The Blackhawks started the game very slowly, as the Blue Jackets took the first four shots of the game before the Blackhawks finally got a shot on goal more than eight minutes into the game.
The Blue Jackets’ early dominance likely led to them striking first, as Boone Jenner scored around Caleb Jones, collecting a pass and getting the shot off right next to the Blackhawks defenseman.
However, 24 seconds later, Alex DeBrincat scored his 22nd goal of the season to even the game up:
CAT GOAL! We are tied ‼️ pic.twitter.com/eRWcr4dPGG— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 12, 2022
The Blue Jackets took the first two penalties of the game after DeBrincat’s goal, with rookie Cole Sillinger slashing Philipp Kurashev and Patrik Laine high-sticking Kirby Dach. However, the Blackhawks were unable to do anything with those power plays and the first period ended tied 1-1.
The Blackhawks began the second period by taking two penalties themselves, as DeBrincat and Dach sat within five minutes of each other for the same thing: hooking Jenner. The Blue Jackets’ power play has as many problems as the Blackhawks’ does, so they also didn’t do anything with their four minutes of man advantage.
The Blackhawks would be the team to break the tie in the second period, as Kurashev chased a cleared puck, catching up to it before the Blue Jackets’ Adam Boqvist, then dishing it to Calvin de Haan for de Haan’s first goal this season:
Kurashev with the wheels pic.twitter.com/Q6cyZvCiw5— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 12, 2022
The Blackhawks added another tally in the third period, as a well-executed forecheck and good bit of passing led to a goal from Connor Murphy, his third of the season:
The sequence the goal *chef’s kiss* pic.twitter.com/K8tlNxMuNq— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 12, 2022
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane collected the assists on Murphy’s goal.
After Murphy’s goal, the Blackhawks were sent back to the power play where they remained unable to capitalize.
The Blue Jackets put the Blackhawks back on the power play later in the third period, and instead of capitalizing, the Blackhawks allowed a short-handed goal to Gustav Nyquist, making it a 3-2 game with 1:21 left to play.
But 66 seconds later, DeBrincat put away his own missed empty-net chance to make it a 4-2 game.
- What a debut for rookie defenseman Jakub Galvas, who played in his first NHL game. He played 23:40 — the second-most among Blackhawks skaters after Murphy — and that included 1:51 on the penalty kill. Galvas didn’t do much offensively — just one shot on four shot attempts, 0.06 expected goals — but Galvas allowed the fourth-fewest expected goals on the team, with the other three (Brett Connolly, Ian MItchell and Dominik Kubalik) all playing about five fewer minutes than Galvas.
- Speaking of MItchell, he cannot get any time whatsoever under any coach for the Blackhawks when he enters the lineup, apparently. Seth Jones was pulled into COVID-19 protocol before the game, having practiced Tuesday morning, and Mitchell was played in his stead. But Mitchell played just 9:12, the fewest minutes on the team, and when the defensemen playing 20 minutes to make up for his lack of shifts include the debuting Galvas, Riley Stillman and de Haan ... really?
- Gods, is this power play is bad. In 7:38, the 5-on-4 units generated just four shots (allowing two against), 0.48 expected goals (0.27 against) and allowed a short-handed goal instead of scoring one on the man advantage. Something’s gotta change, whether it’s the flow of the unit or the coaching or something. Maybe switch up the units a little, who knows. But this power play can’t keep playing this poorly.
- The penalty kill also wasn’t great, allowing three shots and 0.3 expected goals in four minutes, but it wasn’t horrible either, allowing no high-danger chances and no goals. They can do better, but with how much the penalty kill has struggled this season, it’s a good game by 2021-22 standards.
- Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 of 26 shots, facing 1.96 expected goals against. Both of the goals against came from high-danger and were goals he wasn’t the most responsible for. Two solid efforts since returning in the new year.
- Three of the lines played well in terms of expected goals, including Kurashev-Dach-Mackenzie Entwistle, which had a 53.74 percent expected goals share, Kubalik-Toews-DeBrincat, which had a 61.85 and Jujhar Khaira-Ryan Carpenter-Brett Connolly, which had a 68.53. The only line below 50 percent? Kane-Henrik Borgstrom-Dylan Strome, which also had a 18.18 percent Corsi share, only better than the fourth line.
- The defense did a good job of scoring in this contest, but that was because of the brilliant play leading up to those goals. Well done by the forwards in this game, especially before the Murphy goal and by Kurashev leading to the de Haan goal, to make the best plays and get the win.
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 2 G, 0.43 expected goals
- Jakub Galvas (CHI) — 23:40, 2 blocks
- Boone Jenner (CBJ) — 1 G, 2 penalties drawn
The Blackhawks head home for a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. The Canadiens haven’t played since Jan. 1 so the status of that game is questionable although Montreal’s Wednesday game against the Boston Bruins remains on schedule as of this writing. If the Hawks don’t play Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks head to Chicago on Saturday and that game should proceed as scheduled.