CALGARY, Alberta – The Blackhawks will leave Alberta with three out of a possible four points.
That’s good, considering they didn’t play very good hockey against either Edmonton or Calgary, which bested them in overtime on Friday night. Perhaps it’s more road growing pains or just a so-so start, performance-wise, to the Circus Trip. Whatever the reason, the Blackhawks don’t want to be stuck in neutral for too long; it just gets tougher from here on out.
So before we head west, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Flames.
1. Patrick Kane hits another career high. Kane’s secondary assist on Artem Anisimov’s goal gives him a 15-game point streak. Through all the ups and downs of this early season, Kane’s been a constant. Yes, he always starts seasons off well but this points pace is pretty impressive: through his first 20 games, Kane has 13 goals and 18 assists.
2. Scott Darling almost steals one. Darling looked like he was doing his best Ray Emery impersonation on Friday night. While the Blackhawks sputtered through the third period and overtime Darling stayed strong, denying the Flames on one great scoring opportunity after another. But the Blackhawks turnovers proved too much, and Johnny Gaudreau is pretty good at capitalizing when he gets a chance. Still, Darling’s the reason the Blackhawks got anything out of this one.
3. Coaching challenges fail. Coach Joel Quenneville thought there was goaltender interference on Sean Monahan’s first-period goal. Flames coach Bob Hartley thought the same of Anisimov’s goal. Well, they both lost their challenges. Hey, at least they got them out of the way early.
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4. Gaudreau is good at hockey. Yes, a real newsflash from us here, isn’t it? Gaudreau picked Brent Seabrook’s pocket in overtime and scored his fifth of the season for the Flames’ victory. He also had an assist on Monahan’s goal. Gaudreau was told to emulate Kane in college, and Kane called Gaudreau “one of my favorite players to watch.” It’s high praise, and in watching Gaudreau, you can see why he garners it.
5. Need to be better. The Blackhawks still aren’t playing the great road game that’s going to be necessary this season. They need to look back to their game in St. Louis, where they had the necessary urgency and performance. Sure, the Blues bring that out in the Blackhawks. But the need for points should light a fire under them now, because it’s a very real need.