Blackhawks Drop Regular Season Finale
The Blackhawks lost the final game on their regular season schedule on Saturday night, falling 7-5 in Nashville.
Duncan Keith sat for a second straight night, and was joined in the press box by Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marcus Kruger. Nick Leddy, who was minus-four in the game, skated in his 82nd game of the season. Leddy hasn’t missed a game in three full NHL seasons.
Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp were reportedly both given the option to take the night off, but dressed anyway. Hossa scored his 30th goal of the season in the first period, and was taken out of the game as a precaution. He skated only five shifts in the game.
Andrew Shaw scored his 20th of the season late in the third period with the Hawks’ goal empty to tie the game. Unfortunately, Nashville scored twice in the final 60 seconds to close out the game.
Brandon Saad had two assists, Ben Smith scored his 14th of the season and Jeremy Morin continues his strong play with fifth goal of the season. Morin has scored four times in the last five games.
Rookie Matt Carey scored his first NHL goal.
Antti Raanta had a frustrating night, allowing six goals against 32 shots. Nashville converted most of their better scoring chances against a less-than-stellar defensive performance. David Rundblad played… and was minus-three in just over 12 minutes of ice time.
What matters from Saturday night: everyone that started the game left healthy.
The 107 points accumulated by the 2013-14 Blackhawks is tied for the second-highest total in team history, but is only good for third in the Central Division this season.
23 thoughts on “Blackhawks Drop Regular Season Finale”
Ok…well thats over with…bring it on…we need 16 wins without losing 4 in seven…piece of cake for these guys…I really believe they can do it…just hope they believe it as much.
That was icing, 5-5 tie. Good thing these 2 games are meaningless. Fucking refs better call icing correctly in playoffs.
Really good two games, no one got hurt. All that matters.
I love that we play Hoss, so he can get 30th goal, then healthy scratch after that.
Give these ahl & backups credit we won 4 in a row against good teams when the games counted to get 2 seed. Organization is smart. I think we could have even rested some guys even moar.
Yeah it was another meaningless game and yeah some of the regulars didn’t play and yeah they played more instpired that they did against the Caps … but my goodness the defensive zone coverage was abysmal. Forwards and d-men alike were playing like they have never been schooled in playing defense. Two guys following the puck and no one taking the guy standing alone in the slot was a common occurance and although Raanta wasn’t very good, he faced way too many Grade A chances. Giving up 7 goals (again) against one of the lowest scoring teams in the league is hard to stomach even in a meaningless game with some players missing.
But there’s a few good news items too. First, the playoffs are here! YAHOO! Second, the Hawks won’t need to play Nashville again this season :)
And then there’s the milestones – Hossa with his 30th for the 8th time in his career and first with the Hawks. Shaw got his 20th – who woulda thunk he would be a 20 goal scorer – very nice. Carey with his first – guy looks like a pretty good skater and might develop into a good player.
So let the fun begin.
With some “interesting choices” to be made in terms of personnel for round one, I’d love to not see Kris “Curly Neil” Versteeg in the lineup. His dipsy doodling attempts at fancy stick work belong in an industrial league where the games don’t matter; frankly he’s useless and has not been one of Stan’s smarter moves, despite Florida footing much of his salary and all the hype the Hawks propaganda machine tries to get us to believe about how great it is that he’s back in Chicago. Morin has to play ahead of Mr. Harlem Globetrotter On Ice.
Saad will be in the lineup, but his play is back where it was when he became a healthy scratch. Perhaps the strong supporting cast we should see Thursday night will improve his game.
On defence, the one guy who scares me is Johnny Oduya. His play has been less than stellar ever since the Olympics. He’s good for at least one brutal giveaway per game, and he’s been playing weak along the boards, giving up the puck way too often.
Last year we were fortunate to meet Minnesota in the first round, since the Hawks didn’t go into the playoffs with their A game. This year there will be nothing fortunate about the opponent, so the Hawks are going to have to get their act together right from the get-go. St. Louis may have struggled of late, but just playing us will be incentive enough for them to get their game on. So, if that’s who we see Thursday night, I can think of no other team I’d rather see the Hawks beat on our quest to repeat. It is going to be a battle.
Certainly hope Detroit gives Boston bloody hell and makes it difficult for them. If we get St. Louis methinks we will do well and go far. If we get Colorado I hope JS’s Fenwick shot statistic is the real deal. Who is the one team that won the Cup with the negative number? What made this anomaly occur? Blackhawk organization are friggin genius and I have total confidence in what their plan is. Hossa goal was incredible, nice for Carey, impressive, Bickell looked like Hossa a couple of times and then was invisible and Rannta made great saves in between being a sieve. Hope Crawford stays healthy!
I might be crazy… but there is probably a reason that Morin was skating with Shaw and Sharp for the second half of that game.
Playoff time baby!
Raanta sure could have used more time in the AHL. That said, he is our backup. Earlier this year the Hawks played stifling defense when CC was out. The result was a good W-L record. Without that type of defensive effort, Raanta is really exposed.
He is our backup so I will support him. I am still curious why he did not go to Rockford during the Olympic break.
Hawks will be pushed to the brink in every series they play this year. Teams have them figured out but that does not mean “teams” can execute on that strategy over a seven game series. Crawford will have to play even better than last year, lots of one goal games coming up. Hawks defense men are a wee bit over rated, Hawks forwards back check with the best of them, making life a little easier for Keith and Company. But our D men can skate, handle the puck, pass and have stick skills. Leddy to me will be a difference maker, game by game he is getting closer to my vision of him, coast to coast taking it to the net, not fading off to the wings or out skating EVERYONE and dumping it off, LEDDY can be and will be a GREAT FINISHER. Morrin is also a trump card, His size, and skill set makes him to me, the most dangerous Hawk on the ice. A rest Kane and Towes will help in the first game or two but after that it is up to the HAWKS to play harder for 3 periods andVrawford to stand on his head!
I would be happy to see 11, 12, 42 all get time in PO’s over 26,23,52… I KNOW it won’t happen.
Regin can skate and check… I like him more and more… If they skate 28-2ndC… then 16/12 have looked good together (would luv to see “Euro line” 42/12/16)
But Q will want to skate the “enforcer”/52- just in case Hawks need to lose a fight!!!
JS- I always said that Morin is better suited for a “top 6” role… And you chastised me for the term…
Wall, Morin has proven that he can play bottom 6 minutes as well. In fact, Morin has proven he can flat out play. But I agree with you, that ultimately, he is better suited for the top 6. I sure hope he starts game 1, regardless of who we play…and not just for the production. Morin is a tough, strong kid and the Hawks are going to need his aggressive style and his toughness after the whistles.
IMO the Hawks are in a tough spot moving into the playoffs, and even a small tactical error by Q will likely result in a lost series.
Regin is far better than Handzus…how can he sit while Zus plays? Bizarre, really.
Wouldn’t that “technically” be a 3rd line though? I don’t think line numbers really matter with the Hawks. Morin played some of his best hockey on the “third line” with Bickell and Regin. He’s just a guy that drives possession and draws penalties regardless of who is on the ice with him.
Here’s a stat…Handzus has played in 59 games and has recorded 50 shots on goal. Morin has seen action in only 24 games but is credited with 46 shots, only four fewer than Handzus.
BTW, Leddy was snake bit playing with Rundblad last night…Leddy was a -4 and wasn’t awful. However Rundblad was. What Bowman saw in this guy is beyond me, what a BRUTAL acquisition down the stretch that took up some CAP space and a crucial roster spot, that cost us at least a point or two.
And people wonder why Kevin Hayes apparently doesn’t want to sign here? We have Clendening and Dahlbeck in Rockford who appear ready to play in the show and Stephen Johns who is not far off and Bowman goes out and deals a 2nd rounder for Rundblad, and then wins a bidding war with Van Riemsdyck with promises that he will get his shot in the show. And with all the proven forwards in Rockford, and Centre talent coming soon, he wins another bidding war for Matt Carey (a player even his coach said should have stayed another year at St. Lawrence) with promises that he would play down the stretch in games where we were fighting for Home Ice advantage??? Drew LeBlanc last year? And now next year LeBlanc has to be on the Hawks roster or his “wage” counts against our cap? Again WTF? A kid in a candy store?
With TT being almost assured to win the 2nd Centre spot out of camp next season, and Ben Smith showing that he is a real NHL Centre, Danault and McNeil chomping at the bit in Rockford and a newly signed Matt Carey what chance does Kevin Hayes have to win a roster spot with the Hawks in the next 2 years? NONE! This is why Johns fought for a 2 year deal only with the Hawks. None of these 1st and 2nd round picks wants to be in the minors for more than 2 seasons and with the Hawks, prospects are looking at what seems a decade.
And you can see watching Raanta that he hasn’t really improved all season long with both his rebound and body control. I think we are beginning to notice the effects of losing Stephane Waite to MTL.
I agree completely that Raanta hardly improved this year, but he needed to play more. He was really forced into that backup role too early, imo. A full season in Rockford would have been good.
The more I think about it, the more I want these to be the lines in the playoffs:
29-19-88 (catch lightning one more time)
20-28-81 (Saad gains confidence from playing with Hossa and Smith works hard)
10-65-11 (Sharp’s skill along with Morin’s coming of age with Shaw’s grinding style…really not a 3rd line is Sharp would play like Sharp can)
16-12-42 (that’s a serious 4th line…)
However, sitting all of Versteeg, Handzus, and Bollig would be a Q we don’t know. The Blues couldn’t keep with the lines above and this is the lineup the Hawks would need to get past the mental barrier of the Avs
St Louis getting hammered by Detroit…these guys have lost their mojo and key players…they are in big trouble…looks like it will be St. Louis for us, which is very good news. All our big guns back and rested….looking mighty fine.
Peter, I am with you on those lines, but you are right, I don’t think Q would do it. Seems we could dominate play with that group.
It just didn’t make sense not to let Raanta play in Rockford during the O break and I thought that’s why we got LaBarbera.
As far as open spots in the future, teams that build dynasties need to move veteran players before they grow too old to get return value for them. I could see Sharp being moved and Morin moving into his role next year with little drop off. Anybody else seen as expendable next year?
Its St. Louis. I noticed that Pietrangelo didn’t play for the Blues today. That is on top of Backes and Oshie not playing. I expect the Blues to have all their people back for game 1. It will be a tough series, but I think the Hawks win in 6.
I don’t understand all the hate on Bollig and Versteeg. Bollig does his job and Versteeg is playing fine. While Morin definitely needs to play (ahead of Handzus), why should Nordstrom and Regin automatically be penciled in the playoff lineup? Nordstrom can fly but is not strong enough along the boards to play physical playoff hockey. I would role these lines…
Versteeg is a very underrated passer but Morin would also play great with 10 and 65. Besides, Quennville will shuffle the lines throughout.
Sr. Brad – I’m not sure of the new CBA rules regarding one-way contracts, but even if LeBlanc’s contract is counted into the Hawks salary cap it will amount to basically nothing because only the amount over (minimum NHL salary + $375K) is counted which is about what LeBlanc makes. The fact that Rocky will pay LeBlanc a much higher salary to play in Rockford than he would have if Stan hadn’t given him a one-way contract may be something that Rocky won’t like, but it won’t hurt the Hawks salary cap situation.
^Sharp on the third line??? Bickel on the first line? Bickel barely makes the team… His contract keeps him playing. And as for last night, I was at the game. Raanta made some incredible saves. He didn’t allow 7 goals. He allowed 6. All were because the defense sucked bad, nearly all were one timers at point blank range… Runblad shouldn’t be allowed in peewee hockey. Awful.
Thanks ER…there still seems to be a pattern with Bowman that’s a little self defeating.
Raanta has less rebound control than someone getting out of a 20 year marriage. And if you think Bickell is playing bad, you might need to get your eyes checked.
Blind? You must not be able to read. He has 15 pts on the season. He has the most MINUS points than anyone on the team. Bollig has 14 pts and is only a – 1. Bickell makes millions. He has played POORLY this year.