Wild Finish Season Sweep Against Short-Handed Hawks

The Blackhawks were hoping to avoid a regular season sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

Chicago game in without Corey Crawford (upper-body), Artem Anisimov (lower-body) and Brent Seabrook (ill). Then Duncan Keith got ejected less than ten minutes into the game. So a Hawks team that struggled against the Wild at full strength was without four key contributors.

Plenty of excuses.

Chicago was already trailing 1-0 when Keith got the showers. Jarret Stoll scored his fourth of the year only 2:37 into the game to give Minnesota a lead.

When Keith left, the Hawks were left facing a five minute penalty kill (with Richard Panik in the box), down one goal, and without two of their top three defensemen.

Thankfully, Marian Hossa wasn’t having it.

Hossa’s 499th career regular season goal tied him with Troy Murray on the Blackhawks all-time short-handed goal list, and tied the game at one.

The second period was frustratingly vanilla from the Blackhawks. Chicago had two power play opportunities but generated only seven total shots on net in the middle 20 minutes. The Wild allowed the Hawks the opportunity to hang around by only putting six shots on net in the second, and the game remained tied.

Andrew Shaw dropped the gloves with Matt Dumba in the second, clearly stepping up after Dumba leveled Patrick Kane in the last meeting between these two teams.

Jared Spurgeon gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead at 4:07 into the third period, and an unfortunately predictable outcome started to present itself. When Hawks killer Erik Haula scored his 13th of the season to extend the lead to 3-1, the end result reached “it’s over” status. When Nino Niederreiter scored into an empty net inside the final two minutes, we knew the final score would be 4-1 in favor of the home team.

Scott Darling played much better than the box score will indicate. He was fantastic in the opening two periods to keep the Hawks alive, but lacking both Keith and Seabrook was simply too much for the Blackhawks blue line. Devan Dubnyk was also very good once again, stopping 18 of 19.

Trevor van Riemsdyk skated 26:16 to lead Chicago skaters, while Niklas Hjalmarsson skated 24:59 on the ice in the loss. Michal Rozsival and Shaw led the Hawks with three hits each, and Hjalmarsson and Rozsival finished tied for the team lead with three blocked shots each. Christian Ehrhoff led the Blackhawks with four shots on net.

The Blackhawks weren’t credited with a single takeaway in the game, and Chicago’s power play finished 0-3 to extend their streak to 26 consecutive advantages without a goal.

Chicago is in Winnipeg on Friday night.

39 thoughts on “Wild Finish Season Sweep Against Short-Handed Hawks

  1. The minute Keith made that dumb-shit play, the game was over. The lack of discipline is horrendous. Got news for you. This team is one and done in the playoffs. What a waste of fucking time.

  2. Let’s just get the bad stuff out of the out of the way all at once before the playoff starts. We sure as hell don’t want to fall to a wild card and have to face a Pacific Division team ( LA or Ducks) in the first round.

  3. They’re done. They have nothing. Can’t score or defend. PP blows. PK better with Kruger but not enough. Looking old and slow. No net front presence or speed.

    What are we? Kings have size and strength; we’re weak and meek. Stars have speed; we’re slow.

    Morrison continually states “lion in savannah” like we’re going to flip the switch. But this year, there is no switch to flip or extra gear to hit.

    PP is brutal–they stand still and pass around the perimeter.

    PK is still weal because we don’t pressure the point. Guys skate right up and blast away.

    It’s partly coaching and strategizing–because we don’t seem to do any.

    Why has the top scorer in the league and his dynamic mate been held in check? We’re outcoached–no adjustments.

    Whatever–I’m preaching to the choir. You all see it.

  4. Every time I’ve written this team off the past 7 years I’ve been wrong

    They have a will to win in big games unmatched the last 7 years

    They’ve played about 2 more seasons of games the last 7 years than most other teams so they are tired but I’m going to believe in them & hope for them till proven otherwise.

    In 60 years of watching Nhl games, only a edm mtl det & isle core are in a class with them

    Let’s hope they have one last Dance left in those skates


  5. For all those calling for Erhoff maybe Q isn’t crazy after all. A terrible game by a veteran. Playing that low in a tie game? Bonehead icing and not deferring to Kane on the pp trying to be like bobby orrhoff !
    I did like the intensity and compete level tonight on the Hawks side. We’ll get these pricks in the playoffs.

  6. The “sky is falling” chicken little routine here gets old. Let’s wait to see how they play in the post season before saying the team is done. Are they playing crappy now, yes of course. They played like crap in spring last year too and look how that worked out. Playoffs are a different animal, if they feel they need to coast and save strength so be it.


    I’m trying to be patient and positive thinking they are doing the rope a dope, but their play the last 10-15 games is inexcusable horse shit. It is totally unbearable watching this shit.

    What is with this new play where they drop the the puck back from the offensive blue line back to the last trailer at their own blue line. Then all four other skaters are waiting at or near the offensive blue line along with the five defenders. That really looks effective!!!!

    Fastest way to get from point A to point B is everyone skating and passing the puck. They are playing as individuals and everyone is standing around and watching the guy with the puck. How the hell do they expect to get a lane to shoot when everyone is standing still and the player with the puck is over-stick handling and not moving!!!!!! How about cycling with crisp passing? Their’s a novel idea. Their passing is horrendous; always behind the recipient of the pass. Or, soft passess are made to a guy that has defenders all over him? It is like watching sand lot players, the Hawks, playing NHL teams.

    The call on Keith was appropriate. He’ll get some rest in coming games. I was hoping his absence would light a fire under the rest of the team, but apparently not.

    Okay that’s enough off my chest. I’ll be able to sleep tonight!!!

    Go Hawks!!!! You better be doing the rope a dope and waiting for the playoffs to shift into second gear. Right now it looks like they are stuck in neutral or reverse.

  8. Not going to see Keith again until the playoffs. Previous suspensions will factor into this so I’m thinking 5 games.

    Crawford situation scares the beejeezuz out of me.

    Panarin/TT hitting a mental/physical wall.

    How about Toews and Hossa killing off 5 minutes and scoring a shorty…that’s how it’s done. Shaw showing lots of spunk with revenge fight.

    We can’t do this without Crawford. We need Panarin and TT focus.

    Team needs to find its identity real fast.

    Not hopeless. No way.

  9. Goforfour – I do love your take and resolve and I, too, have been wrong when I’ve been critical of Q or Stan, or any player. But this feels different. We’ll see.

    On another note: Demo – I don’t fault Ehrhoff for playing low on that sequence. What needs to happen is for TT to recognize that and move back to the point and cover. He didn’t. When you see your d-man down low like that in a 1-1 game that had played out like this one, you need to recognize that your responsibility is to drop back and be careful, not press in like TT did. Once the puck turned over it was too late.

    And back to you goforfour – not “one last dance,” one more. Trying to find the bright side.

  10. So many glaring problems. It’s very difficult to think this team can flip a switch and all will be OK come Round 1. This tea is suffering from way more than minor problems, bad breaks, bad luck. We are getting whipped in multiple phases of the game on a recurring basis by the better teams in the Conference.

  11. Said it before ,.,.Bread man is 1 dimension,.,.soft and gives the puck away a couple times a night. Keith is gonna get it bad this time 10 plus i bet,.,.real band move.

    Now we were in the game pretty good ,and holding tight but Darling lets in the first and second shots in the third period,.,.Done, down and out,.,.gotta make a save.

    I hear Crow has Bickell like symptoms,.,dizzy , Time to put the other back up goalie in and ride him hard. To many Europeans on this squad this time. I,m gonna eat my toast with peanut butter now,.,.good night.

  12. They were just not in the game the full 60 and really at this point they got the playoff spot clinched so what are they playing for? Minnesota has Colorado on their backs.
    If they play like this when the playoffs start then yeah they’re out in one. But I just don’t see it.

  13. The roster is indeed a mix of the Euros and Ruskies more than it has been. I won’t argue correlation with this teams struggles during crunch time of the season.

  14. Before we all start to jump off the ledge, let’s remember this………….until some team beats the Hawks in a best of 7 series they are still the champs.

    That being said, there are some concerns with this team but the only measuring stick that we have is the past 6 years. How many times have we said this team does not measure up? MANY TIMES. But when the puck drops on the playoffs how many times do the big boys step up? MANY TIMES.

    Remember the big bad Flyers of 2010? They were supposed to beat us to death. It never happened. Remember the Kings AND Bruins of 2013? What happened? The skill guys prevailed. How about last year? Oh, Anaheim will crush the Hawks!! It NEVER HAPPENED!!

    We all know that the playoffs do not really start until game #3 in a 7 game series. In a 7 game series momentum can be gained or lost in a single shift and it can carry over from game to game, not like the regular season when you don’t see teams for more than 2 games in a row.

    The playoffs are about “attrition”. Who can last the longest, will themselves to be fresh for one more shift, block a shot where there is no padding, take a slash and still get off a shot, score a big goal in the third overtime??? The last time I looked it was the Hawks!!

    As all of you know when the playoffs start the ice shrinks and the skill guys take over. The last time I looked we still had heart and skill.

    NEVER, EVER count this team out!!! This team will be ready and the rest of the league knows that they are dangerous in big games. The Hawk leadership is second to none in this league and until they are knocked off I will stand with them, swear by their leaders, cheer their victories and salute anyone that can take them down in a seven game series.

    But until that happens, they are still OUR HAWKS!!

  15. Booman- Well you certainly live up to your name.

    Some folks here claiming 10 games for Keith. 3-5 is more like it.

    But- what IF 10…then 5 games into the playoffs; combine that with a possibility of no Crawford as well, then that would be a significant challenge.

    A wounded lion is still a lion.

  16. No team can withstand so many hits.

    We play at full speed in the playoffs.

    Big boys rules.

    Lion in the Savanna.

  17. I will (continue to) give them the benefit of the doubt until somebody beats them in the post season.

    They’re about a million miles away from playing “their game”, and if Crawford is seriously hurt (frightening to mention him with Bickell-like symptoms…anything Bickell-like), another Cup seems impossible.

    Maybe 2 or 3 games rest will help Keith and Erhoff can get comfortable enough to contribute something more than we’re seen so far?

    At least the PK was good and Hossa scored — GO HAWKS!

  18. I agree with tony -one and done. This team is awful the past 6 weeks . They have no heart . No emotion. They frankly don’t care . Pathetic. For what they are getting paid this is disgusting.

    Where the heck is Kane the past 10 games ? It would be fitting if this team got swept in first round. Would be merciful.

    I can hardly watch them . It is painful.

  19. Yeah, it’s been a rough few months, but there were quite a few bright spots to take from tonight.

    1) PK was huge. Aside from one gorgeous passing play early in the Wild’s first PP, we gave up nothing. The shorty was a bonus.
    2) Missing Seabrook, Keith, and Anisimov, EVERY SINGLE HAWK was plus-or-even Corsi at 5v5. Except Fleischmann, who was -1.
    3) Scoring chances relatively even throughout the game, despite said lack of key personnel.
    4) Defensemen were stuck in a really bad spot, and overall they did just fine.
    5) Several players with nice possession plays in traffic. That’s been lacking. I am seeing signs that they’re starting to make plays.

    To me, tonight the Hawks looked like a slumping hitter that’s starting to square up some pitches, but lining them right at people. Still some careless mistakes of course, but I think they’re heading in the right direction.

    Ehrhoff did struggle, but consider his position: new system, new surroundings, pressure to win a roster spot, and not playing much lately. Then Keith gets booted, and he gets paired with two new partners alternately. That’s freaking tough, even for a veteran. I still like him because the man can skate and he takes risks. I also agree with Tony… I liked Ehrhoff below the goal on the play that led to the GWG. It wasn’t a careless pinch, and he gave his forwards plenty of time to recognize him and cover for him. The goal was scored because TT allowed the middle of the ice to Spurgeon at the blue line, not because Ehrhoff was gambling just before.

    With a sputtering offense, an active defenseman who takes smart gambles is EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED. By definition, a gamble can backfire. But somebody besides Kane needs to play outside the confines of a system in order to create chances. In my opinion, Ehrhoff’s ballsy choice generates a scoring chance 15% of the time, and yields one 10% of the time. Just because we gave up a goal doesn’t make it a bad play. I am worried that the coaching staff will try to quell his attacking instincts as a result. That would be a shame because I see Ehrhoff as a key component of the antitode to our stagnant attack.

  20. Reg Dunlop – I’m totally with you on this. I don’t understand people ruling this team out of the playoffs because we’re struggeling the past month. Because that is excactly what this team never did: not believing in their chance. We haven’t been the best team the last 7-8 years but mostly we have been one of the best plus having the greatest will in the NHL. Just a few examples how close those Championships have been:
    2010 – tied a crucial game in the last minute against NSH in the 1st round while being shorthanded
    2013 – came back from a 3-1 deficit against DET to win in Game 7 OT
    2015 – won games 6 and 7 against ANA who were told to be highly favored as longer the series went because of their hard hitting game

    For the skill the Hawks have they mostly have been a pretty underwhelming team in the regular season but this team was made for the playoffs. And let’s all be glad that it’s not the other way around. (There are enough teams in the NHL who’re just like that.) Criticize and be observant what goes right or wrong but never stop believing in this team. That’s what real fans do…Amen

  21. The Hawks have the talent to win. The recent slump seems more in the head/heart category…exhaustion? No excuses, this is NHL. They have shown they can step up when it counts; it’s time for the leadership to lead.

  22. waiting…………

    for them to Push that button….

    To Deposit them BIG FAT Stacks!!!!

    The whole team looks like it was Bickelled (not just Crow)!!! Dizzy, lethargic, bumbling, and got Paid!!! Ironically… ONE of the few guys playing like he has a pulse ( and coincidentally hasn’t got PAID—-yet) is Shaw!!!

    Ladd/Hossa- do they know they are on the same team?

    Crow knows this team ain’t contending… so he has checked out…

    Keith – completely frustrated… cuz he Knows were this team/and his skills are going!!! South!!!

    Hawks- have too many guys that are overpaid- for what they DID (past)
    and NOT enough guys who are underpaid for what they are DOING …


  23. Wow-how quickly they leave-see the first post

    Mind you it’s been obvious that this team is struggling, but it has for the last 6 to 8 weeks-it’s not a blip. They have been warriors for 6 years-it takes a toll–

    In our ‘what have you done for me lately world?’ it’s hard to appreciate what we have had–and all good things do come to an end-I choose to be grateful
    Crow is the key to any chance to win-I still think teams will be nervous to play the Hawks first round, especially with a healthy 50 (which seems like it might be a stretch?)

    Tab get ready for the exodus, as it has started already

  24. Same Same as we continue to slide vs. Western foes and the Wild was not very impressive. Short handed on Defense and that was that! This group of wanna be defensemen show how poorly they join the rush, fill in lanes and or trap, and get caught chasing! NOT GOOD! Over all Team speed is still way too slow, Hawks have to work soooo hard and pass soooo sharp and execute to perfection to play well. They need cheap goals, a few big hits leading to big turnovers, more shots. Now our most effective play is the SHORTY! They need the Power play to produce, obviously.

    TNT Teuvo is playing horrible, weak in traffic and his back check now is as bad as his fore check! He is so weak on the hands, guys just skate up to him and then past him, and his reaching stick is of little use, like a popsicle stick. Wacth him on the back check horrible, he gets close but does not CLOSE, his reach is weak (not his fault) on the fore check and now the back check, along with The Artist Panarin. Both responsible!

    Duncan Keith followed up his spear, slash and stab wound on Johhny Gaudreau with a deadly “intentional” slash across the face of Doyle. Keith will be out for a awhile! Anyone who saw that as an accident does not know Keith nor the Hawks. As Repeat offender the League will not be kind and look forward to playing BIG BROTHER!

    Shaw fight was funny? Should have gotten that done at puck drop! It should have been Panarin, he had the Dick the Bruiser head lock on Dumba! Good for Dumba wish he was a Hawk!

    If Corey Crawford has concussion which seems to be obvious that he does, the Hawks are in bigger trouble than first assumed. Crow as I have noted for a long long time is the least “defended” goaltender in the history of the NHL, he gets run over, hit hard and speared and slashed with no protection or reaction.

    Darling is good but will not carry the Hawks thru a month of playoff hockey! In fact I would trade or borrow or kidnap for my boy Mike Smith from the Coyotes today!

    Sadly it might be time to watch the CUBS . . . but the West is Weak
    So we got an outside shot, way outside.

  25. Ehrhoff was not really at fault, he shows “viewers” how easy it is for him to move the puck up ice, so good in fact, he advances up the the zone and waits. He will be of value in the playoffs especially on Offense once wingers skate with him, now he has to slow down, pause, wait, look around . . . He’s a good third line defensemen or partner with Seabrook!

    Hawks if Crow comes back ( he won’t) Hawks are as in good of shape to make it to the CUP with Crow as anyone in the West. IF Crow is lost then it’s is indeed over, way too much pressure on Darling and our defense will continue to give up lose pucks in front of him. If we had a bigger defense with a more CREASE CLEARING attitude we’d have a shot.

    Good news is the west is not best, average at best, every team has big holes, really big holes.

    underdog is good for Hawks

  26. NO ARTEM ANISIMOV . . . pause . . then no Kane and really no Panarin. As much as humans want to bash him Artem technically does things no else does. When he comes back from his siesta that line will click!

    I repeat then off to work ” THERE IS NO GREAT TEAM IN THE WEST” Plus HAWKS ARE STREAKY . .. period. only legitimate concern in Crow Show!

  27. Wall – (Pens2.0)…the only thing missing: “…if only they hadn’t overpaid Crawford they could’ve bought a mediocre d-man and forward”?

  28. Re: Walls comment- Booman, we need your chorus of boo’s.

    I find it difficult to believe that is really you writing that stuff Wall.

  29. here is my Yogi-ism thought…

    many Star Pro athletes… a large part of their careers… are underpaid (Over-achieving)…
    a Large part of their careers… they are over-paid, and (Under-achieving)…
    for a short part of their careers… they EARN what they are paid!!!

    Many of the Hawks have entered the “paid for what they DID… and not what they are doing” part of their careers!!!

    Live with it!

    Dickie Dunn- think about it for a second!!! 2016 Hawks (Less Crow $$$)…
    affords the Hawks to Keep BOTH Oduya/Sharp… Sharp would be 3rd/4th fastest forward… and top 3 sniper…. and Oduya would be your 2nd fastest/quickest D-men (who was a shut-down guy with #4)… so Yes Hawks would be better for sure…100% in my eyes!!!

    Hawks would be so much faster right now… Hawks can’t touch the Stars right now!!! Too slow!!!

    Guys- D Dunn, brought up the “Crow agenda” not me!!!

  30. Just a small clarification-Keith is NOT a repeat offender (that was clarified today on Hockey Central)–he has a history and there is a difference-
    it was dirty but he will get from 3 to 5 games

  31. Yes over pay and under pay and then under perform. To me KEY in most all sports is finding really good athletes who have NOT WON IT ALL who are really hungry to win a cup and have not. Hossa fit that profile. Shane Done comes to mind even though he is ancient . . .Joe Pavelski and Zach Parise I like! the The Sedin’s mr. pass and mr. you shoot don’t count! They will never win anything.

    But timing is everything in contracts.

  32. Wall – interesting underpay/over-achieve, overpay/under-achieve…maybe they pay becomes commensurate with the achievement during the playoffs? That is how it has worked out the past few years. (And, yes, I’ll own the blame for the “Crow agenda” comment – it just seemed to be missing…off-topic: didn’t someone here start engraving the Blues’ names on the Cup the trade deadline afternoon they acquired Ryan Miller? Nobody really knows how the post season goes until the games are played.)

    Honestly, considering how Crawford played (so far) this season, I would prefer him in Chicago rather than Oduya and Sharp. He and Kane are mostly responsible for the success they’ve had.

  33. Mook- agree on Sedins…and add Joe Thornton to that list…

    On another tangent…. I did a study/research paper back in College on “Motivation/Success” in sports/athletes… The conclusion/evidence strongly suggests- when athletes motivation is to play for the “true love” of the game versus outside tangible things like money, success, fame, scholarships,etc… are way more successful/achieve more for longer periods of time versus the latter…

    along those lines… I wonder if a study has been done to see if there is a correlation to getting that “last fat contract” and performance… (see Bickell) because at that point… the athlete knows he has reached his “pay-peak”… of course age needs to be a factored variable.

  34. Just a couple. The PP SUCKS, never seen it this bad. If they spent more time & effort moving the puck forward than they do dropping it back ( WTF IS THAT ABOUT ) the results may improve. If they let #65 go they let the ” HEART & SOUL OF THIS TEAM GO ” !!!!!!!

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