Prior to Wednesday night’s game, the Chicago Blackhawks were under .500 at home (13-14-3). Wednesday night was a great win for Anton Forsberg. I repeat, it was a great win for Anton Forsberg. He made quality saves and often stopped the Senators forwards in their tracks.
With the exception of Patrick Kane, who had two amazing points tonight, the rest of the Hawks just looked off. The offense, despite putting 38 shots on net, was unable to keep a sustained possession in their offensive zone and struggled to create scoring chances.
The defense was equally bad, if not worse. They let up countless scoring opportunities on net, allowed two breakaways in regulation, and were saved by the post twice. They looked slow and lethargic most of the night.
This could be a result of the Hawks defense being full of veterans who have shown their first signs of aging. It could also be a result of a team which is starting to give up on making the playoffs.
Regardless, the Hawks need a new identity. Thankfully, the trade deadline could help with that.
At the trade deadline, I hope to see them become sellers in order to swap out some slow vets for either draft picks (they have seven picks in the upcoming draft) or some young talent. That’s why I really liked the move from Stan Bowman swapping Michal Kempny for a third-round pick from the Capitals.
Read more about that move in this article by Nick Petrusevski. Let’s get into the game.
Once again, the Blackhawks started off the scoring after Vinnie Hinostroza skated down the left boards and left a pass for Patrick Kane, which he trickled past Senator goaltender Mike Condon for his 23rd goal of the season.
Almost two minutes later, the game continued like it usually does for the Blackhawks: they gave up their early lead. Derick Brassard threw a shot to the net, deflecting off of goalie Anton Forsberg right to the stick of Zack Smith who capitalized on the empty net in front of him, making it a 1-1 game.
Midway through the second period, Kane made one of the best assists he has ever made in his career. And this coming from one of the flashiest players in NHL history. Kane was putting dribble moves on Mike Hoffman and saucered the puck away from his body, through five Ottawa Senators to an open Artem Anisimov who simply tapped the puck into the net, to regain the lead.
Once again, the Ottawa tied the game again after Matt Duchene sniped a laser top-shelf past Forsberg from the slot for his 16th goal of the season.
Although the Blackhawks were filled with energy in the third period, their defense still suffered. Forsberg made two stops on the Senators where it was just him and a Sens forward and kept the game tied through the third period.
Coach Joel Quenneville praised Forsberg for his performance against the Senators
“[Forsberg] made some big saves for us as the game got deeper and our third was okay, I thought our first two were way better.”
In overtime, the Senators really controlled the tempo, and had the most scoring chances, being singlehandedly denied by the iron twice. Once again, Forsberg was strong and let no goals in.
On the Hawks overtime play and shootouts in general, Coach Q explained why he doesn’t get too excited.
“I don’t get excited about them. They’re OK. I don’t mind watching them in other games. But our games, I’d like to be better in overtime, though. That’s a thing we can be better at.”
In the shootout, which lasted seven full rounds, Nick Schmaltz scored the winner for the Hawks, leading them to a rare win at home.