5 Thoughts: Chicago Blackhawks Beat Buffalo Sabres 5-4 Via Shootout
By John Aubert
The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in a shootout, stealing two points and putting on a show for their fans during what appears to be the home stretch of a dead season.
The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t really need this win, but with it, they’re nine points out of a playoff spot. With 15 games left, it doesn’t seem apparent that they’re going to continue their push. After losing four of their last five games, they won this game to prove they can compete an entertaining hockey game.
1. Blackhawks Start Hot, But Cool Down
The Blackhawks have been mediocre in the first period over a span of five games, which they’re 1-4-0 in. In many of them, they were scored on early and were forced to fight an uphill battle.
Miraculously, the ‘Hawks were able to change the narrative and score two goals in the first period. Both Artem Anisimov and Duncan Keith lit the lamp to get the ‘Hawks up 2-0 after the first period. However, things changed in the second period.
The Chicago Blackhawks fell flat and let in three unanswered goals by the Buffalo Sabres nearly seven minutes into the second period, dumping their great first-period appearance down the drain.
However, they were able to turn the game around and come from behind, tie the game twice, and take two points from the Sabres, who are ten points out of a playoff spot.
It’s almost like they play better when chasing a lead.
2. Power Play Falls Flat When Needed
The Chicago Blackhawks power play was tamed against the Sabres fifth best penalty-killing unit, going 0 for-5 on the man advantage. The ‘Hawks have the tenth best power play percentage in the league, so you’d think this game would have some hot contention when the Blackhawks had a power play, right?
Wrong! The ‘Hawks got humiliated on the power play and even gave up the go-ahead goal, which was scored shorthanded by Zach Bogosian. Ironically, their biggest weapon was one of the reasons they lost. Who would’ve figured?
Despite that, the Blackhawks put up four goals in regulation to stop the bleeding and won in the shootout.
3. Coach Colliton Changes Lines
With the season (basically) dead, Jeremy Colliton has all the power in the world to change this lineup without costing the team any peril. Yes, fans want to watch their non-playoff team win at the end of the regular season, it’s certainly best they keep losing.
Falling 1-4-0 in their last five games, the Chicago Blackhawks playoff hopes have dropped dramatically. In response, Coach C decided to shake the lineup and see who has potential with different line-mates. This is a great move:
This isn’t permanent, that’s for sure. So don’t fear that Patrick Kane will be a third-liner for the rest of the season. As the second-best scoring winger in the NHL right now, he’ll benefit the team more hogging up the minutes in the top six.
The changes surprisingly altered the game. The first line played smart and started the momentum in the first period and the top six did their part in tying the game in the third period. But, it was third-liner Artem Anisimov who stole the show, putting up two goals in this contest.
It’s good to experiment and this is the time to do it. Players who may not be doing so well might find some momentum and that can carry confidence a long way.
4. Patrick Kane Passes Steve Larmer in All Time Franchise Points List
Patrick Kane passed Steve Larmer with an assist on Anisimov’s goal in the first period, achieving the fourth-best point total for the Chicago Blackhawks with 924 career points. With this accomplishment, he’s 172 points behind Denis Savard, who is third in ‘Hawks scoring.
It’s no doubt that Kane is going to surpass Savard within the next few seasons with ease considering how he’s been performing lately. Believe it or not, Kane is performing incredibly well at 30 years old. He might be playing the best hockey of his life right now and he’s nearly at 1,000 career points. It’ll happen in no time.
5. Losing is The New Winning
The Chicago Blackhawks are better off losing rather than winning. Yes, that game was fun and we got our money’s worth in the overtime and shootout, but let’s face the facts:
This season is dead. It was fun chasing the playoff rush and watching a competitive hockey team fight for something worthwhile, but we have to see this from a beneficial standpoint.
The Blackhawks are the seventh worst team in the NHL, which will certainly give them a decent pick at this years NHL Draft, but they’re only seven points ahead of being third worst, and nine points from being the second worst.
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Lose every game from here on. Fans wanted to lose for Jack Hughes earlier this season, how about now?