NEW YORK – Not every game is going to be great in an 82-game season. There are going to be those nights when teams struggle with passes or chemistry, offense or defense.
But if you can still get points out of it, the glitches are easier to take. The Blackhawks were reminded of that on Friday night when they made some mistakes, had some good moments and came out with a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Islanders. They won’t get much time to rest, as they host the Islanders back in Chicago tomorrow night. But before we get to that, let’s look at Five Things to take from their victory on Friday.
1. Looking for a left wing. Teuvo Teravainen got a chance on that top line, but it wasn’t looking so great through the first two games. Andrew Shaw played there for some of tonight’s game, but it didn’t click much either. So right now, it looks like coach Joel Quenneville is looking for the right left wing to put up there with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
2. The second line is just fine. The combination of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane looked consistent once again on Friday night. Panarin, who’s not afraid to shoot, ended up with four on goal. Kane scored twice — albeit one was on that overtime power play — and Anisimov netted his first of the season. For a team looking for consistency, that second line is supplying it.
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3. Be careful with those passes. Nothing draws Quenneville’s ire like sloppy play, and the Blackhawks made a few critical turnovers on Friday night. One almost cost them late — Andrew Shaw threw a pass into the slot and John Tavares picked it up and shot, but Corey Crawford made the stop. The Blackhawks still have some bad habits they’d like to get out of their game. Those turnovers are right up there.
4. Their best are still their best. We’re guessing the Blackhawks let Hossa take as many practice days off as he wants if he brings bursts of speed like he did early in overtime. He could have gotten a penalty shot. Instead the Blackhawks got the power play, and Kane, Toews and Duncan Keith all factored in the game-winning goal.
5. Give it time. This is another reminder that the Blackhawks are going to be a bit of a work-in progress early this season. Yes, they acquired a lot of veteran players in their summer deals. But some of these guys are still very unfamiliar with the Blackhawks’ system, and it’ll take a bit. Deep breaths, folks.