Hockey

Possession Doesn’t Always Win Games – Blackhawks vs. Scum Series Review: Blackhawks Win Series 3-2OT/2-0

Box Scores: Game 17 | Game 18
Game Logs: Game 17 | Game 18
Natural Stat Trick: Game 17 | Game 18

The scoresheet says the Hawks won these games, sure, but it is a bit concerning that they were losing the possession battle to the league’s bottomfeeding Detroit Red Wings four out of the six periods of hockey played. Something needs to be done about that. Let’s get to the bullets.

  • It’s never good news when the Red Wings are beating you in possession, but that’s exactly what happened in the 1st and 3rd periods of both The Red Wings had all the momentum in the 1st period Monday, sporting an obscene 73 CF%. Luckily, starter Malcolm Subban was able to make some important saves, long enough for the Hawks to score on their first shot thanks to a nifty Carl Soderberg pass to Mattias Janmark.
  • With numbers like those, it’s impressive the Hawks won the game in overtime, thanks to a late Dominik Kubalik five-hole with just 15 seconds left in extras. This is good news because the Blackhawks are trash in a shootout and very legitimately could have lost if it had come to that.
  • The Blackhawks also got domed in the 3rd period of Monday’s game to the tune of a 26 CF%, and the Wings also won the possession game in the 1st and 3rd periods of last night’s tilt at 55 and 59%, respectively. This is actually not a new trend, as a similar situation happened to the Blackhawks in the Blue Jackets game on the 11th. Generally, the Blackhawks seem to get crushed possession-wise but use their powerplay abilities to get past teams and win games in OT.
  • Brandon Hagel continues to shine in every way but scoring. On Monday night, Hagel had a great pass to Kubalik to get the second Blackhawks goal at the end of the 1st. We still await a goal of his own, but he’s definitely fun to watch.
  • The Red Wings powerplay really was the steaming pile of hot garbage the numbers told us it would be. I really thought I’d never see a powerplay as bad – worse, even – as the Hawks of yore, but this really was horrendous. Even more horrendous is that there’s an NHL team with a worse powerplay – congratulations, Minnesota Wild!
  • Speaking of Red Wings power plays, a too many men penalty while you are up a skater against a dumpster fire penalty kill team is completely unacceptable coaching-wise. We were lucky the Red Wings powerplay sucks enough that a goal wasn’t scored – against a good team, we would not have been so lucky.
  • The Blackhawks had another great powerplay goal last night by Philipp Kurashev, who received a pass by Duncan Keith and then outskated and outmaneuvered two Red Wings like it was nothing, going five-hole on Bernier. I like Kurashev and he’s just getting more and more fun to watch as he gets more confident on the ice.
  • If this had been literally any other team, that attempt with a little over four minutes left in the 3rd period of last night’s game would’ve been a goal. Lankinen slid way out of position and only by the grace of God did the Red Wings miss on a legitimately wide-open net.
  • I don’t know where the Hawks get off on playing Zadorov in the final minutes of every game, but please stop; it burns my eyes.

The Blackhawks head south on their road trip this weekend to battle the Carolina Hurricanes, who will not be as forgiving if we continue with these possession numbers (which we will). The Hawks are going to need to figure out a way to not flounder in this metric and also win games without going into extra time if they want to continue being a FUN PLAYOFF CONTENDER or whatever the journalists think this team is. Onward!

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