The Chicago Blackhawks had a new man protecting the net tonight as they battled the Arizona Coyotes. Corey Crawford made his season debut tonight after missing most of last season due to an injury.
In the first period, the Hawks’ controlled the puck for the majority of the 20 minutes, but let up a goal to Arizona’s Lawson Crouse about halfway through the period, his first of the season. Don’t pin that one on Crawford alone though, the defense has been a problem to start off the season and this goal was no different.
Defensively The Hawks’ let up far too many breakaway attempts and often were left defending a two on one. This is nothing new this season, and we should get used to seeing it because there was virtually visible improvement from the last game.
Erik Gustafsson scored the Blackhawk’s lone goal in the second period, his first on the season. Assisted by Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat, who extend their point streak to six games. Toews continues his hot start with his fifth assist in five games. Also tallying a goal in the second period was former Blackhawk Vinnie Hinostroza putting Arizona up two to one.
The powerplay has been excruciatingly bad to start the season and I think its time to address it. My theory is that the awful defense being played is the cause. Whether it’s the defensemen not being able to hold the puck in the offensive zone, or the fact that they just look flat out sluggish. There needs to be major improvement throughout the season if the Hawks’ want to forget the struggles of last season and get into the playoffs.
14 minutes into the third period, Clayton Keller of Arizona, pushed the Coyotes lead to three to one on a wrist shot coming from directly in front of the net. Which ultimately sucked the life out of the Hawks’. A few minutes later Coach Joel Quenneville pulled Crawford to add a sixth attacker to possibly slip in a goal.
Unfortunately, quite the opposite happened. Vinnie Hinostroza scored on the empty-net for his second of the night to make it 4-1. After that incident, Crawford came back out to signify the end of the game.
In my opinion, Crawford played exceptionally well for not playing most of last season. The three goals he was on the ice for should really not be looked at as goals he let up, but rather counted against the defensemen.
With that being said Crawford let up three goals on 30 shots which gave him a .900 save percentage. The Hawks’ fall to 3-1-2 which gives them a total of eight points. This leaves them sitting in forth place in the Central Division Behind the Predators, Avalanche, and Jets. Look for the Hawks’to make a push if they can improve on their defense and powerplay.
The Hawks’ next game comes on Saturday, October 28th when they take on the Columbus Bluejackets who also hold a record of 3-1-2. The Hawks’ Meet former ally Artemi Panarin.
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