Wild prevail 2-1 over Hawks in Shootout
In a game that saw the return of Duncan Keith, which also saw a much tighter defensive effort yet the Blackhawks lose this game in the last four minutes of the game. The bigger picture and more importantly was that the fourth seeding in the Western Conference and home ice advantage in the playoffs was at stake.
Not making an excuse but the Hawks lineup was fairly depleted with Toews, Montador, Lepisto, Bolland and Brunette all out of the line-up. This impacted the lines on the ice and the match ups coach Q could employ.
The Blackhawks with only gaining one point and Nashville defeating Dallas can not capture the 4th seed and home ice in the first round. They can only get as high as 5th seed since Detroit lost to the New Jersey Devils. The matchup on Saturday will determine which team will face Nashville and which one will face the winner of the Pacific division.
The Hawks lone goal came from the fourth line when Michael Frolik set up Jamal Mayers in the first period for a 1-0 score. The game stayed this way all the way until 16:48 of the third when the Wild scored on a power play when a blast from the point bounced off of Clutterbuck. Into OT and eventually a shoot out we went. In keeping with the entire year the shoot out did not treat the Hawks well. The lone goal was from Devin Setoguchi to ice the game at 2-1. Setoguchi clinched the game the other night vs the Wild in a shoot out as well.
v The Hawks special teams let them down again. They went 0-4 on the power play and let the Wild score on their power play. I sound like a broken record but the Blackhawks must fix this before the playoffs or I guarantee it will come back to haunt them. Their special teams have cost them games against teams that are not playoff teams can you imagine against playoff teams.
v The Hawks have a tendency to not finish. They let the Wild back in this one. They always allow the opposition to score in the final minutes of periods and at the end of games. This is a tendency that needs to be broken.
v The Hawks did play a much better defensive game and their positioning and back checking was solid which will need to continue in the playoffs.
v Corey Crawford played a solid game and was four minutes away from a shut out. He should do well in the playoffs if he continues with this solid play.
This game was determined again by the lack of punch on the Hawks power play. The Hawks need to try a different approach and move more in the offensive zone if they can get in. The entry is bad and they will have some time to keep working on this before Detroit and then again in Detroit.
The Saturday National Broadcast game in Detroit is shaping up to be a huge game as it will determine who both teams play in the first round of the playoffs. The only thing we know for certain is the Blackhawks will not face Detroit in the first round of the playoffs. This may be the last time this year the Hawks will face the Red Wings. Then again for NHL and hockey fans I hope it is not.
Three stars of the game – 1) Scandella 2) Clutterbuck 3) Harding
The Hawks play the Red Wings in Detroit which can be caught on NBC or WGN Radio 720. Start time is at 12:00 pm CT
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