Filip Forsberg scored twice, including a minute into overtime to hand the Blackhawks a 4-3 loss Wednesday night at the United Center.
Top line change
Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton came to his senses and put Alex DeBrincat on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kahun instead of having him on the third line. And the result? A power-play goal and a team-high seven shots on goal in 17:01 of ice time.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, DeBrincat averaged the eighth most 5-on-5 TOI among forwards while playing on the third line. More ice time means more opportunities to score for the team’s second leading goal scorer in DeBrincat at 21 goals.
Power play! Power yay!
The Blackhawks went 1-for-2 on the power play to increase their conversion rate to 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) in their last 10 games. Their 34.5 percent isn’t great, but it’s almost triple the 13-for-108 (12 percent) mark they posted prior to this recent run.
Take the positives while you can get them.
Racking up points
Patrick Kane continues to dominate and put up points. Kane didn’t score a goal against the Predators, but he had two primary assists for his fifth multi-point game in his last seven outings. He leads the team with 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) in 45 games this season, and is on pace for 106 points, the same number he finished with during his 2015-16 MVP season.
First goal woes are back
Remember when the Blackhawks allowed the first goal for 11 consecutive games? Well, they’ve started doing that again. For the third straight game, they allowed the first tally after they had scored the opening goal in the previous seven games.
For every good offensive play Erik Gustafsson makes there seems to be two bad plays in his own zone.
On Colton Sissons’ goal, Gustafsson sent an errant pass below the goal line to absolutely no one. Mattias Ekholm picked it up then Kevin Fiala found Sissons all alone at right face-off circle. Dylan Strome also didn’t have great positioning on the play.
Gustafsson’s countrymen, Carl Dahlstrom, was caught being too aggressive and Viktor Arvidsson was able to fend him off to make it 2-1 just eight seconds after DeBrincat’s goal.
First goal: 21 seconds
Second goal: 1:14
Gustafsson admitted he was “terrible.”
Erik Gustafsson:— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) January 10, 2019
"For myself, I felt I was terrible today."
"I struggled with the puck in my own zone. Passes (weren't) there. I just felt off. ... I maybe have to calm down a little bit when the puck is not my friend out there."#Blackhawks
Someone on the Blackhawks’ equipment staff needs to give defenseman Connor Murphy a fishbowl helmet. He has already taken a stick and puck to the face this season, and Wednesday night came close to being sliced by a skate.
The photo might be a bit of an optical allusion since it’s a straight on shot and not from a diagonal, but yikes does that look close. Brandon Saad played pretty well with a fishbowl helmet earlier this season. Maybe it’ll help Murphy, too.
“What’s next?” — Josiah Barlett
The Blackhawks wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they host the Golden Knights at the United Center.