Oct 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller (1) makes a save on Chicago Blackhawks left-wing Daniel Carcillo (13) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
As some sports fans may say, you can’t win them all. I’ve tried telling myself that too but 2 points are also better than 1 in the NHL standings. So after the Chicago Blackhawks let a game get away from them that they owned and had the opportunity to have a big lead in, I am still dumbfounded by the overtime loss. The chances were all there but the (successful) shots were not. Wait, didn’t that just happen not long ago? Anyways, since it is the morning after, here are 3 observations about the 1 point that the Chicago Blackhawks squandered vs. the Calgary Flames.
JONAS HILLER REDEEMED HIMSELF?
I ended this with a question mark because Jonas Hiller will have to prove himself for more than one game if he wants to continue to split starts with Karri Ramo. Coming into the game vs. the Blackhawks he had a 0-2-0 record with a 3.53 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. However, it is possible his first two losses were a fluke and he just needed to get warm. Regardless, he played one heck of a game against the Chicago Blackhawks and flashed the pads like his job was on the line. During the game he was able to stop 49 of the 50 shots earning 1st star with a .980 save percentage. The Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t figure him out for some reason.
You cannot say that the opportunities were not there. Whether it was 5 on 5 hockey or the man advantage, the opportunities were plentiful. With 50 shots on goal you would think that more than 1 goal would find the back of the net. It is even harder to imagine from a team that just put up 6 goals against their last opponent, they only salvaged a score on 0.02% of their shots. Coach Quenneville had more to say than just missed opportunities. In his post-game interview he said, “Our best shots never even got to the net.” “We probably had six or seven A-plus chances (where we) didn’t even get a shot on net. We were looking for a better play, missed (the) shot, (it was) blocked, in too tight or missed the net. Those were the ones that didn’t even add up on the score sheet, but those were the quality shots we missed.” (Quote courtesy of Tracy Myers with csnchicago.com)
SPECIAL TEAMS MAN ADVANTAGE
During the Calgary Flames first 4 games they allowed 5 goals in 13 attempts which is 61.5% on the penalty kill. The Chicago Blackhawks had only scored 2 power play goals in 9 power play opportunities during their first 2 games which is 22.2%. If there was one area the Blackhawks really needed to focus on and get better coming into this game it was the special teams man advantage. This also was the perfect team to do this against but Jonas Hiller played an exceptional game not only stopping 49 of their shots, a majority of them came while the Calgary Flames were down a player. Hiller was successful allowing 0 goals on his first 6 of 7 power plays but got the last one deflected in off of Shaw from a Patrick Sharp shot.
I will definitely take the 1 point that the Blackhawks did earn though. For a while I started to wonder if they would be able to sneak one by Jonas Hiller after the first 6 man advantages were unsuccessful. The Chicago Blackhawks just need to improve in those areas if they want to be a more consistent team. Just as Coach Quenneville always preaches in interviews, consistency on both ends of the ice will give you a chance to get the puck in the back of the net and win games.
Don’t forget to check out the other writer’s articles for more great info and opinions. For more updates and conversation, follow us on Twitter @Blackhawk_Up and friend us on Facebook at Blackhawk Up.