The Blackhawks finally played well, opening the game with the first two goals en route to a 5-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday night at the United Center.
Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome each tallied three points, with Kane having a goal and two assists and Strome with three helpers. Corey Crawford supported the team the entire way, making 36 saves on 38 shots.
The Blackhawks sure came out shooting, getting 15 of the first 18 shots on net and adopting a shoot-first mentality through the first period. It quickly faded, however, as the Blackhawks gave up 14 of the last 16 shots in the period before getting outshot 12-10 in the second, but it was nice to see a spark in the Blackhawks game.
Alex DeBrincat started the game off right, and like Tom Petty, he was free fallin’ as he sniped the puck over Jakob Markstrom’s shoulder for his fifth goal this season.
Just an excellent series of passes up the ice to the Blackhawks’ young goal scorer, starting with Crawford to Kane.
The Blackhawks followed it with a series of shots and a goal 12 minutes later as Andrew Shaw got on the board on the power play.
A faceoff win, a pass across ice, a set up and tic-tac-goal. All credit belongs to the ’stache, however. That’s where the power is.
Strome picked up both primary assists on Chicago’s first period goals.
The Blackhawks penalty kill wasn’t charged with doing too much against the Canucks, but they did it well through the vast majority of the night. They did allow one power-play goal with one second left on the Vancouver man advantage as J.T. Miller kneed a puck in.
The power play looked out of sorts at times, but they also scored two goals. It’s become a confounding unit for the Blackhawks, but a great snipe from Kane behind the faceoff circle and an excellent screen by Strome combined to give Chicago a 3-1 lead with less than five minutes left. Duncan Keith also extended his point streak to four games on the play.
David Kampf tipped a puck into an empty net for a shorthanded goal from center ice to make it a 4-1 game.
After Vancouver scored with an extra attacker, Brandon Saad got another empty netter as the Blackhawks secured a 5-2 win.
Jonathan Toews played a much better game, and he really has looked more awake with Alex Nylander and Saad as his wings. He couldn’t buy a goal, but he was able to generate some pressure as he had a team-best three high-danger chances and led the team for much of the game with a .54 individual expected goals for.
This game was confusing. How do the Blackhawks lose to the Sharks, one of the worst teams in the West this season, then beat the Canucks, one of the best, the next one?
- Dylan Strome (CHI) — 3 assists (2 primary),
- Corey Crawford (CHI) — .947 save percentage, 3.25 expected goals against
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — GWG, 2 assists
The Blackhawks head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Saturday.