The Chicago Blackhawks were not entering Thursday night’s game with many good thoughts, but they left the United Center flying high when Patrick Kane scored the winning goal in overtime.
Since we last saw the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, they had made some roster moves, and had Marian Hossa back in the lineup so things were looking up when the Buffalo Sabres came into town. In the end the Chicago Blackhawks skated away with a 4-3 win in overtime. Here are some thoughts about the victory from the United Center.
5. Spencer Abbott was ok.
To be honest, I thought Abbott had a couple of good shifts throughout the game, but for the most part he wasn’t noticeable and looked pretty much like Tyler Motte on offense without as much defensive skills. On his good shifts he knew to get the puck to Jonathan Toews, and by doing so almost picked up a point. I know it’s just one game, but I don’t see Abbott sticking around the rest of the season.
4. No traffic in front
The Hawks out shot the Buffalo Sabres all night long, but the only lead they ever had throughout the night was when Patrick Kane scored in overtime. The difference in the game was the Sabres were getting people in front of Corey Crawford and making the most of their opportunities while the Chicago Blackhawks were getting tons of shots on net, but it was one and done most of the night without any net front presence.
When Artem Anisimov did get in front of the net, the Hawks scored the game tying goal late in the third period. You can out shoot the team 40-20, but when the goalie can see every shot cleanly it really doesn’t matter what the Corsi advantage is on that night.
3. Duncan Keith Hits A Milestone
Keith picked up his 400th career assist which put him in elite company with the Chicago Blackhawks. He joined Doug Wilson and Pierre Pilote as the only Blackhawks defenseman in team history to hit the 400 assist milestone. Keith’s game looked much better defensively last night compared to Monday and the few games before when he was getting undressed routinely. As Keith goes, the Hawks defense goes so having #2 right is a big deal as April gets closer.
#2 Ryan Hartman Had himself a 1st Period
Hartman didn’t do much the last two periods, but he was very noticeable in the first. He made two really nice passes to set up Blackhawks chances that were not converted, but then he may have had the goal of the year so far for the Chicago Blackhawks as he tied the game up at one in the first.
Hartman was supposed to be the Andrew Shaw replacement, and even though he can disappear at times during games he’s starting to come into his own in the NHL.
1. Having Marian Hossa Back Is Huge
Marian Hossa didn’t find the score sheet on Thursday night, but having him in the lineup is a difference maker for the Hawks. He does so many things right and can still dominate shifts with puck possession that this year seems like a flashback to 5 years ago. With all the kids in the lineup, the Hawks need a healthy #81 nightly.
The Hawks needed that win after sputtering of late, what are your thoughts about the Chicago Blackhawks victory?