A blown two-goal lead and a failure to capitalize on several late power-play opportunities sent the Chicago Blackhawks to yet another loss on Wednesday night at the United Center: a 4-3 loss to the still unbeaten Carolina Hurricanes.
Remember when the Blackhawks started this season with the longest stretch of game time without ever having a lead? They continued bucking that trend when Patrick Kane flipped a puck up ice, Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov misplayed it and Alex DeBrincat capitalized with a breakaway goal just 1:35 into the game:
a cat in his natural habitat pic.twitter.com/LRnbrZ8YC6— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 4, 2021
Five minutes later, Derek Stepan tied the game at one and that’s how the first period ended: in a 1-1 deadlock.
Chicago’s advantage was restored early in the second thanks to a neat redirect from Kane after a Riley Stillman one-timer from the point:
NHL Video Highlight - Patrick Kane skates to the front of the net and manages to redirect a shot past Frederik Andersen to give the Blackhawks the lead. pic.twitter.com/xSvh4WGNu2— Chicago Blackhawks Bot (@BHawksGameBot) November 4, 2021
DeBrincat picked up his second goal of the game later in the second when Mike Hardman won a puck battle and dropped a pass back to Philipp Kurashev, who threaded a pass through a few Hurricanes to give DeBrincat an easy tap-in:
NHL Video Highlight - Mike Hardman fights off the defense, passes to Philip Kurashev, and Alex DeBrincat buries the final pass to get his second goal of the game. pic.twitter.com/3dAbJrAS3R— Hurricanes Gamebot (@HurricanesBot) November 4, 2021
Carolina cut that deficit in half when a mistimed pinch from Erik Gustafsson led to a breakaway for Seth Jarvis, who scored the first goal of his NHL career. The Blackhawks led 3-2 after two but that advantage only survived for #17Seconds of the third period when Jesper Fast tied the game. About three minutes later, Martin Necas scored on one that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will want back:
NHL Video Highlight - The Hurricanes cycle the puck to Martin Necas, who turns and fires home the go-ahead goal, 4-3 in the 3rd. pic.twitter.com/lAHLujJfFU— Chicago Blackhawks Bot (@BHawksGameBot) November 4, 2021
That was the game-winner, as the Hawks were unable to find a tying tally despite eight minutes of power play time in the third period.
Let’s talk about it:
- The whole debate around coach Jeremy Colliton’s system is a bit exhausting at this point but there should be more attention given to whatever hockey philosophy it is that Colliton employs when selecting his lineups: because it’s fucking awful. Let’s have Mark Lazerus of The Athletic summarize it because he did it well:
I get wanting some physical grinder types in the lineup. But putting Khaira AND Carpenter AND Reese Johnson AND Hardman AND Entwistle over Strome for a team that's fourth-worst in the league in goals per game, man, that's a CHOICE.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 4, 2021
Oh, yeah: Reese Johnson played FOUR MINUTES, FOUR SECONDS (4:04) in this game. Why even put him in the fucking lineup if that’s all he’s going to play? Waste of a roster spot.
- Need a positive? Go back and watch that Philipp Kurashev pass to DeBrincat, because it’s indicative of the potential within Kurashev. A lot of young players probably fire that puck on net immediately but Kurashev had the patience to corral the puck, the vision to find DeBrincat and then the skill to make the play happen for one of the easier goals of DeBrincat’s career. Here’s hoping for more of that from No. 23.
- Kirby Dach did not have a point in this game, which gives him one point in his last seven games. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he still has time. But it’d be awfully nice if there was something more tangible to point to regarding Dach than a handful of playoff games from the bubble in 2020 that keep getting farther away in the rearview mirror.
- The No. 6 power play in the league entering this game had eight freaking minutes to score a game-tying goal in third period and came up empty. Not ideal.
- Poring over the data at Natural Stat Trick, there have only been three games of the 11 played where Chicago has owned an advantage in 5-on-5 shot attempts and just two games where the Blackhawks had a higher percentage of 5-on-5 shots on goal or 5-on-5 expected goals. Until those numbers start improving, the results won’t. But we’ve been waiting for those results to improve for a few years now.
- Derek Stepan (CAR) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 2 goals
- Andrei Svechnikov (CAR) — 2 assists
The Blackhawks head north of the border for the first time this season to face the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night at 7 p.m.