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Something In The Way: Blackhawks 5, Kraken 4

For the love of god, stop winning games.

Seattle Kraken v Chicago Blackhawks
Tyler Johnson of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after scoring against the Seattle Kraken
Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Not only are the Chicago Blackhawks (very likely) a bad team, they’re even bad at tanking, which may be even worse.

The Blackhawks picked up their third straight win on Sunday, besting the Seattle Kraken 5-4 at the United Center.

Seattle started the scoring, as Jack Johnson made a costly turnover in the offensive zone which eventually led to a Jared McCann goal the other way as the Kraken got an odd-man rush opportunity at 5:46 of the first.

Less than two minutes later, Seth Jones, who got caught in that odd-man situation, was stripped of the puck in his own end, allowing the Kraken to grab a two-goal lead less than halfway through the first period, as Andre Burakovsky scored his third goal with his new team.

The Blackhawks got back within one thanks to a shorthanded goal by Jujhar Khaira that was the result of an amazing forecheck and passing play by Khaira and Colin Blackwell.

Just astounding work to earn the Blackhawks’ fourth shorthanded goal in five games. The Blackhawks are better on the penalty kill this season than they are at 5-on-5.

The Blackhawks added a tying goal before the period was up, as Tyler Johnson scored on the power play with 42 seconds left in the first.

To start the second period, both the Blackhawks and Kraken scored within the first minute, making it a 3-3 game. Max Domi scored in his second straight game — also on the power play — as Jones and Patrick Kane each assisted on those power-play goals.

The Kraken then got a goal by Matty Beniers 19 seconds later before Vince Dunn gave the Kraken the lead a little over halfway through the second period.

Late in the third period, the Blackhawks were in need of a goal to tie and two goals to win.

They got both in 13 seconds.

Johnson scored off an assist from Toews with a little over seven minutes left in the game:

While Jason Dickinson then scored on an unassisted goal.

The Blackhawks held off the Kraken for more than six-and-a-half minutes to get the win, and now have a winning record on the young season.

Notes

  • For the love of god, stop winning games. Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli or Matvei Michkov will mean more to the long-term success of this team than a win over the Kraken in October. Sometimes a tanking team needs to lose a few games, and a winning record, even this early in the season, feels like an ill omen.
  • After an initial start that Alex Stalock did not deserve to lose, he got a win he did not deserve. Stalock made 30 saves on 34 shots, facing 3.08 expected goals against and allowed in two medium-danger shots. He finished the game with a .882 save percentage, significantly worse than his first start, so at least that’s a positive.
  • The Blackhawks’ best possession stat was their 60% high-danger share at 5-on-5, but don’t let that delude you into thinking they controlled quality. The Blackhawks had just a 41.71 percent expected goal share and were outshot 25-20 at 5-on-5. Both stats need to be better if this team thinks it can contend. Hey — if you’re gonna play like a team that doesn’t care about draft stock with a winning record, then you’re going to get talked about that way.
  • Martin Jones definitely deserved the loss more than Stalock did in this game, even if neither goalie deserved the win. The Blackhawks put up just 27 shots and Jones allowed five of them to enter the net. He faced just 2.35 expected goals and while Stalock allowed two medium-danger goals Jones allowed three.
  • Patrick Kane getting on the scoresheet again is significant, as he’s had a slower start to the season. He likely improved his trade stock again after that slower start, and his two assists on the power play, giving him now three assists on the season, significantly contributed to the Blackhawks winning that game.
  • The passing in this game from the Blackhawks’ side was immaculate. Again, that Khaira and Blackwell play is how shorthanded goals are scored, and the power-kill strategy from the Hawks early this season means whichever coach is running that unit deserves a tip of the cap (It can’t be Derek King after last year’s penalty kill, can it?).
  • Why did the Blackhawks get Dickinson that cheap? Just three games into his Blackhawks tenure he’s got more points than Patrick Kane and two goals. I know cap room plays a role, but if the cap is going up again next season I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dickinson traded to an actually contending team in need of more depth at this rate.
  • Jack Johnson is very bad and the Blackhawks are playing him 21 minutes a night. At least he got the memo that the Blackhawks are trying to be more active in the draft lottery. Another good sign was just how bad Jones was defensively in this game, although he wrecked that momentum with his offensive contributions.

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. Tyler Johnson (CHI) — 2 goals, 4 SOG, 0.5 ixG
  2. Jared McCann (SEA) — 1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG
  3. Jujhar Khaira (CHI) — 1 G, 0.2 ixG, 2 takeaways

What’s next

The Blackhawks remain home for a game against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.