Hossa, Hawks Handle Zajac, Devils In OT

Things started ugly and had a few interesting reviews, but ultimately the Blackhawks were able to outscore Travis Zajac on Thursday night.

New Jersey got Taylor Hall back in their lineup, but Zajac was the sum of the Devils’ offense with a hat trick against the Hawks. The veteran forward scored in all three periods, but it was Marian Hossa’s goal in overtime that ended the contest.

The first period started with a rough opening six minutes for the Blackhawks who heard boos from the home fans early. Zajac scored his first 3:13 into the game and the Hawks struggled to clear their zone and complete passes early. Corey Crawford kept his team close, stopping 13 saves in a first period that saw the Hawks have two worthless power plays to only one advantage for Jersey.

Richard Panik had what could have been a goal 6:27 into the first, but lost the marker to a review.

Whatever coach Joel Quenneville said during the first intermission resonated with its audience, however. Marcus Kruger tied the game 62 seconds into the middle period with his second of the season.

Zajac scored his second of the game on a power play at 10:43 into the second, but the Hawks answered right back with Artem Anisimov’s 10th of the season 1:42 later.

Six minutes after Anisimov tied the game, Niklas Hjalmarsson gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

Of course two of the Blackhawks’ first three goals would come from Kruger and Hjalmarsson, who have combined for five goals this season. Kruger’s only other goal this season came against Nashville on Oct. 14, and Hjalmarsson scored later in that period as well.

The two Swedes combined for as many goals on Thursday night as they did during the entire 2015-16 regular season.

Late in the second, Brent Seabrook got run over by Devils rookie John Quenneville, who was making his NHL debut against the team coached by his second cousin Joel. Seabrook went to the room for evaluation for the remaining four minutes of the second period.

Seabrook did return for the third period and the Hawks kept the pressure on Cory Schneider, and it looked like a strong start to the final 20 minutes. It appeared the Blackhawks were up 4-2 less than 90 seconds into the third period, but Panik happened – again.

Panik crashed the net – literally – and Brian Campbell put a rebound into the net. The play was initially called a good goal on the ice by one official, but after a quick kumbaya between the refs the goal was taken off the board. The Blackhawks challenged the play, but the no goal ruling was upheld because of goaltender interference.

With that goal wiped off – the second goal taken away by a Panik play – Zajac’s third was the only goal of the third period.

When the dust settled after 60 minutes, Crawford had stopped 30 of 33 while Schneider had made 29 saves against 32 shots.

Coming into the overtime, the Blackhawks had a 6-3 record in games that included free hockey. Only one team in the NHL had played more overtime games than Chicago this season – the visiting Devils.

For the third time this season, Hossa ended a game in overtime.

Michal Rozsival was in the lineup again and finished with a team-leading four hits and tied for the team lead with three blocked shots in just over 15 minutes of ice time. Seabrook came back for the third and was credited with two assists and three blocked shots in more than 21 minutes on the ice. Duncan Keith also had two assists in a team-high 26:12 with one blocked shot and one hit as well.

Chicago won 22 of 49 at the dot as a team against the Devils, let by Dennis Rasmussen winning six of eight. Vinnie Hinostroza won five of 11 as the Triple H line was good once again.

The Hawks next game is a matinee in Philadelphia on Saturday. Jonathan Toews is reportedly doubtful for that game. Chicago has at least one point in each game they’ve played without their captain.

22 thoughts on “Hossa, Hawks Handle Zajac, Devils In OT

  1. Could ve been 4 goals generated by 14 16 70 tonight shoulda been 3 solid game by them good to see different lines contributing.first overall and still getting better as the year goes on. But 81 and 50 amazing again.

  2. So finally the faithful at the UC had enough of the lackadaisical starts by the Hawks and the boos cascaded down from the rafters which I think woke the team up. It sure seemed like the Devils owned the puck for almost the entire first 6 minutes. Hawks were fortunate to be down by only 1 goal. Why these terrible starts?

    Kruger of all people snipes the Hawks back to even with a terrific shot from the slot top left corner that just flat out beat Schneider. More please from 16!!

    Devils D made it tough on the Hawks as they just stacked up the neutral zone and their own blue line. Hawks had to dump and chase. Somehow as the game wore on the Hawks started finding some open ice as Devils lost their structure.

    Horrible giveaways by Hammer and Hartman(?) with attempted zone clears right into the slot to Devils players gave NJ their other scores. At least Nick got one of them back!

    I thought the disallowed goals were the right calls.

    Rozy and Kempny provided some rare physical presence by Hawks D men last night around Crow. More of that too if you please. Thankfully Seabrook looked ok after getting run by John Quenneville in what looked like a really dangerous play. I didn’t see a replay at the UC , but I figured it was charging or boarding. Reminded me a little of when Wiz Ko’d Seabs years ago in a similar looking play against the Ducks. I’m sure you guys remember that one where the Ducks announcers said Seabrook took a dive and tried to sell it to the refs? What morons….

    Anyone else try the Old Man Grumpy ale from Goose Island at the UC? Damn good I must say.

    You have to love the 3 on 3 OT format. Fast and exciting hockey. Hossa again!!

    Somehow the Hawks emerge with points in a game that could have gone either way. Rack up those points while they can as they will loom large as the season winds down.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  3. Hawks are living on the edge and I love it. I agree with those who say the Hawks will improve as the season progresses. That said, these early season points are awesome. Beating the teams you are supposed to beat mark a good team and the Hawks are doing that.

  4. I’m still in moderation room purgatory since 7 am….I agree Mike. It ain’t pretty but they are getting it done.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  5. Ian- agreed 14/16/70 had a real good nite… were good previous game too…
    I always thought Moose at Rockford made lot’s of little plays that didn’t always turn in to results… but would leave me thinking he showed great awareness- and more skill than his stat line showed… last nite- those two little touch/deflection passes were similar to the ones that 72 and Hossa make all the time.

    First time all year that Hino didn’t seem fast… Maybe that is a credit to Devil’s system???

    Hartman- seems to shoot the puck better/harder than I ever saw down at Rock…
    Didn’t see that coming… good for him

    Schmaltz got a few shifts with 72/88 and the line looked very good… gives Q more options to spread AA and Hoss around if/when a TDL rental is aquired. Although Schmaltz at the dot– is not good

  6. Me again, What a wicked release by Kruger,.,.please do that more often !

    And who was covering Zajac,.,.,man,he had a special nite .

  7. I still can’t get over this team having the most points and second best winning % in the NHL. Watching them they have so many opportunity areas, but they keep winning. I am hoping their play improves to catch up with their winning ways. If it doesn’t, there will be a reversion to the mean. I am enjoying the ride though. I hope it lasts until mid-June. They can revert to the mean next season after a parade.

  8. Booman- well said… but they are the Kings of 3 on 3!!!
    Toews dominated it last year… this year- Hoss is the Boss of 3 on 3 hockey!!!

  9. Hawkhead as best i can the chart is flow of game Based on corsi and fenwick nos that measure shots directed at each teams net plus scoring chances and dangerous scoring chances to try to even out between defensive and offensive lines. So you can see the graph shows the horrible start and improvement into the 2nd period . Now this where score of the game and quality of opposition and zone starts stats can make it misleading. Also corsi count shots on goal missed and blocked shots while fenwick doesn t count blocked shots so you look at summary charts you see cf % for 2nd period favour hawks and ff % favour devils so this says devils blocking alot more shots. Okay so hawks go ahead and aren t pushing big on offense and flow fairly constant till mid 3rd when devils tie and you can see a push from hawks. Alot of hockey people say its not a good stat for one gsme by itself analyzing you need a full season example toews early this year with a variety of linemates was trying to shutdown top line and lot times on defensive mode then when 88 moved up with him teams focused on them leaving more room for 72 15 81 line but toews without 88 still gets lots of attention so toews early corsi shouldn t be taken too serious until you get a full season to gauge them. Hoped this helped and anybody that can help or correct please do

  10. The corsi chart measures 5 on 5 shot attempts. Attempts are defined as shots on goal, missed shots, and blocked shots.

    The wider colored red and black bands are penalties. Red bands are Hawks penalties. Black devils. During this time attempts are not recorded and the flow doesn’t change. Red or black dots are goals. The game starts from left where attempts are 0-0. In a perfect world you want the shot attempts line very plus in the red.

    At one point in the first the Devils out attempted the Hawks by almost 15 shots. Then the Hawks battled back and actually led and had more attempts toward the end of the 3rd before the Devils won the corsi battle by 2.

  11. Yeah shoulda mentioned the 5 on 5 only shots but tried to get point that if you go back and look at oilers game hawks dominated corsi because of score of game they trailed whole game so tried to generate more shots where as oilers led so 5 on 5 shot attempts weren t important so it doesn t really give you a clear picture depends on that particular game how relevant it is or at what times of the game.

  12. Ernie you must of noticed alot of games this year hawks lost corsi and won game and lost game when winning game if you factor score of game into it that explains alot

  13. Thanks for the explanation Ernie. It makes a lot more sense the way you described it. Ian, I thought the same thing all year, I always thought it mattered most if the line was in (+) or (-) territory. But based on Ernie’s explanation, it’s actually the slope of the line that matters the most, not if it’s on the Hawks side or the opposition’s side. In the case of last night’s game, NJ got out to a huge early lead in shot differential, but after their early lead (+15) the Hawks made up ground the rest of the game, meaning the Hawks had more total shots and attempted shots for nearly the rest of the game, at one point even erasing the initial differential completely.

  14. Quietly Moose has been some quality mins in the bottom 6. I know it goes without saying, but Keith is still playing at a high level. Last i checked he was leading defenseman in assists. All while he started the year coming off a surgery.

  15. I hated how Kruger actually looked like a goal scorer for a split second. It fools people and management into thinking he belongs on the offensive end of the ice. Urgh trade him today!

  16. Ian, its been a weird year. Theyve lost Corsi but won a majority of games…but when theyve dominated corsi theyve lost. Corsi on a per game basis doesnt necessarily tell the whole story. But throughout a season it will. Usually everything corrects itself…good corsi good record…bad corsi bad record. So thats reason to wonder if the end result continues to be w’s

  17. I agree but thats why a lot of people say use a long term sample rather than a game at a time could also be a good sign too that they will improve and keep winning

  18. That’s the thing, we are winning lots of games without corsi. So when we have good corsi we will still continue to win our fair share, as well as when we do not win without corsi. Its not going to do a backwards reaction/regression. We are bucking the corsi. Overall we will have won more then we ‘should’ have when going by corsi.

    Its like faceoffs, a guy could be 7-9 for 45% though hes only 1 diff. from 50% (or 2 from 55%). That’s why 7-9, 8-8, 9-7 are basically the same and are 50%.

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