Well that was fun, wasn’t it?
The Blackhawks completed a weekend sweep of their oldest rivals on Sunday afternoon with a 6-2 blowout of the Red Wings at the United Center.
The first two goals came in the first period off the stick of rookie Pius Suter, the first two goals of his career.
Chicago took that 2-0 lead into the first intermission but lost it quickly in the second period. With two Blackhawks in the box, Tyler Bertuzzi scored for Detroit to make it a 2-1 game.
The score remained that way for much of the second period until Connor Murphy restored that two-goal advantage with this wrist shot from the point through a bunch of traffic:
In the opening minute of the third period, the Red Wings elected for the bold strategy of letting Patrick Kane skate through the offensive zone mostly uncovered and he did what Kane does: found a teammate for an easy tap-in goal. Mattias Janmark was the beneficiary and Chicago went ahead 4-1.
Bertuzzi added a second power-play goal in the middle of the third period to give the Red Wings brief thoughts of a comeback. Those were dashed by Suter 49 seconds later, as the Swiss rookie buried this chance on an odd-man rush to complete the hat trick:
Philipp Kurashev added a sixth goal to punctuate the blowout and Chicago’s second consecutive win.
- Welcome to the NHL, Pius Suter. There was some evidence of his offensive ability displayed when he made that spinning backhand pass to Kane on a goal that was later disallowed. The encouraging part is that the three goals all came in different manner. The first was the result of being in position to capitalize on a potential rebound. The second happened because of his ability to read the play and anticipate a potential passing lane from Mattias Janmark. The third was just beating an opposing goalie with a wrist shot during a 2-on-1. It suggests that more goals are to follow.
- Another steady, solid performance from Kevin Lankinen in net. His name won’t appear in many headlines thanks to Suter’s performance but he did his job in net again, which is more than he could said for the first four Blackhawks games this season. Very encouraging signs from him.
- A personal favorite part of the game was the Blackhawks ability to slam the door in the third. Yes, they did allow that initial goal in the first minute but they owned 5-on-5 play in the final 20 minutes with advantages of 17-7 in shot attempts, 12-4 in shots on goal, 11-3 on scoring chances, 9-1 in high-danger chances and 3-0 in goals (all courtesy of Natural Stat Trick). That’s how you finish a game.
- Overall ice times of 12:46 for Dominik Kubalik and 12:15 for Kurashev still feel low, especially considering that Carl Soderberg surpassed both at 13:48.
- Let’s keep this in perspective though. Sure, it’s hilarious how bad the Red Wings were in the last two games. In fact, let’s take a moment to point and laugh at Detroit ...
... that was fun. To be fair (to be faiiiiirrrrr) to the Red Wings, they were missing five players who were on the COVID list for both of these games, so it’s fair to assume that this was not Detroit’s best possible output. Still, credit must be given to the Blackhawks for winning the games on their schedule and the mood around this team is a helluva lot better than it was before Friday. Nothing wrong with enjoying these two wins but don’t go seeking out playoff odds just yet. Growing pains for this young and inexperienced of a lineup are likely awaiting over the final 50 games.
- Pius Suter (CHI) — 3 goals (including first career NHL goal)
- Mattias Janmark (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Connor Murphy (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks head back to the road for two games in two nights against the Predators, starting with Tuesday’s 7 p.m. start.