Blackhawks Have a Week of Ups and Downs
The Chicago Blackhawks go into Saturday's game as winners of three straight (Now 4 since the writing of this blog). Tomorrow night's game is against one of the more surprising teams in the league in the Anaheim Ducks.
Last time out, the Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens in overtime, by a score of 3-2. Phillip Kurashev scored the winner on a questionable call. Kurashev was tripped up coming in on a breakaway which eventually led to the net being knocked off and the goaltender being knocked out of place. After it was confirmed that it was a good goal, the play was reviewed for offsides. It certainly looked like the play was offside, but Kurashev had the puck in full control resulting in a Hawks win.
The other two wins in the three game win streak came against a very good team in the Golden Knights and the struggling Blue Jackets. It was a 2-1 victory over the Knights as Marc-Andre Fleury got his revenge against his former team. It was pretty surprising to see the Hawks win this game as the Knights are first in the Western Conference. Vegas had control for most of the game but the defense stepped up and Fleury was terrific. The second game of the win streak was against Columbus and the Hawks came out on top by a score of 4-2. This game was one of the best all around games that the Hawks have played the whole year. Alex Debrincat had two goals in the game which put him third in the NHL in goals. Before the win streak happened, the six game losing streak happened.
I wrote about the Flames game in my last article, and since then the Hawks dropped two straight games. Those two losses came to the Avalanche and the Coyotes. The Avalanche game was not necessarily a bad game for the Blackhawks but it still resulted in a loss in overtime. Cale Makar scored a beautiful goal to seal it for Colorado. Colorado is one of the true cup contenders as of right now and the Hawks went down 2-0 early. However, the team showed fight in them and scored three straight to take the lead in the third period. The Avalanche then tied it up late and eventually won in overtime. The other loss was to the Arizona Coyotes which was absolutely horrific. Arizona came into the game only having six wins on the whole season and the Blackhawks lost 6-4. There were a ton of Hawks fans in Arizona for the game and the Blackhawks could not pull off the win. The main problem in this one was the defense and the goaltending. Although Fleury has been excellent in the past month or so, this game he struggled. Fleury has started the past six games for the Hawks and has been a big part of the win streak.
Now jumping into some of the individual performances, Lukas Reichel made his debut last night against Montreal. He centered a line with Brandon Hagel and Patrick Kane. "I was laughing, like, Oh my gosh, that's awesome. I am happy, I'm really happy. He's my favorite player. Now we're on the same line and I just want to make plays and have fun with (Kane)." As you can tell, Reichel was obviously very excited to be playing with Kane and Hagel on the same line. The young German had 15:55 time on ice, 3 shots on goal and 4 shot attempts in his highly anticipated debut. He also had some nice passes to Kane and Hagel. That line as a whole played a very good game. Some other team news regarding Covid Protocol is that Brandon Hagel and Sam Lafferty were removed and are now playing on the active roster. Lafferty made his Blackhawks debut against the Canadiens and was recently traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Nylander. Added to the Covid Protocol were Seth Jones, Dylan Strome, and Kirby Dach. Dach just recently ended his goal drought and has been finding his stride as of late. Seth Jones has obviously been terrific the whole season and has been the most consistent player. Dylan Strome has also been centering wherever Kane has been playing which is another reason why Reichel was called up.
Some positive news has been Alex Debrincat and his case for the Rocket Richard trophy. He is currently three goals behind for the league lead with 23 on the year. Riley Stillman also has been racking up assists and has been a pleasant surprise with his offensive production. Patrick Kane also just recently broke his goal drought and has started to look like himself again. Jonathan Toews has been becoming a point-per-game player and has been very good as of late and defensemen Calvin De Haan and Connor Murphy scored against Columbus and have been providing offense for the team.
Overall, the team has really picked up their offense production after they had a very slow start to the new year. Jake Mccabe has not played the past couple of games and is believed to have an illness but not Covid-related. Hopefully the Blackhawks win tomorrow night against the Ducks at home and go Blackhawks!
-Jack P. (IG: @jackpolkow / Twitter: @polkowjack)