The Blackhawks looked to extend their win- treak against the Red Wings to five games Saturday night. Despite having their best shot possession game of the season, the Blackhawks fell victim to too many mistakes and Jonathan Bernier putting on a goalie clinic in a 5-3 loss.
The first period opened with a strong push from the Blackhawks and they had a 9-2 edge in shots before the 10-minute mark. However, it was the Red Wings that struck first. Robby Fabbri powered through a failed check by Nikita Zadorov and passed to Bobby Ryan who didn’t miss from the slot.
It was the first time this season the Red Wings led the Blackhawks in five games.
The Red Wings rode their goal momentum into the second period, dictating play for the first half of the frame. The Blackhawks weren’t without chances, though. The best came from Patrick Kane, who was chasing goal number 400, but Jonathan Bernier denied him.
Instead, it would be another Blackhawk that hit a milestone for the first goal of the game — Alex DeBrincat scored with 6:07 left in the period. De Haan attempted a pass to Kane, but DeBrincat came off the bench to pick it up instead for a breakaway.
Unfortunately, the tie would be short-lived. Duncan Keith, Ian Mitchell, and Pius Suter all followed the puck-carrier below the goal line, leaving Darren Helm — who is apparently still on the Red Wings — completely alone out front for an easy tap to put the Wings up 2-1.
A few minutes later, the Red Wings got the first power play of the game. After going 0-for-40 on the power play in their last 14 games, Red Wings finally scored a goal with the man advantage. Christian Djoos was given all the space in the world thanks to a tentative penalty kill and he scored from the high slot.
The period would end on that embarrassing note with the Blackhawks trailing the Red Wings 3-1.
Less than three minutes into the third period, Evgeny Svechnikov scored to give the Red Wings a three-goal lead. After a turnover in the neutral zone and poor defensive coverage that allowed a few rebound opportunities against, Svechnikov jumped on a loose puck in the crease behind Malcolm Subban.
The Blackhawks would cut the lead to 4-2 as Mattias Janmark redirected the puck past Bernier off a pretty pass/shot off the rush.
Despite the Blackhawks mounting pressure, it was the Red Wings that scored again. Svechnikov held off Connor Murphy and fed Frans Nielsen in the slot to put the Red Wings back up 5-2 with 11:45 remaining.
The Blackhawks would get one back as Dominik Kubalik scored on his own rebound with 12 seconds left in the game, but they still fell to the Red Wings 5-3.
Kubalik adds a goal before the final horn. pic.twitter.com/51dvFusZqD— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 28, 2021
- Hockey karma bit the Blackhawks tonight — they had one of their best shot possession games of the season and dominated in terms of scoring chances, but they were stonewalled by a goalie and the Red Wings were able to capitalize on mistakes to take the win. As much of a reverse of the Blackhawks usual games as you can get.
- Subban did not have a good game — giving up five goals is never good — but some of the breakdowns that happened in front of him were pretty major. Despite bleeding quantity and quality shots against in many games this season, this is the first time in a while the Blackhawks gave so much time and space to opposing players in and around the slot. Hopefully that’ll be back on track next game.
- The penalty kill has been mediocre statistically this season — they’re 17th in expected goals against per 60 (6.39) — and have been as reliant on the goaltenders as they have been at 5-on-5, so it’s not surprising that even the offensively inept Red Wings could break their 14-game power play drought against the Blackhawks on an off-goalie night. Still, it’s pretty embarrassing.
- On the bright side, the penalty kill doesn’t typically have two bad games in a row so hopefully they’ll rebound like usual Sunday night.
- Other good news is that the Blackhawks never quit. They continued to show that “we can do it” attitude that has become a hallmark of this season, generating a season-high 48 scoring chances and 16 high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5. Against a lesser goalie, they likely pull out a win.
- It was also good to see the Blackhawks score a few goals at 5-on-5, especially since they’ve had only two power play opportunities in their last two games. It’d be nice if one of those wasn’t in the final seconds of the game, though.
- Even though Kane didn’t score his 400th goal, it was great to see DeBrincat reach 100 goals. This is also the fastest DeBrincat has reached double digital goals in a season — five games sooner than in his rookie season.
- Jonathan Bernier (DET) — 33 saves on 36 shots
- Evgeny Svechnikov (DET) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Robby Fabbri (DET) — 2 assists
The Blackhawks face the Detroit Red Wings again Sunday at the United Center for a 6:00 p.m. start.