, the game wouldn’t have been worth watching until late.
Both goalies were strong in the game. Roberto Luongo allowed only one goal, to Patrick Kane in the middle of the third period, while facing 28 shots. Crawford continued his great start to the season, only allowing a first period goal to Alex Edler in the first against 22 Vancouver shots.
Offensively, the Hawks were flat. Saad skated hard on every shift, but others – Patrick Sharp specifically – looked lost or uninterested throughout. After the game, coach Joel Quenneville described Saad’s effort as “special,” and noted that points are far from telling the story of the rookie’s performance this season.
In the game, Saad skated 14:55 and was credited with four shots on goal. He also won one of two faceoffs. But he was perhaps the most noticeable of all forwards - Hawks or Canucks - in the game.
Bigger than the result of the game, however, is the status of center Dave Bolland. He went down awkwardly, shattered his stick on the bench, and was immediately helped to the dressing room. He did not return to the game.
In his absence, the Hawks actually had a pretty good night at the dot. Jonathan Toews had a Jonathan Toews Night, winning 12 of 17 draws, but Marcus Kruger won seven of nine. As a team, Chicago won 30 of 50 faceoffs in the game.
On Saturday, most fans have two lingering questions after the late night finish. How is Bolland? And why did Nick Leddy get an opportunity in the shootout before Marian Hossa, Saad, or any of the Hawks’ other forwards after Toews, Kane and Sharp took their turns?
The Hawks will be back on the ice on Saturday night in Calgary.