The Blackhawks closed out their five-game road trip with a 2-0 victory over the Blue Jackets on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The opening frame saw Columbus limiting the Blackhawks’ chances by pinning them to the outside and effectively forcing turnovers at the point. The Hawks tallied only three shots on goal during the period. Despite these struggles, they were still able to limit the Blue Jackets’ opportunities, ending the period tied with no score.
Midway through the second period, the tempo of the game increased and a six-minute stretch without a whistle showed a back-and-forth battle between both teams. While the upbeat transition game allowed for chances each way, there weren’t many highlights, aside from a few key saves by Malcom Subban.
Eight minutes into the third period, Chicago would take the game’s first lead on a goal from Patrick Kane.
Kane scored career goal No. 399 via wrist-shot from the right circle. The play materialized from a Calvin de Haan stretch pass received at the Columbus blueline by Mattias Janmark. Each earned an assist on the play.
Carl Soderberg scored his third goal in as many games, closing out the 2-0 Blackhawks victory with an empty-net goal.
Subban, who finished with 27 saves, earned his first shutout as a member of the Blackhawks.
- The Blackhawks struggled early on in their own end, while Columbus kept them to the outside and forced multiple giveaways. If this trend continues, the Hawks will have a hard time come March, when the majority of their schedule is made up of games against Tampa Bay, Florida and Dallas.
- The theme of inconsistent play at even-strength continues, as the Blackhawks once against struggled at 5-on-5. The possession numbers in the first and third periods were horrendous, ending with shot-attempt shares of 26.09 and 35.29 percent, respectively. The middle frame was an exception, although, they did not have much to show for it.
- While not getting the regular starts Kevin Lankinen has gotten, Subban has done an excellent job in his own right. He made a number of key saves on Thursday, baling out multiple blown coverages by a mostly inconsistent defense. He was the difference maker in a game that could’ve gone either way.
- Kane continued his bid for the Hart Trophy, closing out the road trip with nine points. He will have two chances to score career goal 400 against the Red Wings ... I’m having every bit of that.
- It seems that when things go wrong early on, Jeremy Colliton likes to get his line blender out before making adjustments to the game plan. There was a whole lot of shuffling around before settling on anything. He rolled out eight different line combinations tonight at even strength.
- Malcom Subban (CHI) — 27 saves on 27 shots
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 19:50 TOI
- Calvin de Haan (CHI) — 1 assist, plus-1 rating
The Blackhawks return to the United Center to host the Red Wings for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday.