The Chicago Blackhawks lost in the fourth round of a shootout against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.
For having such a rivalry and heated history between the two teams, the game in Vancouver started off slow and quiet. “Slow and quiet” is not what got the Blackhawks off to their best start in franchise history and it’s definitely not how they will keep it going. But they did manage to get a point out of their worst game of the year, so there’s the optimism, if you were looking for it.
A handful of icings, a few power plays reminiscent of last season, and a Vancouver goal summed up the sleepy start for the Blackhawks and even the game in general. The targeting of Duncan Keith that we all knew was coming for his illegal hit to the head of Daniel Sedin last season was barely noticeable. He managed to dance his way out of most of the checks and took a few bumps. The crowd gave him the worst of it with “boos” every time he touched the puck. Oh, and Alexandre Burrows made a special appearance by shooting the puck into the net after an offside whistle was blown.
The first intermission did nothing for the Blackhawks. The second period was just as boring with Roberto Luongo able to see every shot that the Hawks managed to fire on net after finally breaking in to the offensive zone. In a game where the most of the big stars seemed unnoticeable, Brandon Saad seemed to be the only one ready to play hockey. He drove hard to the net, created great chances for himself and his teammates, and drew a couple of penalties. Saad was one of the best players in this game but it didn’t manage to show on the scoreboard.
The third period started off much like the first two with the Blackhawks still looking unorganized and out of sync. Then Dave Bolland went down on his way for a change favoring his right leg, but gritted through the pain enough to break his stick on the boards and be helped to the dressing room to the delight and cheers of Canucks fans. He didn’t return for the rest of the game and it’s unsure of how serious it is or how much more time he might miss.
Nearly halfway through the third, both the Canucks and Blackhawks showed a little bit of life. The home team threw hit after hit on the Hawks that were never retaliated, but Patrick Kane made a bad-angle shot off of an Andrew Shaw feed to tie the game. Then it was time to take a few penalties, of course, to show off the great penalty killing ability of this season’s Blackhawks team. With 41 seconds killing off a 5 on 3 penalty, Marian Hossa singlehandedly killed off about 30 seconds of it by winning the draw, denying entry into the zone, and throwing a few hits of his own!
However, the momentum for the Hawks didn’t come soon enough and the game went into overtime and then a shootout. Coach Joel Quenneville called on Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp who all failed to score as did Vancouver’s attempts. In the fourth round, Coach Q. called on Nick Leddy. Leddy. Over Hossa. Over Saad. Leddy’s shot was gloved by Luongo while Jordan Schroeder‘s shot leaked through Crawford.
My Blackhawks 3 stars of the game:
The Blackhawks have now lost two in a row, both losses coming in shootouts. The good news is that eight games into the season the Blackhawks have managed to get a point in every one of them. They are now 6-0-2 with 14 points. They look to get to a fast start Saturday night in Calgary when they take on the Flames.
Who are your Blackhawks stars of the game?