In one of their most exciting games of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 Saturday night to bring their win streak to four games.
The first period very was loose defensively, so it was surprising that neither team scored.
The best chance for the Blackhawks was arguably late in the period when Jonathan Toews tried to go shortside, but Ryan Getzlaf hooked him just enough to prevent the Blackhawks captain from getting off a clean shot.
After no call on the play, Toews to the refs probably:
The first goal of the game came 5:33 into the second period to put the Blackhawks up 1-0.
As a penalty expired, Riley Stillman’s cleared the puck and it found Erik Gustafsson — who’d just gotten out of the box — at the other end of the ice, and he then connected with Brandon Hagel for the goal. Credit should also be given to Jakub Galvas for making an incredible goal-line save on a puck just moments before Hagel scored.
WHAT. A. SEQUENCE.— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) January 16, 2022
Hawks have the lead! pic.twitter.com/corutZosmm
Also of note about the sequence above was that Gustafsson was the only player to be called for a penalty despite a giant pile-up of Blackhawks and Ducks players, including one of the latter — Sam Steel — who “falls” on Marc-André Fleury and flops around a bit.
Flower not happy with this: pic.twitter.com/Rsx2VwgHK1— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 16, 2022
Fleury showed his disdain for that in a unique way:
Marc-Andre Fleury decides he wants to remove Sam Steel's helmet pic.twitter.com/EoqlaUZlm7— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 16, 2022
The other highlight of the period was Lukas Reichel almost scoring his first NHL goal as the period was winding down:
That wouldn’t be the last of the Blackhawks grade-A chances, and they doubled their lead on the power play 4:22 into the third period.
The Blackhawks once again turned near disaster into a goal: this time, they almost gave up a shorthanded goal against, but then Patrick Kane scored off the rush after a give-and-go with Alex DeBrincat.
The Ducks pulled their goalie with 3:36 remaining in the game, and Dominik Kubalik sealed the Blackhawks 3-0 victory with an empty-net goal just 15 seconds later.
Dominik Kubalik buries the Empty netter pic.twitter.com/Ott6zBqcto— Cubs And Blackhawks News 2.0 (@CubsBlackhawks2) January 16, 2022
- The Blackhawks have been very good at limiting high danger chances against since Derek King took over — they’ve averaged just 7.4 against per game at 5-on-5, second best in the league in that span. Tonight, the Blackhawks allowed that many by the 25-minute mark, and had their highest changes against (19) for the season. And this was against a Ducks team without two of his leading scorers playing on a second game of a back-to-back.
- That isn’t to say there were some great individual defensive efforts tonight: Galvas obviously saved a goal in the second period, Stillman had one of his best games of the season, and Murphy and de Haan were both top-notch. The Blackhawks just played more loose than usual, that’s all — but they still won, so there’s that.
- The Blackhawks also had one of their best offensive games in a while, generating nearly 20 high danger chances themselves, a new high for the season. So, of course, a rookie goaltender stoned them most of the game and only allowed two goals.
- Fleury also was outstanding in this game. Every goal came after some of the best chances the Ducks had, so Fleury kept the momentum firmly with the Blackhawks. He ultimately stopped all 37 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season. Fleury has also only allowed five goals during the Blackhawks current four-game winning streak. Nice guy, better goalie.
- Small sample, but Reichel looks legit. He’s obviously got some physical maturing still to do — he’s pretty reedy — but he already made positive adjustments from his first and second games. Can’t wait to see him in a year or so with the Blackhawks regularly.
- Toews had yet another outstanding game where he did everything well except score.
- Kane has now scored in back-to-back games, so maybe this is the start of him finding the back of the net more consistently. He’s still the spoon that stirs the drink for the Blackhawks offensively, but his lack of scoring has obviously been weighing on him. Hopefully Kane takes care of whatever has been ailing him over the summer and is ready to start next season.
- This is the second four-game win streak of the season. It’d sure be nice if they could keep this going because it’s been a while since they’ve strung together more wins than that:
A #Blackhawks win would be their 4th straight.— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) January 16, 2022
Last 5-game streak came two seasons ago.
Last one longer than that? A 7-gamer three years ago from Jan. 20-February 10.
- Tonight was actually quite an entertaining game. I mean, most of that was because there was some optional defense throughout, but it was definitely fast-paced and fun to watch. It’s been stated before, but if the Blackhawks could harness this type of offense-driving style with their solid defensive efforts from previous games, they’d be formidable against anyone.
- Ultimately, however the Blackhawks win, I’ll take it. As I’ve said before, I just want to see improvement and for them to end on a positive note. They’re trending that way currently, so hopefully they can keep it up. And if they can win while being as entertaining as tonight, even better.
- Marc-André Fleury (CHI) — 37-save shutout
- Lukas Dostal (ANA) — 33 saves on 35 shots, .943 save-percentage
- Brandon Hagel (CHI) — 1 game winning goal
The Blackhawks are back on the road to face the Seattle Kraken Monday afternoon for a 4 p.m. start.