To be honest, this may have been the hardest Blackhawks game to focus on in a long time. On the ice, the Blackhawks are struggling to find footing so far in the NHL season, taking the title for the longest start to an NHL season without a lead during an 0-5-1 start.
The Blackhawks ended that streak of going without a lead, as Kirby Dach scored early, giving the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. However, the Blackhawks ultimately failed to capture their first victory, losing in overtime to the Maple Leafs 3-2.
Dach started the scoring with a hell of an effort, working his way through the Maple Leafs defense to score his third goal of the season:
Kirby Dach gives us a 1-0 lead pic.twitter.com/5si7Yr1lf8— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 27, 2021
Dach’s goal came on the power play and was assisted by Phil Kurashev, his first assist of the season, and Seth Jones. Later in the first period, Alex DeBrincat received a stretch pass and skated into the offensive zone all alone to make it a 2-0 game:
DeBrincat makes it 2-0 pic.twitter.com/brBVtl2j84— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 28, 2021
In the second period, a pass from Morgan Rielly found John Tavares all alone in the slot — as Jonathan Toews was late getting back — and Tavares put it over Kevin Lankinen’s shoulder:
Captain picking corners #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/mcEcwSeSGG— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 28, 2021
That goal started the comeback for the Maple Leafs, who got their second goal from former Blackhawk David Kampf more than halfway through the third period:
Kämpf in the clutch #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Zrf4hf2cYN— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 28, 2021
The two teams then headed to overtime, where the Leafs would eventually get the game-winner from William Nylander, beating the Blackhawks 3-2.
- Despite the loss, this may have been the finest performance by a Blackhawks goaltender yet this season. Lankinen faced 2.43 expected goals against and 39 shots. However, the Blackhawks defense did a good job of limiting the Maple Leafs’ offense — which already struggles with generating high-danger chances — and keeping them to the outside. They generated just four high-danger chances and Lankinen made three saves. The other two goals came from medium-danger areas.
- While the Blackhawks limited the Maple Leafs to just four high-danger chances, they themselves generated just three. The Blackhawks continue to struggle to generate offensive pressure at 5-on-5 and they were outshot 28-19 as the Leafs created 1.77 expected goals to the Blackhawks’ 1.54. The offense has to get better if the Blackhawks are going to do anything this season, and relying on the power play is proving incapable of providing victories.
- That Dach goal is exactly what you want to see out of the young center, but it would have been nicer to see Dach build on that early tally. Dach had just that one shot and continues to lose more faceoffs than he wins. The loss isn’t on his shoulders, but it’d be nice to see the kid start to build on strong offensive performances and start to do the things a center needs to do in order to be successful up the lineup in the NHL.
- Phil Kurashev got a primary assist on Dach’s goal on the power play and proceeded to play just 9:55 (and yes he took a penalty but at the same time there was some pushing before he crashed into Jack Campbell). Ian Mitchell was one of just six defensemen and yet played just 8:09. When Mike Hardman is out there playing 12:24 when the Blackhawks are struggling to generate offense, it’s hard to see Jeremy Colliton lasting a millisecond once the Blackhawks are in capable hands.
- David Kampf has more goals on the season than Toews.
- William Nylander (TOR) — GWG, 1 drawn penalty, 1 takeaway
- Jack Campbell (TOR) — .931 SV%, 2.49 xGA
- Kevin Lankinen (CHI) — .923 SV%, 2.43 xGA
The Blackhawks play a road back-to-back set against the Hurricanes and Blues on Friday and Saturday, respectively.