The Blackhawks traveled to the Canadian Capital of Ottawa in a scenario that they have thrived in the past two seasons. The Blackhawks on the back end of back to back games were 9-1-3 this season and they were 10-1-1 last season. The difference tonight in the first period was the lineup Joel Quenneville threw out on the ice, starting with benching Teuvo Teravainen and playing recently signed college free agent Matt Carey on a line with Peter Regin and Brandon Saad. The Hawks did their usual holding the puck for the first 10 minutes without getting a goal and then they gave up a short handed goal to open up the scoring. Antti Raanta looked like he was going to leave the game with a knee injury pretty soon after the goal, but he stayed in the game because he’s a hockey player! Brandon Bollig got into a fight about 10 minutes later than he should have when Raanta was tackled and he got bloodied up for his efforts. In the final minute a deflected shot got past Raanta and the Hawks were in a huge hole on the road 2-0 at the first intermission.
The Senators skated out for the puck drop in the second period and seemingly scored seconds later, they put the puck past Raanta when Milan Michalek scored 23 seconds into the period to put the Hawks in a 3-0 hole. The Hawks looked to be in serious cruise control to the airport for the ride to Pittsburgh midway through the 2nd period down two with no life and a whole lot of standing around. Patrick Sharp who has skated hard for two games got in and created a powerplay halfway through the period and during the powerplay the Sharpshooter scored to finally break the shutout seal! The Hawks energy and legs kept getting stronger in the 2nd period and then for the first time since possibly the Stadium Series the Hawks showed some emotion when Chris Neil took a run at Niklas Hjalmarrson’s knee and Hjalmarsson was seen screaming at the Senators bench. Marian Hossa cut the lead to one on a magical play that included a steal a great move and a goal! The Hawks had all the momentum leading to the third period after a 23-5 shot total in the 2nd period but will the Hawks have it in them to finish off the comeback in the third period.
The Hawks were unable to carry the momentum into the third period and Ottawa after peppering Antti Raanta with shots Ottawa finally got one past him after a Matt Carey penalty on a faceoff violation and that was it for the Hawks on this night. The Blackhawks defense which had been pretty strong most of the season looked pretty weak tonight and on a simple faceoff they let the sea part and the Senators scored for a 5-2 lead and the comeback was finished. The Hawks would score again late in the third but it was very too little very too late.
The Hawks are 7-7-1 since the Olympic break and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Hawks traveling to Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
The Patrick Sharp goal gave him a new career high point total with his 31st goal of the season giving him 72 points on the season.
Antti Raanta picked up his first career point on the Sharp goal as well.
Only 7 more games until the playoffs begin and this team doesn’t look to ready for that task!
Before the game Quenneville said we would see “Something Different” well let’s forget something different exists ever again!
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