The Blackhawks started out well, taking a 3-1 lead into the second period, but an awful series of penalties and a bad night for the penalty kill led to the Coyotes coming back to tie the goal and eventually win in a shootout.
Chicago got a goal on their second shift of the game, as Calvin de Haan did a lot of work in the neutral and offensive zones to set up Jonathan Toews for Toews’ sixth goal this season and his second at 5-on-5 play:
De Haan finds his way around the Arizona defense before leaving the puck for Toews in the crease, and Toews has an incredibly easy goal. A great job from de Haan on the play, and it’s nice to see him getting more involved in the offensive end. That would be a recurring theme for the Blackhawks throughout the first period, as the defense was active on the attack.
Alex DeBrincat would follow that goal up before the first half of the period was over as the Blackhawks got a power-play goal and DeBrincat extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.
Another great bit of transition work, this time by Patrick Kane, and the Hawks’ decision not to fall for the drop pass here helped immensely, as Kane operates through traffic before depositing the puck ahead of DeBrincat, making it easy for the Cat to add to his total. It was Chicago’s third straight game with a power play conversion.
Unfortunately, the first period was dominated by the Coyotes, who found ways to keep the puck in their offensive zone (the Blackhawks’ defending) and that eventually led to the inevitable goal against for the Blackhawks. Christian Fischer’s skate redirected a Christian Dvorak rebound into the net as Fischer stood firmly in the crease. Sort of a problem.
The Blackhawks would get a goal back, however, as Connor Murphy’s shot was redirected by Dominik Kubalik.
Kubalik got his first game with the Brandon Saad-Toews first line and took advantage of it. The first line was clicking through the first 20 minutes of the game, as Toews had a point on all three goals (getting the faceoff win on the Kubalik goal).
Unfortunately, the Blackhawks gave the Coyotes entirely too much time on the man advantage in the middle frame, and the league’s 11th-best power play would take advantage. While the Blackhawks dominated the 13 minutes of even-strength time, the Coyotes scored two goals (one from Conor Garland, the other from Carl Soderberg) in six-and-a-half minutes of power-play time.
That led the Coyotes to even the game back up at three before the end of the second. That would be the final score in regulation, as neither team scored in the third period, although Robin Lehner did this:
Robin Lehner keeps the game tied. pic.twitter.com/TqodfCta8Z— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) December 9, 2019
But if anything, this save in overtime was even better:
Lehner was fantastic throughout the night, making 44 saves on 47 shots for a .936 save percentage.
Ultimately though, the game came down to the shootout, and Lehner couldn’t make a save as Toews and Kirby Dach couldn’t score. It may be time to seriously consider going to Corey Crawford for every shootout, as Lehner has continually said he’s not happy with his performance in that aspect of the game, and to be fair, it’s a very weird way to end the game. Still, don’t make somebody do something they’re open about being bad at.
1. Nick Schmaltz (ARI) — shootout goal, 2 A, 3 shots
2. Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 G, 2 A, 5 shots
3. Conor Garland (ARI) — 1 G, shootout goal, 3 shots
The Blackhawks head to Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights on Tuesday.