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OT Loss in Toronto

October 10, 2017, 8:53 AM ET [686 Comments]
John Jaeckel
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Just as you can't get too high over two lopsided home wins over teams both on the latter side of back to backs, you can't get too low over an OT loss to a good team on the road—even when you blew a game you probably should have won.

Each game of an 82-game season for a competitive team is a snapshot.

If you're bad team, then a majority of your games are going to be bad—and the season is more like a long, dreary movie, or reading the same bad book over and over again.

Last night's snapshot revealed a few things—good and bad about this team—some may be temporary, some may be longer term issues.

1) Anton Forsberg appears to be the real deal

I had the opportunity to see Forsberg play a bit before he came to Chicago, and I thought he would be key to the Hawks' "winning" the Saad-Panarin trade (assuming the marquee players in the deal were essentially a push). Forsberg was the "hard luck loser" last night, but he has shown he is potentially a more than adequate backup to Corey Crawford.

2) Faceoffs are still a big issue for this team

As a team, the Hawks were dominated in the dot by Toronto, and their best faceoff man, Jonathan Toews, was repeatedly thrown out of faceoffs for violating the newly enforced setup rule.

Last night anyway, Tanner Kero, the "replacement for Marcus Kruger," played over 4 minutes on the penalty kill and was 37% overall on faceoffs.

Anyone who thinks the the return of Nick Schmaltz (because he went 20-21 in the preseason on draws and that's "awesome!") will solve this problem, I have a bridge you might be interested in purchasing.

3) There was nothing left in the tank in OT

The Hawks simply couldn't keep up with the younger Leafs in the extra frame. Patrick Kane appeared to be the only Hawk playing hard up and down the ice in OT.

Is this a function of travel, of age, of less than ideal personnel decisions on the 3-man OT rotations? More will be revealed.

4) The defense is neither great, nor terrible

Teams with the firepower of the Maple Leafs are going to expose your weak points. And most teams, and some years all teams, have them. The Hawks gave up a lot of shots last night—Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Michal Kempny and Connor Murphy were all way underwater on possession last night.

Still, it could have been worse, were it not for Forsberg, and Jan Rutta continues to impress. Gustav Forsling was even on possession last night.

But part of the issue here may be that the Kane line was at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in possession, with Kane, Artem Anisimov, and Ryan Hartman all under 20% in Corsi For.

That line may benefit immensely from the return of Schmaltz, as it ground to a halt last night.

The more time you spend in the opponent's end, directing shots on their net, the less time they spend in yours.

The Hawks need to be ready tonight, as they drop the puck in Montreal tonight just after 7:30 Eastern.

Chateuguay, QC native Corey Crawford goes in the net for Chicago. Carey Price for the Habs.

I'll recap tomorrow.
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