Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Blackhawks [Print without images]

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Hawks rewind: Observations from Game 3

By Scott Powers

Crawford
Corey Crawford has played better than his save percentage would indicate.


Here are three observations from the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues after reviewing Wednesday’s game the morning after:

1. Corey Crawford wasn’t to blame for Wednesday’s late goal and is having a solid season so far despite his numbers. Crawford is 1-1-1 with a 2.93 goal-against average and .890 save percentage. On the surface, those numbers aren’t great. But of the nine goals Crawford has allowed this season, five of them have come on the power play, two have occurred on 2-on-1 rushes, one on a 3-on-1 rush and one came on a rebound. Crawford said he should have stopped the game-winner on Tuesday, but it’s hard to blame him considering it was scored on a massive slap shot from the left circle and on a 3-on-1 rush. Crawford has stopped 60 of 64 even-strength shots on goal and 12 of 17 power-play shots on goal. The fault with Wednesday’s late goal should go to Brent Seabrook who was too far into the offensive zone for that late in the game.

2. The Blackhawks’ second line had its best game of the season. The line of Marian Hossa, Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp provided the Blackhawks with a number of quality chances throughout Wednesday’s game. Each player had at least one premium chance of scoring. The trio wasn’t able to capitalize, but it’s a good sign the opportunities are coming. The Blackhawks need some production out of that line.

3. The Blackhawks were better on the penalty kill as the game progressed on Wednesday. Hossa, Marcus Kruger and Jonathan Toews were more aggressive on the penalty kill later in the game and were able to get the puck away from the Blues, which led to two consecutive penalty kills. Joel Quenneville also seems more confident with Handzus rather than Joakim Norstrom alongside Kruger at this point. Nordstrom spent five seconds on the penalty kill against the Blues, and Handzus had 2:02 of ice time. The Blackhawks' PK is still a work in progress, but they seem to know where the problems are.