The Blackhawks captured two points against the Coyotes in an entertaining 3-2 shootout victory Saturday in Glendale, Arizona. The win kept Chicago within three points of Arizona for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with two games in hand.
1. Alex DeBrincat can’t get any puck luck
In 15:51 minutes in all situations, DeBrincat had eight shots on goal that were all deemed scoring chances, but his goal drought reached four games. Here’s a scoring chance from the first period after Dylan Strome won a puck battle near the offensive zone blue line and set up DeBrincat:
And this high-danger opportunity set up by a slick turnaround backhander from Kirby Dach:
If DeBrincat keeps putting himself in the right position to get these type of opportunities, it’s only a matter of time before a shot will squeak past the goal line for the streaky sniper.
2. Adam Boqvist shows off developing defensive skillset
There were at least two times Boqvist singlehandedly dominated former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall on 1-on-1’s. Here’s one from the second period where Boqvist hustled back to cut off Hall’s angle to the net:
AdAm BoQvIsT cAn'T pLaY dEfEnSe pic.twitter.com/0Smhosg0Hb— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) February 2, 2020
Although Boqvist was a bit overpowered by puck possession (35.7 Corsi-For) and shot attempts (18) from the Coyotes at five-on-five, he only allowed two high-danger opportunities and blocked four shots.
The important aspect of Boqvist’s performance was when he was called upon to make a tough 1-on-1 play to prevent a scoring chance, he did so impressively.
With only 27 NHL games to his name, the 19-year-old’s defensive zone positioning will only improve as he has more reps with Duncan Keith.
3. Second line works wonders for Dach
In 13:40 minutes at five-on-five, Dach had an assist, two shots, a 50-percent Corsi-For and did a lot of little things right that don’t show up on the scoresheet or in advanced metrics.
On Brandon Saad’s first goal, Dach drove the net hard forcing Arizona’s Christian Fischer to follow him to the net, which provided a screen on Antti Raanta for Saad to find that top-left corner.
Later in the first period, Slater Koekkoek made a diving block and was struggling to get up. Instead of forcing the puck up the wall into traffic, Dach reversed his momentum and made the safe bank pass to Keith to give Chicago some time and space to break the puck out.
On Saad’s second goal, Dach picked up the puck after Kane was stoped on a breakaway. Dach made another nifty escape move to get away from Hall and then snapped a pass to Kane behind the net, which set up Saad’s opportunity from the low slot.
Brandon Saad scores his second goal of the game off a Patrick Kane feed to give the #Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in the second period.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) February 2, 2020
Saad has four goals in as many games since his return from a right ankle injury. pic.twitter.com/0l3NQfs9cX
Dach stepped up his game and welcomed the challenge of playing with Kane and Saad, and showed why this line should be given more time together.