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Sabotage: Islanders 3, Blackhawks 1

The Blackhawks are doing their damndest to get back in the Conor Bedard race.

New York Islanders v Chicago Blackhawks
Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders saves a shot on goal by Andreas Athanasiou of the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks lost an unexciting game Tuesday against the New York Islanders, falling 3-1 and not scoring a goal until the third period.

The game started with some rough play, as Casey Cizikas collided with Alex Stalock near Stalock’s net. Stalock left the game after getting his mask off, and Cizikas was given — after lengthy discussion — a game misconduct and five-minute major for the play.

The Blackhawks were not able to do anything with the five-minute power play, as they registered just three shots by the time it had ended. Later in the game, Andreas Athanasiou made somewhat similar contact with Ilya Sorokin, but Sorokin was not injured on the play. Athanasiou was given a minor penalty.

The Islanders started the scoring late in the first period, as Islanders captain Anders Lee directed a loose puck past Arvid Soderblom — who came in as relief for Stalock — and into the net.

After a scoreless second period, the Islanders built on their lead early in the third period, as Brock Nelson scored his fourth goal on the season to make it 2-0 Islanders.

The Blackhawks, after coming up unsuccessful on the five-minute major power play, found success in the third period to finally get on the board. Jonathan Toews redirected a shot from the point by Caleb Jones into the net, making it a 2-1 game with a power-play goal.

However, that’s all the scoring Chicago would do. With about 14 seconds left on the clock, Zach Parise shot the puck from long-distance into the empty net, making it a 3-1 final.

Notes

  • What a game from Arvid Soderblom, coming in as relief for Alex Stalock just three minutes into the game. Soderblom faced 30 shots on goal in a little over 55 minutes, faced nine shots from high danger and allowed no goals from medium or low-danger. That’s the kind of game you want from the young goaltender in order to prove his mettle going forward.
  • In 12:58 of power-play time, the Blackhawks had five shots and 0.42 expected goals. In 8:08 of man advantage time in the first period alone, the Blackhawks had just 0.18 expected goals (0.13 in the second and 0.12 in the third), three shots on goal and both a high-danger chance for and against. The power play needs to be better, and if they had better capitalized on their opportunities with the man advantage, the Blackhawks may have snapped their losing streak.
  • That power play is where the loss of Seth Jones may be felt most. While the younger Jones got an assist on the power play, the unit was clearly missing a spark and a better defenseman at the point may be that spark, or it could be Tyler Johnson not truly being replaced in the lineup in terms of production. Or both.
  • This is the boring kind of game you want to avoid in a tanking season. If you’re going to lose, at least make it fun, and the Blackhawks fell into the Islanders’ trap of a boring 2-1 game (late empty-net goal notwithstanding), the kind of game they used to always win under Barry Trotz and may continue to do so under Lane Lambert.
  • Not the most disciplined game for the Blackhawks either, pretty much ending the second half of the first period always on the penalty kill (with penalties at 11:44, 14:58 and 17:23). Still, it took three chances in a row for the Islanders to finally get something to stick on the power play, and that’s not horrible to see from the Blackhawks, especially down their first defenseman.
  • You’ve gotta get better results out of that first line if the Blackhawks are going to remain competitive in games and a general malaise radiated off of Philipp Kurashev, Taylor Raddysh and Toews in this game. The line had a 16.67% shot share and 49.57% expected goal share in a little over nine minutes together.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Brock Nelson (NYI) — 1 G, 1 A
  2. Arvid Soderblom (CHI) — 30 SA, 2.56 xGA, 9 HDSA
  3. Ilya Sorokin (NYI) — 22 SA, 1.58 xGA

What’s next

The Blackhawks stay home for another game, this time against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.