Hawks stumble in 3-2 Shootout loss

Photo by Maggie Avila

Coming into this game the Blackhawks had absolutely nothing to play for other than their pride and improving themselves and continuing a seven game winning streak. The Phoenix Coyotes on the other hand were fighting for their playoff lives and had everything to play for.

The Blackhawks have to be commended for their character and focus. Everyone knows these games mean nothing to them and are really just glorified practices since they clinched their division and conference. They still managed to gain a point and come from behind to tie the game up and push the game to overtime and eventually the shoot out.

The Blackhawks still played a solid defensive team game against a very strong defensive team. The only blip was a Radim Vrbata goal which came off of a turnover at the Hawks blueline.  You had to say that overall the Hawks outplayed the Coyotes which speaks to their character and desire to win.

This game actually played out like the Sergio Leone western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It contained a little bit of everything for the Blackhawks.

The Good – The powerplay again was able to contribute to the stat sheet. In fact all of the Blackhawk goals were scored from the powerplay by Brent Seabrook on his 28th birthday.  What a nice birthday present. Seabrook probably has the heaviest shot from the point and should take more shots when possible.

His first goal was a deflected in past goalie Mike Smith with Andrew Shaw standing in front providing a screen. Smith had no chance on the goal.

The second power play goal came in the second and tied up the game. This goal was all Seabrook using his hockey IQ to get to the open ice and Patrick Kane once again amazed the audience with a no look backhand pass finding Seabrook open in the slot. Credit Patrick Kane mesmerizing the defense and drawing multiple defenders to him to open up his defenseman to beat Smith high glove side.

The Bad – The turnover at your own blue line is definitely something that the Hawks can’t do in the playoffs, better to get all of these mental mistakes out now. Marcus Kruger was trying to get the pass back to Dave Bolland but it was a bad pass that got tied up in Bolland’s skates and went to a Coyote. The turnover allowed the Radim Vrbata goal to be scored as he walked right and put one past Crawford.

Chalk this one up to lessons learned and in the playoffs just get the puck into the opposing zone when trying to break out near your zone. Hind sight is always 20/20, better to have this happen in a game that really doesn’t count.

The Ugly – It what has to be an oops, the first Coyotes goal by Rostislav Klesla definitely qualifies. From just beyond the centerline a bouncing puck got past Crawford when it dipped. Possibly Crawford misplayed or it just dived when it got to him. The good thing about this was Crawford bounced back himself.  If football is a game of inches, hockey can be a game of bounces and the bounces just did not go the Hawks way in this game.

Tied at 2-2 the Hawks and Coyotes went to overtime which did render chances on both sides but neither capitalized and to a shoot out this affair went.

The shooters for the Hawks were Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa. Only Kane got one past Mike Smith. Hossa rang the pipe but it bounced off the post and out.

The shooters for the Coyotes were Mikkel Boedker, Radim Vrbata & David Schlemko all except Vrbata beat Crawford high to the stick side again lessons to be learned here.

Overall the Hawks have to be happy about the powerplay but need to continue to work on this. Special teams always come into play in the playoffs during one of their series. The overall team defense only had the one blip and the Hawks continue to work on their faceoffs and special teams they should be in good shape going into the playoffs.

Practice does improve you. The Hawks powerplay jumped from 20th to 16th in the NHL just over the weekend with powerplay scoring in both the Nashville and Phoenix games. Chicago’s faceoff percentage has now jumped to 10th in the league.

 Keep playing your game, stay healthy and make improvements personally. In the meantime,  we all await the second season which, promises to have just as much action and drama as a Sergio Leone western.

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GAME RECAP

 Final score: Blackhawks 2, Coyotes 3

CHI goals:  Brent Seabrook (2)

PHX goals: R. Klesla and R. Vrbata, D Schlemko (GWG) in SO

Three stars:

1)  B. Seabrook

2)  M. Smith

3)  R. Vbata

 

Losing Goalie: Corey Crawford- 2 GA Sv% .935 faced 31 shots

Winning Goalie: Mike Smith– 2 GA Sv% ..947 faced 38 shots

 

Next game: Mon 4/22 vs  Vancouver Canucks, 9:00pm CST

 

Follow our Blackhawks writers on Twitter @TCLBlackhawks; you can follow me @sportshashhash