It all started so well, too, thanks to the Blackhawks red-hot power play (seriously!). Brandon Saad picked up a rebound in the offensive zone and buried it past New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for a 1-0 first-period lead.
Eight minutes later, after a brilliant back-check (and borderline penalty) by New York’s Jesper Fast, Filip Chytil scooped up a loose puck and blew past Blackhawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju for a scoring chance that Chytil buried past Collin Delia to tie the game at one.
Mats Zuccarello added a second New York goal just four minutes later, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Chris Kreider made it a 3-1 game in the middle of the second period after a brutal turnover by Duncan Keith.
Chicago pulled within one in the third period when Alex DeBrincat sniped home a shot on the power play.
But Chicago would get no closer, and Mika Zibanejad scored an empty-netter to put the game out of reach. Dominik Kahun added an irrelevant goal in the final second to account for the final tally of the game.
The power play has converted at least once in seven straight games.
So that’s nice.
Need a laugh? This is worth a laugh.
Some NHL scout was quoted in The Athletic’s season preview, saying that DeBrincat was a “20-25 goal guy, 40-45 point guy.” DeBrincat now has 24 goals and 15 assists. In 49 freaking games. FORTY-NINE. Rest assured in the knowledge that you are not as bad at your job as that scout is.
Now for the opposite of a laugh
This week, the Blackhawks have faced two of the (other) worst teams in the league. On Monday night, they were shelled 8-5 by the New Jersey Devils. Tonight it was a 4-3 loss to the Rangers that probably could’ve been worse if not for some impressive, timely saves by Delia.
For three months, I’ve been trying to convince myself that the Blackhawks aren’t this bad, that the record is just an anomaly and the result of some bad luck or an unfortunate set of circumstances. I haven’t been able to comprehend how a team that has Patrick Kane playing arguably the best hockey of his career, that has Jonathan Toews in a renaissance season and that has one of the game’s emerging young snipers in DeBrincat could be so horrendous.
I still can’t fathom how this has happened, but I cannot deny it anymore: this is just a terrible team. They’ll be lucky to finish above last place in the Central Division and potentially in the entire league. I have no idea how we got here, but we are here. And now the question is how to emerge from this dungeon.
- Chris Kreider (NYR) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Mika Zibanejad (NYR) — 1 goal
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 goal