As the numbers bore out, the Blackhawks dominated in possession, shot attempts, and related stats yet couldn't solve James Reimer as he backstopped the Sharks to a 2-0 shutout. Birthday boy Marc-Andre Fleury was sharp in net for Chicago but didn't get any goal support.
NBC Sports Chicago has an excellent recap of stats
that perfectly summarizes how the game went for the Hawks. The following are 4 of Charlie Roumeliotis' 10 game observations which is a regular feature in his post-game reports:
1. The Blackhawks were very clearly the better team in the first and third periods, where they outshot the Sharks by a combined 20-7. The difference was the second period, where the Sharks led in shots on goal (15-8) and scoring chances (15-9), according to Natural Stat Trick.
2. The Blackhawks recorded a season-high 76 shot attempts. The Sharks blocked 32 of those shots, James Reimer stopped all 29 shots he faced and the other 15 attempts missed the net. In comparison, the Sharks had 49 shot attempts and 22 shots on goal.
3. The offensive struggles continued for the Blackhawks, who also went 0-for-2 on the power play. But it wasn't for a lack of effort. They generated nine shot attempts, five shots on goal, three scoring chances and two high-danger chances on their two opportunities. At some point they have to break through again.
5. The first line of Brandon Hagel, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews did everything but score. When the three of them were on the ice together at even strength, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (18-7), shots on goal (7-2), scoring chances (8-4) and high-danger chances (3-1).
Blackhawks Game Summary
Hagel - Toews - Kane
DeBrincat - Dach - Kurashev
Kubalik - Borgstrom - Khaira
Hardman - R Johnson - Carpenter
de Haan - S Jones
McCabe - Murphy
Gustafsson - C Jones
1st Goal (0-1): Meier (Balcers, Couture)
2nd Goal (0-2): Meier (Couture) EN
SOG For/Against: 29/22
Faceoffs Won: 47%
* Fleury's reflexes were well oiled last night as he was flashing the pads and the glove to make several outstanding saves.
* Jake McCabe continues his season upswing with yet another solid defensive effort as he and Connor Murphy are solidifying what management was hoping for in them as the team's shutdown D pair.
* Seth Jones again shows that he's either really good or really bad especially defending the rush; he either gets beat cleanly or he stonewalls the puck carrier and there's rarely any in between.
Breakdown of a Failed 2-on-1
Bail Out by Jake McCabe
IceHogs Game Summary
Altybarmakian - Reichel - Nylander
Busdeker - McLaughlin - Teply
Barratt - Slavin - Gicewicz
Howarth - G Mitchell - Osipov
Galvas - Beaudin
Stanton - Regula
Phillips - I Mitchell
1st Goal (0-1): Luff (Knott)
2nd Goal (1-1): Howarth (Phillips, I Mitchell)
3rd Goal (2-1): Nylander (McLaughlin, Regula) PP
SOG For/Against: 21/37
* Lukas Reichel took a hard hit into the boards in the 3rd period and didn't return; his status is uncertain moving forward but it appears to be an upper-body injury, potentially impact to his head.
* Kale Howarth recorded his first career AHL goal using his huge frame to screen the goalie and get a tip in front; he also logged his first fight, too.
* After scoring what was ultimately the GWG, Alex Nylander now has 6 goals so far and is on pace for 32 across a full season, albeit in the AHL; he's also performing at a 0.50 PPG pace with much improved hustle and backchecking.
* On the power play, Nylander seems to be miscast in the bumper role which isn't suitable for his skills as he doesn't pop in and out quickly enough to receive feeds and rattle them off in short order; instead, he should be a triggerman from the point or boards.
* After letting in the first shot he faced on the afternoon, Arvid Soderblom was lights out the rest of the way making 36 saves.
Scouts Out & About
Read into this what you will and guess who the Blackhawks scout may be keeping tabs on at the Canucks-Bruins game last night.
Hockey Fights Cancer
See you on the boards!