The Chicago Blackhawks looked lethargic playing their first game back from their two game Canadian road trip falling to the Minnesota Wild 5-2 at the United Center
Well, the Blackhawks didn’t score 10 goals tonight. They actually scored just two against a Minnesota Wild team missing stars Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund. The game had a slow pace until the third period when the pressure amped up.
There was a controversial call that deemed the Wild’s go ahead goal by Chris Stewart onside. After that the sky started to fall.
This was a game Corey Crawford didn’t deserve to lose, but he did due to his team not being able to find their rhythm.
Let’s take a look at five takeaways from tonight’s game.
Quenneville Mustache Giveaway a Hit
Tonight Blackhawks fans who attended the game received a Coach Q mustache that looked to be very popular.
Crawford Continues to be ‘Hawks MVP
Corey Crawford didn’t get much help tonight through the first two periods of tonight’s game, but he continued to battle. The Wild had significantly more scoring chances than the ‘Hawks but Corey soaked up all but one Eric Staal goal through two periods.
Corey Crawford has been spectacular through the first handful of games this season and he’ll have to continue being strong with less depth on defense and an inexperienced backup goalie in Anton Forsberg.
It’s unfortunate the ‘Hawks couldn’t give more support to Corey tonight, but there are always games like these where the team struggles to get things started. Let’s hope there aren’t too many like this one against a division foe.
John Hayden Can Throw the Hands
Schmaltz’s Absence Felt
Nick Schmaltz didn’t make the two-game road trip this week when the Blackhawks traveled to Canada to take on the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. Fortunately the ‘Hawks came away with three points, but the chemistry on the 2nd line with Patrick Kane has been lacking. Artem Anisimov moved up to play with Kane and Hartman which hasn’t been fluid without the shifty Nick Schmaltz.
In tonight’s game against the Wild the same applied. Joel Quenneville tried putting Kane on the 4th line with Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma which generated a chance in the 2nd period. In the 3rd, the Blackhawks trailed 1-0 when Kane lofted a shot from the point that was redirected by Tanner Kero then put-back by Ryan Hartman.
One concern with Schmaltz playing 2nd line center this year was his ability to win faceoffs, but he has improved and taken a much more aggressive approach to his sophomore season in the NHL. Hopefully he’ll be able to go Saturday when the Blackhawks host the Predators.
NHL War Room’s Objective to Piss People Off
Which looked very similar to when this happened last year.
Overall this is one of those games that the Blackhawks will just throw in the garbage. It would’ve been nice to get points from a division opponent at home but they have another opportunity against the Preds on Saturday. We’ll hopefully have a new group of refs then, too.