In spite of strong efforts from a number of individuals, the Blackhawks lost to the Ducks in a shootout on Tuesday night.
Corey Crawford continued his strong start to the season, stopping 29 of 31 shots during regulation and the overtime period. The Ducks potent offense had a number of good scoring chances, but Crawford performed well.
In front of Crawford, Marcus Kruger had a fantastic game. He won seven of 10 faceoffs and personally killed almost 30 seconds of a 5-on-3 in a Hossa-esque performance. Kruger’s development continues to make a significant impact on the Hawks penalty killing unit as well as the team’s 5-on-5 play.
The Ducks, like a few other teams this year, brought a physical game to the Hawks which was answered yet again. Bryan Bickell was a wrecking ball all over the ice, including a huge hit on Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf that led to a fight between Bickell and Brad Staubitz. Bickell was credited with three hits and two takeaways in the game.
Unfortunately for Crawford, the Blackhawks power play was nearly invisible once again. Chicago was given six power play opportunities, including two that had the Hawks with an advantage for the majority of the overtime period. But only one conversion on those six opportunities put a spotlight on the Blackhawks’ biggest struggle so far this season.
In the overtime’s first powerplay, which carried over from the final moments of regulation, coach Joel Quenneville loaded up with Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa for the full 1:50 advantage. They failed to score.
Only 18 seconds after that powerplay ended, the Blackhawks had another chance with an advantage. This time, Quenneville sent out Toews, Kane, Hossa and Patrick Sharp. They, too, were unable to get the puck in the net.
Most frustrating: the Hawks only generated seven shots in six powerplays in the game.
Another area of concern continues to be Dave Bolland’s inability to win faceoffs. Toews won 16 of 25 draws in the game, Kruger won seven of 10, and Andrew Shaw won five of nine; Bolland won only six of 18.
One amazing fact from the game: the combined age of the two goal-scorers for the Blackhawks, Nick Leddy (21) and Brandon Saad (20), is still less than Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne (42).
Toews, Sharp and Kane were credited with assists in the loss.
Chicago was credited with a stunning 31 takeaways as a team. Only two players, Brandon Bollig and Michal Rozsival, weren’t credited with at least one takeaway in the game; seven different Hawks were credited with three.
And yet, with the concerns continuing to build in some areas, the Hawks still have not lost a game in regulation.