Before anyone accuses me of it, I am not blaming Antti Niemi for last
night’s loss by the Blackhawks. In fact, I thought he played reasonably
well, and he certainly gave his team a good chance to win. No, this is
more about the Blackhawks as a team and how after one bad goal they let
the game get completely away from them.
At the time of the game-tying goal by J.P. Dumont in the early
minutes of the third period, the Blackhawks has been in control of the
game for most of the preceding 40 minutes. Then….
At that point in the game, the Chicago Blackhawks had 22 shots on net
compared to just 13 for the Predators. It’s a perfect of example of how
tremendous goaltending on end of the ice can turn the tables in a game,
especially when there’s a fluke, soft goal allowed on the other side.
this isn’t just about the one bad goal. What happened after the goal is
the story of the game, as the life was sucked out of the home crowd and
the Blackhawks themselves, who managed just four shots on net the rest
of the game. The Predators would take control in the third period after
Dumont’s goal, taking 13 shots and scoring three goals (two
The Blackhawks cannot allow one bad goal to affect
their performance in a game, especially if they have hopes of heading
to the Stanley Cup finals and especially if they’ll be riding with Antti
Niemi along the way. Perhaps it was just too deflating to have worked so
hard against a spectacular effort by Pekka Rinne, only to have the game
turnaround on one backhanded flutter puck.
Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.