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3 takeaways from Blackhawks’ 5-2 win over Islanders

Dennis Gilbert, Dylan Strome and weird forward lines.

New York Islanders v Chicago Blackhawks
Scott Mayfield of the New York Islanders blocks Dylan Strome of the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks scored five straight goals against the Islanders in a 5-2 win Friday at United Center. Chicago (16-17-6), however, is still in last in the Central Division.

Dennis Gilbert breakout game?

Gilbert did well in the game against New York. He scored his first career NHL goal, blocked three shots, and made an impact on the penalty kill. For a young defensive defenseman, Gilbert had the game he should be having, all while staying out of the penalty box. If the Blackhawks are going to do well the rest of the season, they’ll need more efforts like this from him.

Dennis Gilbert event map
Natural Stat Trick

Even his lackluster possession stats (44.44 percent Corsi, 43.75 percent shot share) are fine if put in the context of his 40 percent offensive zone start rate. Even in a game where Gilbert finally showed what he could be this could be a signifier of good things to come.

Dylan Strome continues to be a difference maker

Strome made Gilbert’s goal possible with a great pass with some touch from the high slot, and he also got the primary assist on the Alex DeBrincat’s goal. Strome has been solid this season and now has 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 35 games, and has found ways to score even when DeBrincat has been streaky.

Strome had excellent possession metrics in this game, helped drive the puck into the offensive zone and made some noticeable defensive plays, including a takeaway and blocking a shot. He also leads the team in individual expected goals this season and has been one of the best on the team in goals above replacement.

This was another example that Strome will always be as one of the best passers on the team.

Weird lines worked?

Kubalik — Toews — Quenneville
DeBrincat — Dach — Strome
Nylander — Carpenter — Kane
Smith — Kampf — Highmore

The top three lines were new. Yes, Dominik Kubalik and Jonathan Toews have experience together, DeBrincat and Strome have lots of experience together and Kane and Nylander started the season together, but those combinations were untried.

And yet, for the most part, they delivered. The Dach line had above 50-percent rates in Corsi, shot share, expected goal share and did not allow a high-danger chance against in nine minutes of five-on-five time. The Toews crew, with the lowest offensive faceoff percentage, had a 52.17-percent Corsi and 45.45-percent scoring chance share. The Kane line had the highest Corsi with 56.25 percent and the second-highest shot share at 55.56.