Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ 5 Thoughts From Win Over Pittsburgh Penguins

By Colin Likas
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) after tallying a hat trick during the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) after tallying a hat trick during the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
3 of 3
chicago blackhawks
Feb 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Chicago won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Anisimov’s injury a concern

Is this is a Niklas Hjalmarsson redux? Anisimov missed Tuesday’s practice, suited up for Wednesday’s game and left early with an injury. Sounds like exactly what happened with Hjammer last week.

Anisimov appeared to be favoring one of his legs early in the second period and never returned to the game. Coach Joel Quenneville said after the game Anisimov may miss some time due to a lower-body injury.

Last night, that left Schmaltz to pull double duty by centering the second line. It’s unlikely that will continue moving forward, as Schmaltz has been working wonders on the first line.

Live Feed

Da Windy City

  • Chicago Blackhawks: DeBrincat and Kane are magical in OT Da Windy City
  • 2 new Chicago Blackhawks players to be thankful for in 2021 Da Windy City
  • Chicago Blackhawks: Calgary was a tough way to end the trip Da Windy City
  • Chicago Blackhawks: 1 player to keep an eye on in Calgary Da Windy City
  • Chicago Blackhawks: Marc-Andre Fleury saves the day in win Da Windy City
  • Marcus Kruger or Tanner Kero would be the immediate replacement options, and Dennis Rasmussen could easily slot in at center on one of the bottom-six lines. This also means Andrew Desjardins or Jordin Tootoo could slot in, although I think we’d all prefer Vinnie Hinostroza to return from Rockford and one of those two guys to get sent to waivers.

    The Michal Rozsival situation

    So Rozsival looked terrible Wednesday. He turned the puck over multiple times in his own zone, overcommitted along the boards to help Pittsburgh to its lone goal and just couldn’t beat anyone to the puck or in board battles.

    Here’s the thing, though. Even when Johnny Oduya is ready to go Friday against the Islanders (and it sounds like he will be), Rozsival still may need to be in the lineup.

    The 38-year-old needs to play in two more games this season to be eligible for the expansion draft this summer. The Blackhawks really need all the warm bodies they can get for that process to avoid the likes of Kruger and Ryan Hartman hitting the block.

    So, sadly, that’s going to mean two more games of Rozsival somewhere along the rest of the regular season. But after those two games come and go, Rozsival should not be suiting up the rest of the way. Or the Blackhawks can throw him out against the league’s best and see how that goes.

    Blackhawks still struggle with speed

    In the past, the Chicago Blackhawks were the team rolling over opponents with speed. That isn’t so much the case anymore, except in specific spots. The Penguins, meanwhile, have to be among the league’s quickest groups, if not the quickest.

    Pittsburgh ran circles around Chicago through the evening by simply being the faster team. The Blackhawks actually tried to run with the Pens from the start, and this led to reasonable success. The Blackhawks tied the possession battle at even strength through 20 minutes.

    But the Pens just kept on coming, and it resulted in advantages of 55.74-44.26 and 60-40 in 5-on-5 possession the rest of the way. The Blackhawks survived their dance with the speed devil this time, but it’s still a dangerous game to play.

    Next: Blackhawks Climb In Trade Deadline Power Rankings

    The Blackhawks need to go to school on this game film come playoff time. There will be plenty of quick teams to contend with — Minnesota, Edmonton, most of the Metropolitan Division — on the road to the Stanley Cup, and the Blackhawks must continue to find ways to negate that speed element.

    facebooktwitterreddit