Yesterday was a loss anyway you look at it. Both the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks came into Sunday's tilt having lost 3 matchups in a row. While the Sabres would ultimately come away with a 3-2 win, it wasn't without the overwhelming (in my view) feeling that the Hawks played pretty well overall.
Petr Mrazek was beaten 1 on 1 versus a Rasmus Dahlin elite wrister in the 1st and former #1 overall pick Erik Johnson scored on an unlikely and honestly surprisingly deceptive shot between a defenders legs top shelf. Other than those two plays, you could argue this one of the best "overall" efforts by the Blackhawks over the last two seasons.
Per usual, all eyes were on Connor Bedard and overall he played OK to his standards. It was Phillipp Kurashev however that kept on his torrid pace with a multi-point effort (1G, 1A) to give him 10 points in his first 10 games this season. It has been his puck skill and hand eye coordination that has been the most impressive part of his maturation that has gotten my notice.
Talent has never been an issue for Kurashev though. I remember 2 years ago him splitting the Red Wings for this goal:
Consistency and staying healthy is going to be the key to his season for me. Will he continue to be at a point per pace? Likely not, but his ability and potential to produce at a high clip is not in question.
I thought that yesterday also showed both Wyatt Kaiser's and Isaak Phillips best efforts. Kaiser finally showed off some of his skating prowess whiel Phillips made many small plays to help get stops on the Sabres best chances. The Sabres were held to only 20 shots on goal, Kaiser and Phillips had a lot to do with this.
Taylor Hall played well from my view as well as he read passes well and had a great pace to his game for the 17 minutues he was on the ice. Despite the 0 point night, he generated many chances not registered on the stat sheet.
So while the Hawks are now firmly in 2nd worse position in the league (both in points and points %) this game against Buffalo did have alot of positive signs to hang onto for the schedule to follow. How did you think they played?