Sikura deserves to stay in the lineup
Dylan Sikura scored his first career NHL goal to tie the game 2-2 just 45 seconds after Dylan Strome’s goal to swing the momentum to Chicago. Sikura had been goalless for 43 games prior to Sunday, although he had collected 13 assists in that time, including two in five games this season.
Sikura has been an excellent defensive forward in his limited time this season.
Sikura also has the second-best shot share (at even strength) with more than one game played for the Blackhawks this season after Connor Murphy. Sikura is doing the right things. If he can start converting on the chances he sees, he’ll be a useful asset.
Sikura also has one takeaway to no giveaways this season and hasn’t taken a penalty. Right now, he’s worth giving an extended look.
Power play struggles continue
The Blackhawks power play went 0-for-3 on the power play against the Red Wings, who are ranked 30th in the league with a 73.8-percent success rate. It cost Chicago momentum and valuable opportunities to get back in the game.
Chicago is now 5-for-35 on the power play in its last 10 games, and have allowed three shorthanded goals against in that span.
This power play is bad, not just because of that scoreless streak, but because of the way they got to this point. The Blackhawks are ranked No. 23 in Corsi per 60, No. 24 in shots, No. 19 in expected goals and No. 13 in high-danger chances per 60 at even strength. In other words, besides that high-danger number, Chicago is far below average as a power play at taking shots and getting those shots on net.
Moreover, they are No. 24 in shooting percentage and No. 28 in PDO among NHL power plays, so even when they do get shots on net they’re not getting the puck luck they could have, and they’re not getting good save percentages at the other end.
The best defense is sometimes a good offense
The Red Wings’ 21 shots were the fewest the Blackhawks have allowed in a game this season. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, had 27 shots for.
However, Chicago’s 61 Corsi events for was the 12th-most this season, and their 4.3 expected goals for was second. They didn’t get pucks on net as often as they should have, but they dominated puck possession and stayed out of their defensive zone.
The Blackhawks might not have an organized defense the rest of the season with Calvin de Haan (right shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (right shoulder/left and right hip) out. But if the Blackhawks offense is able to get the puck out of their defensive zone and keep it in the offensive zone, even if they don’t have a lot of shots on net, then they’ll have a path forward.
Perhaps there’s no better example than the line of Kirby Dach, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, who, despite not having a great two-way forward amongst them, drove the puck and kept it out of their zone, resulting in .06 expected goals and two shots against in nearly 10 minutes during five-on-five play.