After an 0-3-1 start, the Blackhawks earned their first win of the season with a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings in Chicago’s home opener.
In a night full of firsts, the Blackhawks scored the first goal of the game for the first time this season when Patrick Kane corralled this pinball of a puck and roofed it past a sprawling Thomas Greiss during a Chicago power play:
That 1-0 lead remained until the 7:53 mark of the second period when Calvin de Haan’s slapper found its way into the Detroit net:
A few defensive miscues late in the second period almost let Detroit back into the game if not for several key saves from Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen:
The defense improved in the third period and the Blackhawks appeared to put the game out of reach with this beautiful passing play while on the man advantage that ended with an Andrew Shaw goal:
A strong solo effort from Detroit captain Dylan Larkin resulted in a third-period goal that spoiled Lankinen’s shutout bid with 7:38 left in the game. Detroit continued to threaten over the next several minutes until a Mattias Janmark empty-net goal solidified Chicago’s first win of the season.
- Not a bad night from Lankinen, eh? The Finnish goaltender is clearly at the front of the Chicago goalie rotation with that performance. For younger goalies like Lankinen (Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia, too), it’s not necessarily about making some of the saves they shouldn’t: it’s more about making all of the saves they should. Against Detroit, Lankinen didn’t allow any soft goals, including several stops early in the game while the Blackhawks were still finding their footing. He also held the fort well in portions of the second and third when Chicago’s defense left him out to dry.
- The Blackhawks power play is now 7-for-17 (41.1 percent) this season, just as everyone predicted.
- Sometimes a mistake is so egregious that it bears mentioning even though it’s a singular moment in a 60-minute game. Late in the second period, Dominik Kubalik tried throwing a backhand pass into the middle of the ice while in his own defensive zone, a violation of virtually every cardinal sin of defensive hockey. We here at SCH suggest that Kubalik not try that again.
- After all of the concussions issues that Andrew Shaw dealt with over the last year-plus, it had to feel extra sweet for him to get that goal late in the third period. Don’t know what his long-term future is with the team but that’s a feel-good moment in a season that may not have many of them.
- Dylan Strome had two assists (one primary) and could’ve had several more if Kubalik had been able to find the net on several prime scoring chances that Strome set up for him. A nice chemistry could be building between the playmaking Strome and the goal-scoring Kubalik.
- Let’s continue assembling the Ian Mitchell bandwagon: a team-high 62.50 CF% without allowing a single high-danger chance against in 13:28 of ice time at 5-on-5 play.
- Speaking of young defensemen, no offensive breakthroughs for Adam Boqvist this evening but not having any major defensive gaffes to explore is an acceptable performance.
- The Blackhawks looked like garbage for four games then returned home and beat a Red Wings team that was starting to look like a significant improvement over last season’s disaster. I can’t stop laughing. Detroit sucks.
- Kevin Lankinen (CHI) — 30 saves, first career NHL win
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Dylan Strome (CHI) — 2 assists
The Blackhawks will look for a weekend sweep of their Original Six rivals when they faced the Red Wings on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.