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They were outplayed in most aspects of the game. Through the first two periods, they were outshot 24-11. In the third, though, they picked up the pace and took the lead in shots, 14-9. Goaltender Corey Crawford was an acrobat in net to stop a torrent of pucks, making 32 saves in the game.
“[Coach Joel Quenneville] calls it a goaltender win, and I think that was more evident today than ever before,” Kane said. “He was awesome. He made some unbelievable saves.”
Chicago amassed six penalties in the first two periods compared to the Stars‘ two; but roles switched again in the third, when Dallas took four penalties and Chicago had one.
Halfway through the second period, the Stars knotted the score at 1-1 with Trevor Daley‘s goal, assisted by Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza. They then took the lead about five minutes later, when Cody Eakin took a drop-pass from Ryan Garbutt (also assisting, Antoine Roussel) and shot it over Crawford’s shoulder.
Sharp managed to tie the game back up at 11:10 into the third, with a glove-side slapshot fed by Keith and Kane.
Neither team was able to take the lead back in regulation, with the Hawks finally showing their strengths at the end of the game.
Five minutes of four-on-four passed with only one shot for each team, but no score, leading to a shootout.
Spezza went first with a fast-slow move that resembled Kane, but was stopped. Toews was stopped also.
Tyler Seguin shot next, and was shut down by Crawford.
And then Kane came up.
He sashayed to the net and flipped the puck with a backhand over Kari Lehtonen‘s shoulder for the win.
What we learned
The Blackhawks’ defense needs a little work so Crawford doesn’t have to do a lot of work.
Fitting in the salary cap cost the Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy. (Pause for moping.)
But, they’ve made moves with new guys, prospects and even a combustible former Blackhawk.
For offense, Sharp, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa made up the first line. Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, and Kane, who shone in the preseason, made up the second line. Bryan Bickell, Brad Richards, and Ben Smith rolled out third, and Jeremy Morin, Marcus Kruger, and Daniel Carcillo brought in the fourth line.
Carcillo was picked up the night before Leddy was let go, bringing some “grit” back to Chicago with Brandon Bollig‘s exit to Calgary at the end of last season. It’s debatable whether a bruiser like Carcillo is really needed, but his record shows he has the propensity be a bit more than just an enforcer.
— Jamal Mayers (@jamalmayers) October 3, 2014
But, as the former Blackhawk and current NHL Network analyst said, it may not have been the smartest move for the team. Yes, the Blackhawks were about $2.27 million over their salary cap. And, Leddy was in the last year of his contract with a $2.7 million hit, but Oduya is also in his final contract year–with a $3.375 million hit. They’re both extremely talented defensemen–and it’s been said who I’d let go if I managed the team. But, Leddy is 10 years younger than Oduya. He is growing as a player. He’s fast.
Last year, Leddy had 8 goals and 28 assists in the regular and postseason combined. Oduya had 5 goals and 18 assists. They both block shots. They both make plays happen. But, Leddy has the benefit of youth. On the other hand, Quenneville didn’t show confidence in the player at pivotal times, including last year’s postseason when he was a healthy scratch on multiple occasions.
Leddy was also scratched in preseason games to see how Brad Richards would perform on the point for the Power Play–they were 0 for 17 before last Friday’s game–and how defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk and Kyle Cumiskey could perform in that role. Oduya had been scratched then for injury.
The move is expected to give Leddy some more ice time as a prominent defenseman on the Islanders.
“It’s tough, but he’s looking at the positives,” Shaw told media Sunday. “He can do well there. He could log a lot of minutes and he’ll be a big part of the team.”
The Islanders also acquired goaltender Kent Simpson from the Rockford IceHogs in the Blackhawks deal. The Blackhawks picked up defensemen T.J. Brennan and Ville Pokka and goaltender Anders Nilsson–all sent to Rockford.
Pokka comes from the Finnish Oulun Kärpät team, where he was a plus-32 with six goals and 21 assists in 54 games last year. He was drafted 34th overall in the 2012 draft.
McKenzie “Understand this, the Blackhawks got a good young player in Pokka who may be a better player than Leddy down the road.”
— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) October 6, 2014
Nilsson played 19 games with the Islanders last year with a 3.11 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage. He played 29 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, yielding a 2.81 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.
The Blackhawks have a chance to work with their new lines again tonight at their home opener against the Buffalo Sabres at 7:30 p.m. CT.