Entering this contest, the Chicago Blackhawks had not defeated the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg since December 2018 and the last game between these two teams was the end of the Jeremy Colliton era.
So the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory — especially after a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday — may have come as a shock. How it came about, though, likely wasn’t, as the Blackhawks and Jets played a somewhat low-event game for much of the contest.
The Blackhawks got the scoring started when Patrick Kane received a pass from Kirby Dach while entering the offensive zone and put the puck through Connor Hellebuyck’s five-hole:
Kaner strikes first in the Peg pic.twitter.com/GY7iqbPi1I— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 15, 2022
Dach exhibited better blocking on that play than the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams did when running the ball.
Mark Scheifele evened the game as he came around the net and a bouncing puck found its way to him.
Alex DeBrincat beat Hellebuyck blocker side to make the game 2-1 a few minutes after Scheifele’s goal:
MEEEOOWWWW pic.twitter.com/UsK3qBOzWR— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 15, 2022
Brandon Hagel scored the empty-net goal, making the game 3-1, as the Blackhawks walked off with a Valentine’s Day victory.
- What a game for Marc-Andre Fleury, who posted 31 saves on 32 shots, facing 3.39 expected goals against in this one. The one goal he did allow seemed like this absurdist bouncing play that the defense could have done a better job on, and he was still standing when Scheifele made contact with the puck.
- Kirby Dach played 17:04, getting a primary assist and two shots on net for 0.17 expected goals, more than DeBrincat (four shots, 0.16 expected goals). Dach had the kind of game the Blackhawks need him to have more of.
- This was a boring contest for the vast majority of it, becoming much more exciting in the third period when three of the four goals were scored. However, compared to the lifeless performance from the Blackhawks the last time they played against the Jets, it’s a dramatic improvement.
- Apparently bumping Dominik Kubalik down to the third line (which played 11:58 at 5-on-5) wasn’t the worst idea, as the line generated 65 percent of the shot attempts they were on ice for and 61.01 percent of the expected goals. Kubalik, Sam Lafferty and Josiah Slavin generated four high-danger chances to just one against, and while it didn’t result in a goal, those were hard to come by for much of the game.
- On the other side, in six minutes at 5-on-5, the line of Dylan Strome, Kane and Hagel had just a 24.84 percent share of expected goals and gave up three shots against to zero generated. The Blackhawks need better from that trio.
- What was the point of pulling Jakub Galvas and Philipp Kurashev when Brett Connolly and Erik Gustafsson largely didn’t do anything in their place?
- Jake McCabe, in 14:52 at 5-on-5, had a 75.26 percent share of expected goals and a 61.54 percent shot share, which is a job well done for the usually defensive-minded defenseman.
1. Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A
2. Marc-Andre Fleury (CHI) — 31 saves on 32 shots (.969 SV), 3.39 xGA
3. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — GWG, 4 SOG
The Blackhawks head home for a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday at 7:30.