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Ain’t it Fun: Blackhawks 2, Predators 1

The Blackhawks are now 1-0-0 with Derek King behind the bench.

Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Derek King is undefeated.

The Chicago Blackhawks interim head coach is 1-0 after his first game behind the bench ended in a 2-1 win victory over the Nashville Predators.

After a quiet opening period, Brandon Hagel put the Hawks ahead when he tapped home a loose puck that had ricocheted off the boards following a Seth Jones slapper from the point:

The lead didn’t last long, though, as Alexandre Carrier drove to the net for a game-tying goal just 110 seconds later — a goal that Kevin Lankinen likely wants back.

Lankinen made up for it with some dazzling saves in the third period, matching a few similar standout saves from Juuse Saros on the other other end:

Regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, but overtime did not thanks to this 2-on-1 rush from Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat:

For the first time in a while, a Blackhawks victory that can be thoroughly enjoyed. Let’s dive into it a little more, shall we?

Notes

  • The amount of skill on display by both DeBrincat and Kane during that 2-on-1 is worthy of multiple viewings. First, a perfect saucer pass by DeBrincat to get it by the Nashville defender. Next, a brilliant kick to the stick by Kane. Then, at the end, a one-timer from DeBrincat on a pass that wasn’t exactly in the wheelhouse. And all of that while skating at top speed. Just ridiculous talent.
  • As mentioned above, Lankinen was guilty of a soft goal on the one that he allowed but credit is also awarded for the saves he made in the third to keep the game tied at one.
  • Kirby Dach should start scoring goals so we don’t have to talk about him not scoring goals.
  • The only other downside from this game was the injury to Hagel during the third period. Any time a player leaves the ice in pain and immediately heads to the locker room is a bad sign, so fingers crossed that the injury isn’t serious.
  • After one of the Hawks worst games in several seasons from a possession standpoint, Sunday’s performance was much better. The teams were an even 43-43 in 5-on-5 shot attempts, but Chicago had the advantage in shots (22-21) and high-danger chances (12-7), resulting in a 54.89 percent share of expected goals. The quality and quantity were in the Blackhawks favor this evening — more of that, please.
  • The Erik Gustafsson situation should be fascinating to watch over the next few days. He only played 6:21 in this game and the TV broadcast said that assistant coach Marc Crawford was handling the line changes for the D-men. It’s easy to put two and two together here and suggest that perhaps the prior head coach was enamored by a guy who had a 60-point season back in ‘18-19 while the current coaching staff sees that as more of an outlier. With Wyatt Kalynuk inching closer to a return, Gustafsson could be due for a press box view of a game real soon.
  • Long way to go from here, but you can’t go anywhere without starting somewhere. Enjoy the win — it’s been a while since a Blackhawks victory came without some caveat attached to it.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — game-winning goal
  2. Kevin Lankinen (CHI) — 20 saves on 21 shots
  3. Juuse Saros (NSH) — 30 saves on 32 shots

What’s next

The Blackhawks stay home for a Tuesday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m.