The Blackhawks had a great game in many departments. They had a great penalty kill, dominated the shots on goal category, and had a handful of takeaways. But the one area the Hawks were clobbered at was faceoffs. In fact, they were pretty terrible, winning only 29.2% of the faceoffs they took. More specifically, Nick Schmaltz only won 8.3% of his faceoffs. That’s not good. He had a great game everywhere else besides that one category. Only one forward won at least half of his faceoffs, and that was Marcus Kruger, who was invisible on the ice.
With the absence of Artem Anisimov, the Blackhawks need to find a way to win more faceoffs. They’re not to most important statistic, but when it comes to certain situations (i.e. defensive or offensive zone faceoff with less than a minute left), they matter the most. If Nick Schmaltz is going to be the second-line center, he needs to work on winning faceoff battles. And even though we know how good Toews is at them, he needs to be more dominant in this category, as well. All in all, every forward that steps up to the dot needs to step it up.
Play with Some Hart, Man
If there was an award for Best Player of the Game, Ryan Hartman would’ve won it in this one. The guy never stopped throughout his 13:26 of ice time. He had a team-high six shots on a goal, as well as the fantastic overtime winner. He was buzzing like no one else was. Just like Hayden, Hartman was constantly noticeable on the ice. He created an abundance of scoring chances, including one with Marcus Kruger towards the end of the game.
On top of the scoring chances, Hartman has been outstanding defensively. His back-check, more specifically, has been mighty impressive. You can say that Ryan Hartman has been playing with a lot of heart lately.
The Blackhawks head back home to the United Center to take on the free-falling Avalanche Sunday night. Colorado has gone 3-7-0 in their last ten games, and got demolished by the Red Wings 5-1 on Saturday. This should be a no-brainer of a win for the Hawks, but you never know what’s going to happen in the National Hockey League.