February 22, 2024

For a second, the Chicago Blackhawks discovered a crack within the Washington Capitals’ protection and broke the stalemate in what had been a canine of a recreation.

However then the dam broke.

The Capitals rattled off three unanswered targets within the second interval and held on to win 4-2 on Sunday on the United Heart.

The Hawks got here into the sport driving their first two-game profitable streak, and early within the second interval issues had been trying up.

For the fourth recreation in a row, the Hawks struck first: Philipp Kurashev scored the sport’s opening objective with a tip-in from the doorstep.

Seth Jones discovered him with a cross-crease go, and he and Connor Bedard every recorded their eleventh help of the season.

Anthony Mantha answered for Washington 82 seconds later. Connor McMichael lobbed a go over Nikita Zaitsev’s stick, and Mantha cut up Alex Vlasic and Connor Bedard and outraced each to the puck, then backhanded previous Arvid Söderblom.

Ex-Hawk Dylan Strome tipped in a objective to push his group result in 11, and Nic Dowd poked within the puck from out of a scrum to cap the scoring for the body.

Dowd scored once more within the third. The Caps had a late energy play however Tom Wilson dedicated roughing and unsportsmanlike penalties, and Hawks defenseman Connor Murphy scored through the four-on-four.

The sport didn’t get off to a glowing starting for both group.

The Capitals smothered Hawks puck carriers, hemmed them alongside the boards and outbattled them for pucks, and took away passing lanes and shot angles.

For the Hawks’ half, at the least within the first interval, they blocked or compelled unhealthy pictures and had well timed takeaways.

The Caps obtained the primary energy play on Nick Foligno’s tripping name 2 1/2 minutes into the sport, and the Hawks’ Taylor Raddysh drew back-to-back tripping penalties, however neither group may rating throughout these alternatives.

Through the Hawks’ first energy play, Kurashev kicked within the puck off Seth Jones’ rebound and officers waved off the objective.

Kurashev nonetheless bumped fists with the bench. A would-be objective was the one factor to rejoice from a slog of a primary interval.

Overhead through the first intermission: “Not aesthetically pleasing.”

The Hawks got here into the matchup assured of an upset.

Sometimes, a visiting group taking part in the second leg of a back-to-back could be a bonus for the house group, however the Capitals entered the matchup with a 3-0-0 document in these video games.

Coach Luke Richardson stated earlier than the sport, “We did speak about that final recreation with St. Louis. They performed the evening earlier than — we needed to leap on them early.

“We performed yesterday however we didn’t journey. So there must be a bonus which you can attempt to use each evening on this league.”

Nevertheless, Caps coach Spencer Carbery stated his gamers perceive the video games’ significance in addition to how the bodily and psychological elements of back-to-back video games play main roles.

“Veteran guys do a very good job of permeating the message to the group that it’s psychological,” he stated earlier than the sport. “You’re going to have the bounds bodily, no query, but when you may make good selections, for those who could be mentally engaged by way of the 60 minutes, you possibly can have success.”

Listed below are 4 takeaways from Sunday’s loss:

It will depend on who you ask.

“It was rushes-against that we weren’t sharp on,” Murphy stated. “It appeared like we misplaced a bit of little bit of our emotion.”

He stated the Capitals obtained extra bodily, “and we didn’t appear to provide the identical response.”

Foligno agreed. “They simply picked up their depth. You’ll be able to see it, they simply obtained extra bodily. And we didn’t match that. It’s disappointing.”

Foligno seen a drop within the Hawks’ depth after Kurashev’s rating.

“We rating and we sort of sit again, and now they’re making a push they usually get momentum again,” he stated. “And now they’re rolling, proper? It’s 3-1, they usually get that one (by Nic Dowd) late. It’s disappointing as a result of these are those we’ve obtained to get out of our recreation.”

Washington Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk guards Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard during the third period at the United Center on Dec. 10, 2023.

Earlier this season, Bedard may need ignored the bench to extend his shifts, however Richardson stated that wasn’t the case when he was out for a minute and 33 seconds earlier than Mantha scored.

“I feel that was on a whistle on an opportunity. He simply hoped to remain on the market,” Richardson stated.

Bedard was out for two:26 his subsequent shift, and was out for 1:52 for a third-period shift.

Richardson stated, “I’ve talked to him (about shift size) earlier than. I feel typically he’s simply analyzing the sport and looking out round (a lot) that he actually doesn’t understand how lengthy he’s been on the market. That’s only a studying curve. He has to understand that within the NHL, no participant goes to play a correct shift two minutes in size and anticipate to do effectively on the finish of it. When you do, you’re dishonest on the market.”

Washington Capitals right wing Anthony Mantha scores past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Arvid Söderblom during the second period at the United Center on Dec. 10, 2023.

Söderblom goes to should buckle down and have a type of video games like Petr Mrázek simply had.

Sure, the Mantha breakaway was powerful to defend however Söderblom bit on the primary transfer.

Conversely, the Hawks weren’t almost as diligent on protection as they had been within the first interval (significantly the second), they usually gave Söderblom little in the best way of objective assist for a netminder struggling to get a win.

On Strome’s objective, T.J. Oshie blasted Hawks defenseman Alex Vlasic behind the web. Murphy and Söderblom shifted to defend Joel Edmundson from the slot — leaving Strome wide-open on the backdoor for a go from Edmundson.

On Dowd’s first objective, Beck Malenstyn’s rebound was mendacity free amid a pile of our bodies and Dowd obtained to it first.

Richardson stated, “It bounced off (Söderblom) after which I feel he tried to freeze it however there have been a bunch of our bodies within the crease that knocked it away from him, in order that was unlucky.

“Nevertheless it was good on Dowd. He was onerous within the onerous space and he obtained behind him and it was free and he knocked it within the web. It’s Arvid, however it’s all of us round him. Now we have to ensure we keep on our toes and shield him that method. We’re no assist once we’re mendacity within the crease.”

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It additionally doesn’t assist Söderblom’s trigger when the Hawks have scored two or fewer targets in three of his final 4 begins.

“It stinks,” Foligno stated. “He’s made some actually nice saves for us. There’s video games the place we’ve wasted away on him and we wish to give him extra run assist, clearly. He’s competing and doing his finest and it stinks not to have the ability to give him extra success.

“We’re going to should dig in a bit of more durable for him.”

Bedard performed about 16 and 17 minutes towards the Anaheim Geese and St. Louis Blues, respectively — under his common of about 19 1/2 minutes by way of his first 24 video games.

Richardson stated it got here right down to situational hockey.

“He’s clearly actually good with the puck, however line matching at house in all probability performs a task in that. not likely watching his minutes an excessive amount of,” he stated. “Additionally video games, after they’re shut and we have now the lead, I feel we’ve been utilizing guys like (Jason) Dickinson’s line and Tyler Johnson and Kurashev, guys like that who’ve extra expertise to play in a 5-on-6 state of affairs at this stage.

“(Bedard’s) not in all probability going to be a part of that equation but, however he’s an important participant and he has good hand-eye coordination with stick skills that in some unspecified time in the future, we’d like him to be concerned in that. However proper now, that in all probability performs into ice time as effectively on the finish of the sport.”