A seven-game homestand in October seemed like the perfect opportunity for the Blackhawks to build some early-season momentum.
Its ending Thursday night was much closer to a catastrophe, as the Blackhawks fell 4-1 to the Flyers, earning just six of a possible 14 points during a 2-3-2 stretch.
Philadelphia’s first tally of the night came moments after the Blackhawks failed to convert on an odd-man rush in the first period. At the other end of the ice, Oskar Lindblom took in a pass from Travis Konecny and roofed it over Chicago goaltender Robin Lehner for a quick 1-0 Flyers lead.
Not even a minute into the second period, the Flyers doubled their lead after an Andrew Shaw turnover. Travis Sanheim ended up with the puck, fired it toward the net, and Philly captain Claude Giroux — who had inside positioning on Jonathan Toews — redirected the puck past Lehner.
For the remainder of the second period, Chicago tested the limits of hockey futility. The Blackhawks mustered one shot on goal while wasting two power play chances, resulting in the United Center crowd airing their grievances with the Blackhawks as they headed to the dressing room for the second intermission.
That was the worst period of hockey I've seen in a looooooong time.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 25, 2019
Hawks outshot 13-1 despite two power plays. Boos raining down at the horn. Just 8 SOG in 2 periods. Absolutely nothing going.
Signs of life emerged early in the third as Brandon Saad — who’s been Chicago’s best forward through the first few weeks of the season — put the Blackhawks on the board. Chip passes from Kirby Dach and Andrew Shaw sprung Saad for a breakaway, who navigated past goaltender Brian Elliott with a nifty dangle to convert on the scoring chance.
The good vibes from that Saad goal didn’t last long, however.
Four minutes later, former Blackhawks first-round pick Kevin Hayes won a race for a loose puck and then beat Lehner with a quick wrister to restore the Flyers’ two-goal advantage, effectively killing any momentum that had been generated by Saad’s goal.
Chicago mustered plenty of shots and chances over the final 15 minutes of the third period but never put the puck past Elliott again. James van Riemsdyk added insurance for the Flyers when he turned an Erik Gustafsson turnover into another breakaway and a 4-1 Flyers lead.
Philadelphia’s advantage may have been even larger had two goals not been reviewed and overturned on offside challenges. Still, the Flyers had all the offense it needed as Chicago continues to stumble out of the gate to start the 2019-20 NHL season.
- Claude Giroux (PHI) - 1 goal
- Kevin Hayes (PHI) - 1 goal
- Brandon Saad (CHI) - 1 goal
The Blackhawks hit the road to face the Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.