Instead of Chicago Blackhawks morning links today, we’re going to look at some positives and negatives from Sunday’s loss
After Friday’s Chicago Blackhawks defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals, I posted a morning links to help everyone try to quickly move on from a blowout loss that had little redeemable value on its face.
But today, not long after a Blackhawks loss to the Minnesota Wild, we’re going to take a look at three positives and three negatives from the game. It was just a 3-2 loss this time, but a loss in which the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead and also the first game of the season between these teams.
It seems like there was a fair amount to unpackage from this game, what with the Blackhawks rolling a pretty … unique lineup. So let’s get started.
Positive: This is not a lineup the Blackhawks will use in crunch time
Eleven forwards and seven defensemen is typically not a good look. But when Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins can’t buy a point, you do what you feel you have to do if you’re coach Joel Quenneville.
It didn’t amount to a whole lot, as Brian Campbell was more or less a healthy scratch on skates with nine minutes played. But what this really means is the Blackhawks were close to winning a game against what appears to be a good team with a heavily flawed lineup.
The Blackhawks are not rolling 11 forwards and seven defensemen when the regular season is winding down, or when the postseason has begun. AKA, when they typically fully show up for games. And they nearly beat the red-hot Wild.
Some of this has to do with getting last change, and while the Blackhawks outshot the Wild 35-32, Patrick Kane had 12 shots by himself. I’m still calling this a positive though, because the Blackhawks can say they had a shot against Minnesota using a lineup inferior in many ways.
Negative: Crow isn’t in stop-all mode
Corey Crawford at the outset of this season was stopping everything that wasn’t a shot on the penalty kill. His 5-on-5 save percentage was hovering around .950 for some time.
But of late, it seems Crow can’t find some of these clutch saves. He managed a .906 save percentage Sunday, and that’s just not going to work against a team that’s rolling like the Wild.
The Blackhawks defense is also showing it isn’t quite all there, bringing back some terrors from last season. And when mistakes are made in that regard, the goaltender is required to back things up. Crow has often been able to do so. Not the case in some instances of late.
By no means does this mean Crow should be benched. He’s still one of the league’s best goaltenders. But the Blackhawks could really use him in peak form moving forward. Of course, they could also use improved play in front of him, but one of those things involves a single guy, and the other involves 18 guys.
(Still, don’t be surprised if Scott Darling gets the call Tuesday. He’s been great, too, this season, and the Colorado Avalanche are just awful.)