After winning 4 in a row at home, the Blackhawks traveled D.C. to be shutout 6-0 by the Capitals. I’m betting that Iron Maiden’s, “The Wickerman” (Capitals Goal Anthem) will be playing in Corey Crawford head for a while after last night’s bloodbath. The Blackhawks are now 10-9-1 on the road. After a solid stretch of home games, things were looking great for the Hawks. They were playing fantastic! shooting the puck, creating opportunities, but after last night it seems like they forgot how to do all of that. They looked like a hyper dog chasing around a toy in which they were never gonna get. EVERY member of the Hawks lineup managed to have a negative plus/minus tonight. To the Hawks defense, the Capitals are one of the hottest teams in Hockey right now. The Caps have now won 8 in a row with 3 of those wins being shutouts. They have also managed to average a 2 GAA on the season, which is unbelievable. Alright, let’s relive this nightmare in a game breakdown.
The first period was all Capitals. Putting up 14 shots on net the puck was entirely in the Hawks defensive zone. Crawford managed to make a few spectacular saves, but his lights out goaltending was bound to break. Finally, at 6:04, Jay Beagle puts up the Capitals 1st goal of the game (No Sauce). Beagle was passed the puck in the slot to which he put a wrister five-hole to get past Crawford. Then, 13 seconds later, Niklas Backstrom puts the Capitals up 2-0 off of a perfect set up by T.J. Oshie. This goal was set up directly following the faceoff. The Hawks were caught sulking after the first goal and were out skated to let up the second. This goal set the tone for the game. The Blackhawks from there on out seemed to be mentally dead. With 2:11 left in the 3rd, The Capitals struck again with Brett Connolly scoring his 6th goal of the season. Lars Eller puts a shot on net right in front of Crawford, the puck deflects off of a Blackhawks defenseman and goes right to the stick of Connolly. Seconds before the play, Crawford stepped out of the net to try and play the puck even though there was already a lot of offensive pressure by the Capitals. My issue with this play is Crawford stepping out of the crease. Yeah, I understand that in some situations that goalies will step out to stop a puck that was dumped in, but this was unnecessary. Multiple times this season, Crawford has gotten lucky stepping out of the crease to play a puck in which the puck gets turned over and Crawford has to make a diving play in front of the net. This time, though, he moves out and casually skates back to the crease taking him out of the ready position. I personally do not like this. I think Crawford needs to be a little more conservative when playing the puck. I understand that this time there happened to be a lucky deflection, but Crawford should not have stepped out of net. The first period comes to a close, Capitals up 3-0 outshooting the Blackhawks 14-5.
The Blackhawks actually managed to show up a little bit for the beginning of the second. They managed to put up 10 shots on net in the first ten minutes of the period compared to the Cap’s 3. 6:32 into the second, Hinostroza managed to put a rebounded goal past Holtby. Unfortunately, after a closer look, Marian Hossa was called for interfering with Holtby causing it to be overturned. The shimmering light of hope for the Hawks was blown out and the Capitals went back on the attack. The Capitals managed to let the Hawks have only 3 shots on net the rest of the period. After a boat load of offensive pressure, Capital’s Tom Wilson, WHO HASN’T SCORED SINCE DECEMBER 11th, puts one past Crawford after an unbelievable pass by Nate Schmidt with 3 minutes to go in the second. The Second Period comes to a close with a score of 4-0. Blackhawks managed to out shoot the capitals 12-10.
Alright, at this point most Hawks fans probably had turned off the game to stop watching this embarrassment. The Capitals didn’t seem to care, though, curb-stomping our last glimpse of hope out of us. The Capitals saw this period as the icing on the cake, while the good guys saw it as the last nail in the coffin. 8:11 into the third T.J. Oshie gets the capitals 5th goal of the game after deflecting a shot off of Hjalmarsson’s glove. I think what happened in this play was the Hjalmarsson was probably thinking that Crawford probably wouldn’t have made the save if it was shot at him so he thought he had to take measures into his own hands (literally). Quenneville takes Crawford out of the net and replaces him with Darling. Thinking the game was pretty much over, the Capitals said, “ehh, why not another?” With 1:32 left in the game, Jay Beagle scored his 2nd of the night after a rebound from the point. I honestly kind of laughed when they scored the 6th goal. This was because when the Capitals were celebrating their facial expressions were basically saying, “Alright, I’m bored. This game just needs to end.” The final period comes to a close with a score of 6-0. The Capitals outshot the Hawks 34-24. Let’s take our walk of shame to Hans’ Skate Shop for some insights & highlights on the game.
Hans’ Skate Shop of Insights and Highlights
This loss was pretty demoralizing for the Blackhawks, especially for Crawford. There is no doubt in my mind Darling will be in net for the Hawks next game. Letting up 5 goals with a .833 save percentage, this was easily Crawfords worst outing of the season. Besides the glimpse of hope from Hinostroza’s overturned goal, the Blackhawks had very little offensive opportunities. These opportunities mainly came through the beginning of the 2nd period. I think what really screwed the Hawks was that they were outhustled the entire game. The Capitals beat them to every loose puck and forced an enormous amount of turnovers. The Capitals came out firing and the Hawks were caught on their heels. If the Blackhawks want to be contenders with top teams, they need to be the team that applies the pressure. The Blackhawk’s face the Minnesota Wild next on Sunday Night. This is a must win for the Hawks because the Wild now have a shot at sharing the Hawk’s lead in the central division.
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