Just before the first period ended, Chicago scored when Brandon Hagel displayed excellent hand-eye coordination by batting a puck out of mid-air back to Patrick Kane, who had one of the easier tap-in goals of his career:
Chicago scores, but was this a high stick from Hagel? That's going to need a longer look... pic.twitter.com/Ug9hVRYlYt— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) December 5, 2021
New York challenged the goal, but since Hagel did not score on that play, the fact that the puck came down below his shoulder height meant it was a legal play. After a quick review, the goal was upheld.
The Rangers controlled the majority of the second period, though. With Henrik Borgstrom in the box for a double-minor, Artemi Panarin did what Artemi Panarin does, threading this pass through Chicago’s PK for an easy tap-in goal from Ryan Strome:
New York’s momentum continued in the middle period, with significant stretches of play occurring entirely in the Chicago end. With a few minutes left, all that possession became a goal when Adam Fox fired home a rebound:
Kirby Dach nearly sent the game into the second intermission in a 2-2 tie, but this golden scoring opportunity hit Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev in the side of the head and stayed out of the net:
Chicago took a pair of penalties in the third which hampered its ability to find a tying goal and then Panarin made that search even more difficult by hopping on this rebound to make it a 3-1 Rangers lead:
The Blackhawks did have one last surge in them, though. Alex DeBrincat scored on this one-timer after a few fortunate bounces, although it appeared the final thrust that forced the puck into the net came when Patrik Nemeth pushed Kirby Dach onto the Rangers’ goaltender:
The tying goal never materialized, though, and the Rangers won 3-2.
Let’s discuss it, shall we?
- Much of the revisionist history around Panarin has been beaten beyond death at this point but there’s always going to be a bitter twinge whenever he does something cool or when he factors into all three goals in a Blackhawks defeat.
- As mentioned in the preview, the Rangers have been so heavily reliant on Igor Shesterkin in net that it seemed rather fortuitous for the Blackhawks to face the backup on Saturday night. But Chicago didn’t make Georgiev work hard enough in this game and that’s a shame, because Georgiev’s numbers this season have not been good.
- Speaking of goalies: felt like a solid performance from Kevin Lankinen, right? Hard to pinpoint any of the goals against and say he should’ve made the save.
- Considering the Blackhawks were without Connor Murphy and Jake McCabe, it wasn’t too bad of a performance, really. Some of the puck luck that went in Chicago’s favor on Thursday did not on Saturday, with multiple scoring chances ending with a shot off the post. The hockey gods can be fickle beasts.
- Saying it again: one of the biggest joys on this team is watching DeBrincat continue to be so good at hockey. His late goal was another delightful one-timer that is emerging as one of the league’s best. That said, someone else on this team needs to start scoring some damn goals consistently because he cannot do it all by himself. Kane had his first since Nov. 17 in this one and Kubalik notched one on Thursday, so maybe those two can get going more often. But this team desperately needs more scoring threats.
- Speaking of players who are having trouble scoring: go watch that Dach scoring chance above one more time. It seems like Dach made the decision from 20 feet away that he was going to blast the hell out of that puck as soon as he reached it. However, that seemed like a moment when Dach may have been better served by corralling the puck for a split second before shooting. With Georgiev starting his sprawl before Dach reached the puck, the net may have been even more open if he’d bought another moment or two. Perhaps it was an overcorrection from Thursday’s game when he waited too long with a golden opportunity that required a quick shot. But that’s indicative of a player struggling with confidence.
- Again, not too bad of a performance overall. Certainly could’ve mustered more offensively but they also did a decent job of keeping the Rangers to the outside. Even when New York controlled the puck for minutes at a time in the second, there wasn’t much traffic towards the middle of the ice, although that sustained possession piled up for too long and ultimately resulted in a goal against. But check out the heat map below: New York didn’t get to the front of the net much. Of course, the Hawks probably didn’t get there enough, either. Still, consistent efforts like this should result in wins more often than not. The issue, of course, is that the Blackhawks put themselves so far back with that dreadful October.
- Artemi Panarin (NYR) — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Ryan Strome (NYR) — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks stay out east and will face the New York Islanders on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m.