Blackhawks’ 1-0 shootout loss Friday the first of its kind in franchise history
It was the Hawks’ first goal-less game since 2003 and first game ever to go to a shootout scoreless.
The Stars-Blackhawks game Friday was the 50th game in NHL history to head to a shootout scoreless.
But for the Hawks, it was their first such game. It was also their first game with zero total goals since a 0-0 tie against the Coyotes in January 2003, before the shootout era.
The team’s third sellout crowd of the season — the announced attendance was 19,845 — witnessed a one-of-a-kind night in franchise history, a game somehow simultaneously the most boring and the most memorable.
“I’ll take a lot of those games,” interim coach Derek King said after the 1-0 shootout loss. “Obviously, our guys aren’t happy about that because they want to score goals. But that’s a really good hockey team, and we took them to the end. It could’ve gone either way. I was really happy with our performance. It was a good rebound for us.”
Marc-Andre Fleury became the 36th goalie to get a shutout and a loss in the same game, although Henrik Lundqvist, Mike Smith, Brian Elliott and Steve Mason have somehow done it three times each.
The Hawks not having been in that situation before was somewhat surprising. They’d headed to overtime tied 0-0 five times before in the shootout era, including four times between March 2015 and December 2016.
But all five times, someone scored in overtime to provide the game’s lone goal. Jonathan Toews’ first two goals of the 2015-16 season were 1-0 overtime winners in consecutive games against the Lightning and Ducks.
That trend finally snapped Friday despite plenty of chances for both teams in a back-and-forth overtime. Five of the game’s 14 high-danger scoring chances occurred in OT, with a number of near misses and squandered two-on-one rushes. And that allowed history to be made.
The game also featured several other notable, if easily overlooked, statistical anomalies.
The first period had only one commercial break, as the under-10 and under-six breaks never happened because of a lack of stoppages and other technicalities. The 20 minutes on the clock took only 26 real-time minutes to complete.
Jake McCabe’s sixth-round shootout attempt made him the first Hawks defenseman to appear in a shootout since Michal Rozsival and Nick Leddy in 2013. He’s the seventh defenseman in franchise history to do so.
“We did a little shootout game [in practice this week, and McCabe] went down and scored a couple of goals,” King said, justifying the decision. “I’m like, ‘You know what, if we’re getting [to the fourth] round and going, I might call on you.’ He was like, ‘Really?’ ”
“I was hot this week in shootouts, so King gave me the chance,” McCabe said. “I thought I made a pretty good shot, but the goalie got his [stick] knob on it, so it’s unfortunate that one didn’t go in.”
The Hawks deployed a line in which a winger (Sam Lafferty) took faceoffs instead of the center (Kirby Dach), as well.
That’s a rarely seen concept, but it was surprising it took the Hawks this long to try it, considering Dach’s extreme faceoff woes. The strategy worked, too, as Lafferty won seven of 12 draws. Dach lost his only one.
Heading into the game Sunday afternoon against the high-flying Panthers, the Hawks have lost six games in a row at the United Center, their eighth-longest home losing streak. Losses Sunday and Friday (against the Devils) would tie for their longest skid since 1947.
NOTE: Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000 by the NHL on Saturday for unsportsmanlike conduct after spraying MacKenzie Entwistle’s face with his water bottle Friday as Entwistle skated off for a concussion check.