The Blackhawks line shuffling may never end. I won’t list their lines from last night. You can dig that up on FrozenPool. Plus, they’ll probably change come next week. What we can say is that Artem Anisimov is back and locked in as the net-front man on their top power play unit. The only guy to challenge Anisimov for that spot over the past two seasons was Richard Panik and he went to Arizona in the Anthony Duclair trade.
Chicago’s power play stinks, so this isn’t the most lucrative spot, but it does come with exposure to Patrick Kane, and will lead to a decent number of tap-ins. It was Anisimov’s work in the net-front that led to Nick Schmaltz’s tying goal in the third period.
Schmaltz, by the way, has 15 points in 13 games since Christmas. Trending way up in the second half. You may recall that Schmaltz scored 24 points in 31 games in the second half of last season. Perhaps a trend here?
The rotating defenseman slot on the Blackhawks’ top PP unit has not yet spun back around to Duncan Keith, who is scoreless in the past six games. He’s still without a goal on the year and is trending into flat out dumpable territory. He’s still on pace for nearly 200 SOG, and is good enough that he has sustained a decent pace despite the lack of goals and reduced PP time. I don’t dump him yet unless we’re talking about an option you are guaranteed to keep until game 82.
William Nylander ended the game with a rare overtime penalty shot:
I think every penalty in overtime (in the regular season) should be a penalty shot. My reasoning for this is that the 4-on-3 power play isn’t particularly exciting when compared to the end-to-end flow of 3-on-3 overtime. And since it’s all just a gimmick we can have a one-off penalty shot and then get back to free flow of 3-on-3. It would also curb the late desperation penalties with only a few seconds on the clock that rarely cost the offending team anything. Of course, this would require the refs having the spine to make a penalty shot call consistently, which I don’t think they do.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that I have no time for the shootout. There’s