The Chicago Blackhawks played something only loosely resembling hockey on Saturday night, falling 7-3 to the New York Islanders in the Hawks’ first game after the bye week.
Chicago struck first, with Patrick Kane scoring the first of his two goals in the game, part of a three-point night that saw him reach the 800-point plateau for his career.
Three points on the night for @88PKane, 800 on the career. #NHLMilestones pic.twitter.com/qBP5LnQkob— NHL (@NHL) January 21, 2018
Erik Gustafsson played in his first NHL game in nearly two years, scoring his first career goal and assisting on that initial Kane tally. And that’s about the end of the good things that happened for Chicago. The lead given to the Hawks by Kane’s goal disappeared three minutes later when Anthony Beauvillier scored on the power play. Goals from Jordan Eberle and Ryan Pulock made it a 3-1 New York lead after one.
The Islanders took a 4-1 lead early in the second, the teams traded two goals apiece, and then John Tavares added the extra point late in the third for the final tally of the night.
CHI goals: Gustafsson (1, first career NHL goal), Kane 2 (20)
NYI goals: Beauvillier 2 (10), Eberle (16), Pulock (4), Nelson (10), Lee (27), Tavares (26)
Rutta’s night to forget
Of the seven goals scored by the New York Islanders, Chicago defenseman Jan Rutta was on the ice for six of them, including both power play tallies. Early in the season, Rutta looked like an absolute steal, joining the Hawks on a free agent deal after playing in Europe. Although it’s easy to pile on the Czech D-man after his worst performance of the season, Rutta’s game has been heading south for quite some time now. And his usual partner, Gustav Forsling, isn’t having much better luck in the defensive zone. Make note of that performance, then ask why Connor Murphy spent this game in the press box. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?
Roughly two Chicago players showed up tonight
Erik Gustafsson played well, and Patrick Kane did the typical Patrick Kane things. So there’s that.
What’s it gonna take?
The postgame interviews are yet to occur as of the publishing of this article, but they’re probably full of the usual platitudes. “We know we’re in a fight for a playoff spot,” Jonathan Toews will probably say. “We can’t afford to give away games like this,” Brent Seabrook will likely mention. “We have to find a way to put some wins together,” coach Joel Quenneville almost certainly will mutter. But the words are getting old. It’s the same shit game after game after game after game. Eventually, the promises get tired. After a while, the verbal commitment to a resolution become akin to the person who swears to get in shape on January 1 but has worn a new ass groove into the couch by Valentines’ Day.
What’s it going to take to get some damn results?
1. Ryan Pulock (NYI) - 1 goal, 4 assists
2. Anthony Beauvillier (NYI) - 2 goals
3. Erik Gustafsson (CHI) - First career NHL goal, assist