This week the Chicago Blackhawks played the LA Kings, the Washington Capitals, and the Buffalo Sabres. These three teams will for quite the intriguing week, as they all play with different styles. The Kings are all-around a good team with some of the best offense and goaltending in the league while the Capitals are all about their offense and the Sabres have big players but spend most of their time in their own zone.
First up was Los Angeles and Chicago played well against them. They really began to control the offense near the end of the first and kept it up throughout the game. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, the Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick was on the top of his game making saves that were unbelievable. He stretched and contorted his body stopping every single shot on goal. One of Chicago’s all-star players, Patrick Kane, made an excellent play by keeping up the hustle; he passed to Nick Schmaltz who missed the wide open space in the net. Usually these shots would have gone in against any other goalie, but not Quick. Jonathan Quick’s record this season is 12-7-1, an impressive record, but, Anton Forsberg showed that Quick isn’t the only one who can make unthinkable saves, and made a couple in a row. Unfortunately this meant the Blackhawks were losing their offensive momentum. With just ten minutes left in the game the scoring started with a goal for the Kings. Chicago pulled their goalie to get an extra man to tie the close game, but Dustin Brown scored an empty-netter from centre ice, and that was the game-ender for the Blackhawks. Eventually the Blackhawks got one goal but it wasn’t enough. The Kings ended up winning three to one–not an ideal start to the week for Chicago.
Chicago played against the Washington Capitals, on a Wednesday night rivalry. Two teams with star players went head-to-head. The Capitals had won nine of their last eleven games, hoping to continue that blistering hot streak against the Blackhawks. The Capitals lead the game scoring three goals within four minutes against goaltender Anton Forsberg. After that Forsberg got the yank and Berube went in. At the end of the first there were four goals scored, the Caps leading 3-1. By the third period the score was four to one, and it was looking like the Blackhawks wanted to go home, but Washington was relentless, scoring two more, and giving up one juicy breakaway to Jonathan Toews. The final score was a whopping six to two and the Capitals had now won ten of their last twelve games.
Finally, after not winning a game in over a week and a half, it was the Blackhawks time to shine. They were playing the Buffalo Sabres, who had only won a total of seven games this season, so the Hawks used that to their advantage on home ice. This game was a little bit slow but fortunately for the Blackhawks they were getting lots of shots out of it. Little scoring happened throughout the game but by the end the Blackhawks tied it up two to two. Overtime came with a huge opportunity for the Sabres. It was a penalty shot for Jack Eichel–his first ever NHL penalty shot. He came in fast but slowed down near the net and went for a slick five-hole goal, but Crawford was ready for it and squeezed the pads to stop the shot. With a few seconds left in OT Chicago set up in the zone, and Forsling slung it in from the blue line right between the pads of Robin Lehner, ending Chicago’s slump.
The ‘Hawks were happy at the end of the week and will definitely try to improve their game. The team is lucky to have all-star players like Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane, along with others, and new faces that are making their names go viral across the NHL, like Brandon Saad.