The Chicago Blackhawks finally got on the board early in a game on Thursday when they struck first against the Winnipeg Jets, but that’s all they could muster as they dropped a 3-1 decision that snapped their four-game winning streak.
The Hawks won’t have much time to fret about the loss, as they have to play the Minnesota Wild on Friday night in the Twin Cities, but before they turn their attention to that game, we have our Three Stars from the Thursday defeat.
Third Star: Corey Crawford
The first goal that Crawford gave up in the game was not a great one, as it came on a low shot off a won face-off by the Jets. Granted, he was slightly screened by two of his teammates as Blake Wheeler ripped a shot from the face-off circle, but it’s still a shot that Crawford would say that he needed to stop.
Outside of that play, the goaltender put up another one of his solid efforts for Chicago. His rebound control was solid throughout the contest, and he fought off a lot of shots as the Jets dictated the tempo around the edges through large stretches of the second and third periods of the game.
Crawford has been good for the Hawks thus far this season, and he showed again on Thursday why he is the team’s best weapon with Duncan Keith out of the mix.
Second Star: Marian Hossa
Hossa didn’t score a goal in the game, nor did he add an assist. Despite not appearing on the scoresheet in that manner, there is one thing that can be said for the veteran forward: he drove possession about as well as anyone on either side of the ice, and he had a slew of great scoring chances in the game, giving hope that the first line could be on the verge of a breakthrough.
Hossa had two different breakaways in the middle stages of the game, receiving a Jonathan Toews in space before being denied by Michael Hutchinson on the first one and grabbing a loose puck and carrying it over the blue line for the second.
Neither chance resulted in a goal, but one can almost feel Hossa knocking on the door of an offensive breakthrough. His possession numbers looked great on Thursday night. He generated high-quality scoring chances. He got Toews and Viktor Tikhonov involved in the offense. Those are all great signs moving forward, and the Hawks could start seeing some production from that top line, which would take pressure off of guys like Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.
First Star: Patrick Kane
Speaking of Kane, he scored yet another goal for the Blackhawks on Thursday night, scoring on a power play tally less than two minutes into the contest to give the Hawks an early lead.
Unfortunately for Kane, the night ended up being a pretty poor one in terms of possession for his line, as all three players were negative-Corsi skaters for the evening. Combined, Kane, Panarin, and Artem Anisimov carried a minus-13 for the night as they yielded a slew of scoring chances for the Jets, and they didn’t return the favor all that often after Kane’s tally.
Even though that’s the case, we’re still giving Kane the first star honors because of the quality shot that he got on that power play. It had been a week since the Hawks had scored a goal during regulation time, and to see Kane get the team on the board that early was a heartening sign.