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Understanding in a Car Crash: Devils 4, Hawks 3

A late Blackhawks flurry forced overtime but it wasn’t enough to pick up the win.

Chicago Blackhawks v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are still searching for their first win of the season after losing 4-3 to the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

New Jersey scored just 17 seconds into the game, as a Blackhawks turnover led to a Devils scoring chance that was finished by offseason signing Dougie Hamilton. That lead held until the first minute of the second period, when a Chicago power play opportunity was capitalized upon by a few familiar faces:

Jack Hughes scored for New Jersey late in the second and Andreas Johnsson scored at the 6:34 mark of the third to make it a 3-1 Devils’ lead. With the Blackhawks’ offense mustering a whole lot of “not much” for most of the second and third periods, this one appeared destined for a regulation defeat.

To their credit, the Hawks rallied late. First, while on a four-minute power play, Kirby Dach tapped home a rebound:

Then a brilliant keep-in by Seth Jones and an excellent pass from Brandon Hagel set up Dominik Kubalik for the game-tying goal in the final minute:

Chicago earned a point by forcing overtime. That was all it’d get, with Hughes showing why he was a No. 1 overall pick with this smooth GWG in OT:

The Hawks got a point they probably didn’t deserve but got a point nonetheless. Let’s talk about it:

Notes

  • All of the 5-on-5 stats were in Jersey’s favor: 25-17 in shots, 29-20 in scoring chances, 12-8 in high-danger chances, all adding up to a 64.62 percent share of the expected goals for the Devils. Not good.
  • The Blackhawks scored twice on the power play, which is certainly a good thing. They added the tying tally with the net pulled, meaning it was 6-on-5. That means that, through two games, the Blackhawks have ONE goal at 5-on-5 play and it came while the team was already down by three goals. This has been an all-too-familiar development in the Colliton era: poor 5-on-5 play with the only saving graces coming either on the power play or through exceptional goaltending performances. It’s not a model for sustainable success in today’s NHL. Yet, here we are again.
  • Not Kevin Lankinen’s best night but he also made a handful of decent saves that kept the game close. Not going to pin too much on him.
  • Jake McCabe and Connor Murphy seem like they’d be a pretty good shutdown D pairing. But a rash of turnovers and miscommunication between the two made for a rather subpar performance from this duo. Willing to give it another look but a game film they’ll probably want to burn.
  • On the positive side of things, Seth Jones was very noticeable in multiple offensive situations, particularly the game-tying goal.
  • It’s one thing to get roasted by a team like Colorado that has very legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations. But New Jersey has made the playoffs once in the last nine seasons and hasn’t won a postseason series in almost a decade. This is not a very good team. And the Blackhawks barely mustered anything against them until the final minutes of the game, down two goals. It should not have been that difficult to get a point.
  • Something is off with this team. Everything feels disjointed save for, maybe, the power play. Yeah, there are a ton of new faces and the team’s captain is back after missing an entire season. Fine. But New Jersey’s big offseason signing didn’t have a problem scoring in his first shift with his new team, did he? This team has to figure things out fast. The Central Division is too good and too deep this season: any team who falls behind early will find it wildly difficult to catch up.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Jack Hughes (NJ) — 2 goals
  2. Dougie Hamilton (NJ) — 1 goal
  3. Kirby Dach (CHI) — 1 goal

What’s next

The Blackhawks stay out east for a Saturday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with the puck drop at 6 p.m.