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Wasteland: Hurricanes 3, Blackhawks 0

Back to losing after the holiday break. Right on schedule.

Chicago Blackhawks v Carolina Hurricanes
Jalen Chatfield of the Carolina Hurricanes plays the puck ahead of Sam Lafferty of the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Yeah, that’s about right.

The Chicago Blackhawks ended their losing streak right before the holiday break. In their first game back, they may have started another one, as Chicago fell 3-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

The game could have been so much worse if the Hurricanes didn’t step off the Blackhawks throat after the first period, perhaps deciding it wasn’t worth the effort to keep icing their best players going full out. If they did make that assumption, it wasn’t a false one.

Anyway, the Hurricanes started the scoring in the first period, as Martin Necas tucked in a loose puck that got behind Petr Mrazek. Just a bad goal in general.

It’s a bad play from Mrazek for allowing the rebound instead of absorbing the puck, it’s a bad play from Connor Murphy for not locking down the puck, and it’s a good play from Necas for freeing the puck up for the goal.

Another bad play from Murphy would allow a second goal later in the first period, as Jesper Fast was able to bounce a puck off him and into the net for another bad goal.

Just disjointed defense from the Blackhawks in the first period.

The Hurricanes didn’t score in the second period, but restarted their dominance in the third period, Jordan Martinook collected another loose puck at net -front for the Hurricanes, making it a 3-0 game.

This time it’s on Seth Jones, but again, that puck needs to be collected faster than it was.

Notes

  • Good god, the best the Blackhawks did in this game was draw even in the second period, as the Hurricanes blasted the Hawks at 5-on-5 in the first period, 23 shots to seven and 2.4 expected goals to 0.49. There are full games when teams end up with 2.4 expected goals at 5-on-5. Carolina got it in the first period.
  • It’s beginning to feel like expecting this Hawks team to play any amount of defense is an unfair expectation. The defense was not on the ice much, if at all, in this game, allowing 3.66 expected goals against at 5-on-5 and 20 high-danger chances.
  • The Blackhawks mustering 21 shots and achieving just a 33.33 percent shot share in this game really says it all.
  • Mrazek faced 4.39 expected goals in this game, 18 high-danger chances and 49 shots. While he needed to be better in some moments, he still achieved a .939 save percentage. That’s good enough to win most games. The Blackhawks defense was non-existent and the goal support just wasn’t there. This feels like a 2022 Lucas Giolito outing.
  • When Jack Johnson is arguably one of the three best players for the Hawks, something has gone terribly wrong.
  • It’s a good thing this is a season where the young players can make a mistake because Isaak Phillips made a lot of them in this game. Phillips was on ice for all three goals against, charged with a giveaway and had his biggest contribution be two hits. His one shot on goal gained 0.01 expected goals and Phillips had a team-worst minus-27.87 relative expected goal share.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Antti Raanta (CAR) — SO, 1.89 xGA
  2. Martin Necas (CAR) — 1 G, 0.54 ixG
  3. Brent Burns (CAR) — 1 A, 24:37 TOI

What’s next

The Blackhawks head to their nearest rival for a game against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. The good news: St. Louis is not nearly as dominant as Carolina.