Chicago Blackhawks: Five Thoughts On Overtime Win Over Leafs

By Juliana Nikac
Mar 18, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk (25) cannot convert on a scoring opportunity in front of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) at Air Canada Centre. The Blackhawks beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk (25) cannot convert on a scoring opportunity in front of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) at Air Canada Centre. The Blackhawks beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 18, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Nikita Soshnikov (26) falls as he is hit by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) at Air Canada Centre. The Blackhawks beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Nikita Soshnikov (26) falls as he is hit by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) at Air Canada Centre. The Blackhawks beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Shot Blocks and Defense and Penalty Killing, Oh My!

There was only one penalty kill in the game, and of course it was on the Blackhawks. But the penalty killers did a fantastic job of getting in the lanes of passes, blocking shots, and finding ways to get the puck out of the offensive zone. If you forget the first 30 games of the season. The Blackhawks have killed over 82 percent of their penalties. That would put them in the top 15 in penalty killing in the league, which is good. Johnny Oduya and Trevor van Riemsdyk led all skaters with five blocked shots. Brian Campbell had two.

With the exception of the Auston Matthews goal in the first period, the Blackhawks shut down the Leafs for the majority of the game. There were a couple of fantastic plays from Duncan Keith (who else), one specifically on Matthews in the offensive zone. Niklas Hjalmarsson played like a he was a brick wall, because isn’t he one?

On top of that, there was some serious puck movement from the defense throughout the game. Combined, all six defenseman had 10 shots on goal, with van Riemsdyk taking three of them. Brent Seabrook had an assist in the game. If the Blackhawks want to continue their dominant play, their defense has to get involved in every single way possible. Whether it’s taking shots, blocking shots, or getting in front of the net like Hammer did in overtime, these six guys have to contribute.

Hey There, Hayden

After logging only 8 minutes and 44 seconds of ice time in his first game in The Show, John Hayden had a little bit of energy in this game. Actually, a lot of energy. Not only did he play 15 minutes and 29 seconds, Hayden four shots, seven (!) hits, and…wait for it…his first NHL goal! And it was a beauty. Although his bucket wasn’t fitting right on his head, he’s slotting in perfectly on the left side of Jonathan Toews. There were three opportunities for Hayden to score before he actually did. In every situation, it was a Toews pass that ended up on his stick.

The rookie was all over the ice throughout the game. He didn’t have an impressive debut, but he played exceptionally in his second-career NHL appearance. It was always evident when Hayden was on the ice, and not just because he was with Toews. He played like he wanted to score a goal, like he needed to score a goal. And that’s just what he did.

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