The Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t follow up on a success against Los Angeles, falling to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday in blowout fashion
The Chicago Blackhawks just cannot have nice things this season. Roughly 24 hours after scoring a victory over the Los Angeles Kings, the Blackhawks were booted around by the Anaheim Ducks en route to a 6-3 setback.
The Ducks are certainly on the rise after an injury-filled start to the season, but you’d be hopeful a Blackhawks team that gained some nice momentum could keep that up against Anaheim. Instead, Chicago fell behind 4-0 and never got back in the contest.
Of course, you don’t have to be hopeful of that statement I said above. You can hope they lose out to become better aligned with a high lottery draft pick later this year. To each his own.
Let’s take a look at five thoughts from the affair.
That’s a nice line
These were the only three forwards not to finish with a rating of zero or worse Sunday. All three were plus-2s on the back of two Schmaltz goals.
If I were Quenneville, I’d start playing guys like Schmaltz, DeBrincat and Hinostroza more than Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. You’re not getting anything out of playing the veterans more minutes, so far as improving playoff positioning or anything like that.
Instead, you can let these youngsters develop more chemistry and familiarity with the NHL game. It can only pay dividends for the Blackhawks in the long run.
As far as some key stats go, the Blackhawks held the advantage over the Ducks. It obviously didn’t translate to the scoreboard, but there were positives.
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First, the Blackhawks won 56 percent of their faceoffs. Only Schmaltz finished below 50 percent at the dot. Chicago also led in shots on goal, with 40 to Anaheim’s 31. While that latter statistic was no doubt benefited by the Blackhawks chasing all afternoon, it’s still a good sign for an offensively inconsistent team.
The Blackhawks were also strong at 5-on-5 possession. They outperformed Anaheim in each period, specifically the second — 61.22 percent Corsi-for to 38.78. The game total at evens was 56.78 percent for the Blackhawks. Can’t be mad about that … just the fact it didn’t lead to more goals.
Abysmal defense, goaltending
The Blackhawks are just not good at the back end of the ice. This isn’t a surprising statement to anyone who has watched the team throughout this season, but it was really pronounced in this game.
Anton Forsberg stood no chance against Anaheim’s first two goals, as the defense essentially forgot to cover key Anaheim players. Forsberg and J.F. Berube both showed bad rebound control as well at critical junctures.
Right now, Jordan Oesterle and Carl Dahlstrom look especially lost on the ice. Oesterle was a minus-4 in this game and is rarely in the correct position for play near his own net. Dahlstrom, while having a bit more of an excuse considering his youth, is arguably worse with his on-ice positioning.
The Blackhawks really need to develop some of their younger blueliners, and quickly, if they’re going to do a rebuild on the fly moving into next season.
Jonathan Toews: Pugilist
Watching Toews get into a fight is always interesting. He usually only does this when he has a major bone to pick with the opponent. Ryan Kesler seems like the kind of guy many people would want to punch.
I get concerned about Toews fighting because of his past concussion issues, but it’s not like that’s going to stop him when he feels the need to drop the gloves.
Kesler was probably surprised as anyone when Toews dropped the gloves. Kesler is known for trying to stir up trouble but not dropping the gloves nearly as often. He was dealing with surgery recovery earlier in the year, but this was just Kesler’s second scrap.
As long as no one got hurt, I guess.
The Blackhawks will host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. The Avs lost in overtime on Sunday to Nashville at sat a point out of the second wild card at the time of this post.
Boston will host Chicago on Saturday before the Bruins head to the Windy City on Sunday, and Tommy Wingels will probably net a hat trick along the way because why not. For those looking for a tank, there’s a fair enough chance the Blackhawks will lose all three of these games.