Rookies Lead Blackhawks – Not Leafs – To Victory In Toronto

Heading into a prime time Saturday night match-up in Toronto, it was obvious that rookies would be at the heart of the conversation. The fact that Chicago would be skating without two key veterans – Artem Anisimov and Marian Hossa – made young players even more important for both teams.

After all, the Leafs have three first year skaters – Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner and William Nylander – all over 50 points on the season. Toronto’s young core is starting to remind many of the Blackhawks’ nucleus back in 2007-08, and the Leafs have admitted to looking up to Chicago’s champions. On Friday, James Mirtle posted a terrific piece at The Athletic Toronto talking about how much Matthews looks up to Jonathan Toews.

And in the first period, Matthews got Toronto on the board. His 32nd goal of the season gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead in spite of the Blackhawks out-shooting the green jersey-wearing Leafs 13-8 in the opening 20 minutes.

Early in the second period, coach Joel Quenneville threw his already-scrambled lines into the blender. Nick Schmaltz took a few shifts between John Hayden and Richard Panik and Toews was with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. Hayden came out with a physical approach again; he was credited with five hits in 9:44 on the ice over the first two periods.

The Hawks out-shot the Leafs by five shots again in the second (12-7), but finally beat Frederik Andersen to tie the game. At 10:51, Hayden scored his first career NHL goal.

Brent Seabrook and Toews picked up the assists on the Hayden marker, which makes the former Yale captain the seventh player to score his first career NHL goal with the Blackhawks this season. Seabrook made sure the puck wound up with the Blackhawks equipment staff so Hayden has a souvenir.

Chicago’s line of Tomas Jurco, Ryan Hartman and Marcus Kruger had a terrific shift five minutes into the third with a mad scramble in front of the net. Unfortunately, the Hawks weren’t able to convert on a few good chances. They generated some more good buzz later in the third before Quenneville sent out Hayden, Toews and Panik for an offensive zone draw with seven minutes left in regulation.

The Hawks out-shot the Leafs 36-25 in regulation but neither team scored a second time in regulation. So on to overtime we went.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild lost their fourth in a row with a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in regulation.

In the closing seconds of overtime, Panarin set up Hartman – another rookie – for the game-winner and Chicago skated away with a 2-1 victory.

Crawford stopped 25 of 26 in the victory, bailing out his skaters on a number of occasions. He also, officially, picked up his first assist of the season on Hartman’s game-winning goal.

Hayden skated 15:29 and was credited with seven hits with his first career goal. Hartman led Chicago with six shots on net and was also credited with three hits in addition to his game-winning goal in 13:26 on the ice.

Toronto dominated the Hawks at the dot. Schmaltz won only one of 12 faceoffs and Toews won eight of 20. Tanner Kero won three of 11 and Marcus Kruger won half of his ten draws.

Trevor van Riemsdyk, skating against older brother James, finished tied with Johnny Oduya for the team lead with five blocked shots.

33 thoughts on “Rookies Lead Blackhawks – Not Leafs – To Victory In Toronto

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    John Hayden: born in Chicago

    Ryan Hartman: born in Hilton Head, SC, raised in West Dundee, IL.

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    VinnieHinostroza born in Bartlett.

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for pointing out who was in the picture of a Blackhawks player to someone commenting on a Blackhawks blog, John. hashtag embarrassed

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Hayden looks good with his positioning. Had a couple of good chances close in. Looked to be open for a pass or two that didn’t come his way as well.

    Those GREEN uniforms were pretty ugly. That’s one throwback that I’m guessing is not gonna be a big seller in the team store.

    Blackhawks gonna need to get ready to play a good game and get points out of a game they should win tomorrow. Both they and Colorado will go at it after playing the previous night. Colorado got drilled. Don’t take the foot off the gas boys.

    Go Blackhawks!!!!

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Question about Dejardin: I believe he’s a solid fourth liner and becoming more effective as the season progresses. He’s got a lot of energy and an aggressive forecheck. Decent hands, too. And doesn’t seem to fuck up much. But it seems like people on this site don’t think much of him, like he offers the team next to nothing. Id rather have him out there in the playoffs than Jurco. Thoughts?

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Hartman was a line tonight all by himself. Best game I have seen him play.

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Agree with you on Desi John and just to add he’s not bad in the dot either so he’s an option if he’s on the ice for defensive zone draws.

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Seems like Kruger has come to life lately, too. He’s way more active and noticeable, especially making his little subtle, high-hockey-iq plays…chipping it in and out as needed, making the smart decision, etc. rounding into playoff form.

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Good game by Hayden. He had lots of chances as Toews set him up. Hartman was fantastic, great with the puck and physical too bad Kruger is an offensive black hole and shot that puck right into Anderson’s chest. Jurco didn’t do much other than about 5 chances in succession. Everyone else was solid. Very fast game, few whistles and refs let them play.

  • March 18, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Oh and schmaltz gets better and better each game

  • March 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    That’s 8 different rookies to score for the Hawks this year.

    Schmaltz -6
    Hinostroza- 6

    And Q hates young guys. How bout that…

  • March 18, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Anyone catch the overtime draw. Kruger was in for the O zone draw (which he lost) and immediately high tailed it for the bench to give way to Panik. Not surprising. Just amusing.

    Minnesota now has 2 wins in 9 games since the deadline. A deadline some thought the Hawks needed to make trade to keep up. Don’t under estimate locker room chemistry or team dynamic.

  • March 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Long road trips, babaaaay.

  • March 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    A much more helter skelter game tonight than against Ottawa last game. But it was entertaining. CC had a few touch chances but not that many of them. I think Andersen had more quality chances that he had to stop but both goalies were excellent tonight. Nice to see CC come back strong from being “under the weather”.

    Beauty play and shot by Hayden. A pretty good game which included 7 hits! Keep it going kid.

    I thought Jurco had a pretty good game too. Missed a goal by an inch and was physical and in the mix a lot. Nothing great but I still think some more patience is needed and maybe just maybe he’ll develop into something good.

    Good to see Hartman get off the schnide.

    Now let’s not take the Avs lightly and let’s keep this role going.

  • March 18, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    That would be – let’s keep this roll going.

  • March 18, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Does Hayden have good wheels or is he running high on adrenaline right now?

  • March 19, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Desi is the definition of Just A Guy, but he’s a really good guy to have as just a guy. Did you know that Michael Frolik makes 2X what 16 does? Does he make his team 2X better than Kruger does? I’m not sure which logical fallacy I’m committing, but in this case it’s almost apt :)

    19 is playing possessed, Q wipes a tear off his frown after every shift it’s so freaking awesome to watch. Save some for a couple weeks, guy.

    I honestly had to take time off this blog when the Trader Crows were out. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I say that a lot nowadays.

    Holy crap is this a bad blog post, just working out the cobwebs. Hartman good, Tootoo punched a guy really comically hard, Schmaltz became good, heck of a few months. I really, truly did not expect this team to be elite, I think this is the Caps’ year. The only thing in the Caps’ way, other than the first round of the playoffs, is the grumpiest, scrappiest, oldest, nastiest D corps in recent memory. Kudos to SB for putting this team in the picture again. The first signing in the offseason was Campbell as I recall, man has he made this team better. Then to lower the boom on the league with the Oduya signing… just kidding, but I love his game too, just hope he can play it.

    Only 3 weeks to figure out what channel playoffs will be on…

  • March 19, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Frolik makes 4.3 million. Kruger makes 3.083. A difference of 1.217. He makes less than 40% more….

  • March 19, 2017 at 7:49 am

    I watched the game from the hockey night in Canada broadcast which was refreshing. Apart from the “Grapes” crapola between periods those guys do a hell of a job. Hawks still finding ways to win close games. After the snoozefest that was the Sens. game the Leafs game had to be better, and it was. Apart from the great play from Toews to Hayden, Hawks seemed to be on the perimeter until the 3rd. It was a hard fought game, but those 2 points add up especially with the Wild in a mini swoon. Playing without Hossa and Anisimov put more pressure on the young guys, but they did well yet again. Q had some interesting combos out there to try and jump start the offense.

    Crow and Darling just keep getting it done.

    Hayden looked much more comfortable on his skates last night and he appears to be adjusting to the torrid pace that is NHL hockey. As his confidence grows his bigger body will be an asset and he showed he can play a physical game when called for. That puck kick from skate to blade and fast release reveals that kid has a nose for the net. Really nice finish too.

    Hawks youngsters just keep getting it done. Hartman in particular was a force last night. Love how he plays on the edge. He would be a handful to play against as he is pretty relentless. Lost in the rookie shuffle is Motte whom I felt early in the year showed great promise. Who would have thought at the start of this season the Hawks would have this much depth with the forwards? It has been a most pleasant surprise.

    Keep this train rolling. To steal the division or possibly the conference would be large. The less travel in playoffs the better. Still plenty of games left, so keep the pressure on teams trying to catch up.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  • March 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Hayden- Ironically whiffed on the Kruger feed… 15 feet in front of goalie… then makes a highlite reel kick to stick/snipe… in one motion.

    Kid- hasn’t even shown his best skill- board battles… (has actually been-hurried and weak there-so far)… give him 3-4 months with Hawks/and coaches in practice/chemistry will greatly improve… much like 14 and Stalberg improved their “board play”… You have to like how he goes to the area in front of net.

    Also- probably not used to LW… so he struggled a few times exiting the zone there… but give him few months with “system/practice” and I am sure he will be just fine.

  • March 19, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I’m continually impressed with how the hawks effectively use the body. Blocking out and leaning into the opposition to keep their footing and possession. I used to admire hossa for that skill, but am more recently noticing it throughout the roster. Kane, panarin, hartman, etc. Nice to see, and a trend that i hope continues. Haven’t seen a lot of other teams excelling at that.

  • March 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Luc Snuggerud scored his first professional point with an assist in his second game.

    Debrincat scored his 65th goal in 63 games, which set another Erie record for goals in a year. Tied Mcdavid with points in 27 consecutive games. And both streaks ended because the season ended. Erie tied a CHL record with its 4th consecutive 50 win season. Someone will be hiring Knoblauch.

  • March 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Dcat is doing great the Otters are ranked number 3 in CHL. The Sea Dogs are ranked number 1 in the whole CHL and Highmore is the leading scorer 34g 55a 89 points. Maybe we see a show down at the memorial cup

  • March 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Alright … this needs to be rectified … and soon. Will the Hawks equipment staff find a helmet that fits Hayden. It looks like his helmet is perched on the top of his head instead of fitting down over his head. It’s probably the reason he’s constantly messing with his helmet while on the ice. He did go to Yale so maybe he is an egg head but I gotta think they can custom fit a helmet for him.

  • March 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

    G-Bladz… do u know if Highmore got hurt- or just resting… looked like he missed last game(s)… I keep reading lots of great things on Highmore… Motor like Danault with better scoring ability… sounds like a great sign… another poster on another site- predicts he makes the team next year…

    ER- I thought the same thing a few times… also- Hayden seems to where that shield way higher than most players- really acts like a Baseball cap visor -more than an eye protector.

    That helmet fits him like that famous photo of that drunk guy at the Hawk’s game who stole the player’s helmet and put it on in the 2nd/3rd row a few years ago… when players knocked the glass out.

  • March 19, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Nick. I get why you had to take time off this place. Some of the negative posters are a little much to take, especially Wall. I don’t know how he has the nerve to still post on here with all the things he gets wrong! I haven’t seen this much nerve since Benedict Arnold applied for veteran benefits! Wall is the Benedict Arnold of hawk fans.

  • March 19, 2017 at 11:59 am

    ER- I thought the same damn thing! I actually notice that a lot with the college kids. Not sure if it’s them not being used to not having the full cage or if it really is a poor fit. But it is kinda funny. Schmaltz did it a lot to start the year too.

  • March 19, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Some Johnny b Goode tonight would be fitting huh?

  • March 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Well said Ernie! Yep, Johnny Be Good with a Tazer hattie on the side works for me. RIP Chuck Berry. One of the all time greats. Let It Rock and…

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • March 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Wall, I was at that game. Funny thing is I was at game before (CAL) sitting about 5 seats from that guy. Thought it was hilarious but the woman with that guy poured some of her beer on that guys head (Hardy) so they got ejected. Those escorts should apply to be refs.

    Hammer is prob. the only other guy that doesn’t wear his visor completely correctly. At morning skate one of the guys adjusted his visor for him to the correct position but then on his first shift it was up there again. Thank god only Hoss is allowed to have a slightly tined visor because he is a demigod. Its like the team pretty much uses old school hockey tape on socks. None of that panzy plastic shrink mold stuff.

  • March 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Kronwall is the worst when it comes to visor use.

    Phil, we have 2 johnny’s on the team now!!

  • March 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Trap game yes, but Panarin and Schmaltz shoot the puck!

  • March 20, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Wall… I don’t believe he is hurt as they are resting lots of players as they are first and remaining games meant little to them. Highmore is a relentless forechecker like Danault but you’re right more offensively gifted. He plays PP and PK. Takes most of key face offs. I doubt he is big enough or strong enough for NHL. He and Noel can play together in Rockford. Their team is stacked and should provide a good run to the Memorial Cup

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