Blackhawks suffer another devastating loss and fall 4-3 in OT - New York News

Blackhawks suffer another devastating loss and fall 4-3 in OT

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - If the Blackhawks can come back to defeat St. Louis in this series their character and resolve should never be questioned. Following a devastating triple overtime loss in Game 1 the Hawks suffered an even more agonizing defeat in Game 2. After scoring a last second game tying goal the Blues pulled out a stunning 4-3 win in OT.

It isn’t easy to find something to soften the despair of Blackhawk faithful but there is some hope to grasp onto. The Hawks outplayed the Blues in the second half of the game and were within seven seconds of grabbing home ice advantage. It isn’t impossible for the Blackhawks to win the next two home games, but the physical toll of this series could have a lasting effect.

If Vladimir Tarasenko didn’t tie the score it would have been a bitter pill for the Blues to swallow. St. Louis came out and dictated play and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on home ice. That’s a lead that shouldn’t be squandered but the Hawks scored three straight goals and were ever so close to a huge win.

The Blackhawks will likely be without the services of Brent Seabrook for Game 3 after his dangerous hit on David Backes. Seabrook has had his share of concussions and isn’t known as a player who looks for advantageous hits. Seabrook has never been suspended and that will help his cause, but he is likely to get a sit down this time..

Seabrook may get some leniency because Backes seemingly turned into the hit and was carrying his head lower than normal. Make no mistake, Seabrook is responsible for his actions. He was wrong primarily because Backes no longer had the puck. Seabrook also has to take responsibility for making contact with Backes’ head. Seabrook was called for charging but it was more like an interference infraction.

Maybe Seabrook would have been whistled if Backes wasn’t down and out on the ice, but the call seemed to come late. Either way, Backes looked to be knocked out for awhile and could have been seriously injured. It’s not a pretty sight to see a player having trouble keeping his balance and struggle to leave the ice.

Lost in the shuffle has been Bryan Bickell’s kneeing penalty which took place 1:14 before Seabrook’s major and game misconduct. Until then, Bickell was having a fine game as he had a few big, clean hits and was very effective. Bickell was playing with the determination and had the physical presence many Hawk fans feel is needed.

Seabrook will have some defense when questioned by the league. Bickell could receive a suspension or a fine and has no excuse for his actions. Vladimir Sobotka could have been seriously injured and it appeared Bickell stuck out his leg before making contact with an open ice hit.

No matter what punishment is handed down from the league the Blackhawks already have suffered from Bickell and Seabrook’s actions. If not for being down by two men late in the game. this series would probably be tied.

When things go bad they can go really bad and the Blackhawks can’t seem to catch a break. By the same token St. Louis has been the better club when it counts the most. So bad breaks or not the Blues are now deeply under the skin of the Blackhawks. For Game 3 the Hawks will have to do a better job of staying out of the penalty box.

As often happens the opposite of popular opinion has taken place.

The Blues entered this series as the club that seemed more fragile after losing six games in a row to conclude the regular season. It was St. Louis who many thought would be the one trying to force the physical play and could be victimized by taking costly penalties. If regular season form held true the Blues were likely to benefit from getting more goals from their defensemen.

St. Louis hasn’t looked at all like a team that had a confidence issue. For the second time in two games they were the club to rally in the waning seconds to force OT. The Blues not only were able to provide last second heroics in regulation but also found a way to seal the deal in overtime. The Blues didn’t show any hint of lacking confidence even after losing a two goal lead on Saturday.

The Blues have taken their share of penalties, but in Game 2 the Blackhawks seemed hell-bent on matching the physical tone set by St. Louis in Game 1. There is a fine line between good physical play and needless penalties and at times the Hawks crossed that line.

Blackhawk defensemen accounted for all the scoring in Game 3. So far in the series Chicago blueliners have scored five goals while St. Louis defenders have dented the twine twice.

In the battle of goaltenders, Corey Crawford hasn't played poorly but he couldn't come up with big stops on the tying and winning goals. In fairness, Crawford hasn’t been outplayed by Ryan Miller although suffering two losses.

Two key performers were credited with only one shot each in Game 2.

Unless not 100% healthy, Jonathan Toews usually comes up big when most needed. So far Toews hasn’t played a significant part in either game. Toews’ performance on Saturday leads me to believe he has a lingering injury. The same may be true for Patrick Kane who hasn’t been able to get going and add to the offense. The Blackhawks power play has been dismal and Kane and Toews can be difference makers with a man advantage.

On the other side of the ledger is Marian Hossa who was much more involved on Saturday compared to Game 1. Hossa was credited with a game high eight shots on goal. Although he didn’t record a point Hossa was a force especially after Ben Smith replaced Michal Handzus as second line center.

Joel Quenneville stayed with the same lineup as in Game 1 but my guess is there will be some changes for Monday night’s contest.

Handzus will likely stay in the lineup because he is a solid penalty killer, but he could be dropped to the fourth line. Smith could get bumped up to the second line as Quenneville will be looking to get Hossa going.

Signs are Quenneville appears to be ready for change because he already has used Kane and Toews together for some shifts.

Brandon Bollig may take a seat for Game 3 and Jeremy Morin or possibly Peter Regin will get a taste of playoff action. Bollig had the game’s low ice time as he skated only 3:33.

For Game 3, the Blues will likely not have their leader in David Backes. He is the St. Louis version of Toews and could be a significant loss. Bickell might face a suspension or a fine for his kneeing incident. It appears highly unlikely Seabrook will be be able to avoid a suspension. So both clubs will have obstacles to overcome.

The Blackhawks are in desperate need of something positive. If they don’t find a way to win Game 3 this could be a short series. That too would be the opposite of what most expected.

I will be back on Tuesday and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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