There are going to be nights when we’re painfully reminded that this Blackhawks roster doesn’t have a lot of finishers on it. And, like last Thursday at home against the Kings, this was one of those nights. In fact, the only line that generated any offense whatsoever was Jonathan Toews‘ line with Taylor Raddysh and two other wings (we’ll get to that in our takeaways).
It’s an absolute shame the Kings won this game with 1.4 seconds remaining in overtime because Petr Mrazek deserved a W.
Star 1: Petr Mrazek
The skaters in front of him did him very few favors tonight. The final five minutes of the second period were a fire drill and the Blackhawks’ inability to get the puck out of the defensive zone over most of the final 40 minutes was infuriating. But Mrazek, in his first game off IR, played huge in net and kept his team in the game. Mrazek stopped 31 of 33 on the night.
Star 2: Jonathan Toews
It’s really hard to not have 19 at No. 1 tonight. Last week when the Kings were in Chicago, Toews won 3 of 16 faceoffs in regulation. He won the opening faceoff to start the game and went on to win six of seven in the first period and added the primary assist on Raddysh’s power play goal. Luke Richardson kept sending Toews out there and he kept winnings faceoffs at a ridiculous rate; he won 17 of 20 (85%) in regulation and his only faceoff in overtime.
Star 3: the Dads
- The HOLY $#!T moment in the game came late in the second period when the Blackhawks simply could not clear their zone except icing the puck. Alec Regula was on the ice for the final 4:10 of the period (!!!) and Caleb Jones was out there almost as long. Mrazek — who, remember, just came back from a groin injury tonight — was all over the place desperately trying to keep the puck out of the net.
- After practice earlier this week, Luke Richardson mentioned he might look at getting Philipp Kurashev some run with Patrick Kane. He made that move to start the third period, swapping Kurashev with Andreas Athanasiou. AA didn’t do much to help Toews and Raddysh. The top line, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going the entire night.
- Caleb Jones was terrible tonight. Just bad. Reaching a lot, he got beat by Phillip Danault on LA’s power play goal and he took a bad penalty in the third period way too soon after his teammates had just killed off another one. Games like this from Caleb are why the Blackhawks need Seth Jones back soon — and why a healthy, ready to contribute Ian Mitchell would be really nice.
- I cannot stress enough how impressive Mrazek was in his first game off IR tonight. A really special performance.