The Blackhawks opened their six-game homestead with back-to-back losses, including a 1-0 defeat in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Friday night.
There isn’t much to say about the first 20 minutes of the game except that, technically, hockey was played.
Things started to heat up in the second period — at least, for Marc-André Fleury, as he and his posts put in some strong work to keep the Stars off the board. Although there were several highlight-reel worthy saves, the best of the bunch was when Fleury robbed Roope Hintz so hard that the Stars forward will be seeing that steal in his nightmares:
U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E pic.twitter.com/cz0w0mlw3p— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 19, 2022
And as always, Fleury took a moment to praise and thank his hardest working teammates:
Flower and the posts ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9LIMhxQLGc— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 19, 2022
The third period turned tepid again. The only thing worth noting the entire period was MacKenzie Entwistle being inexplicably squirted with water by Jamie Benn after the Blackhawks rookie was checked into the glass:
MacKenzie Entwistle goes awkwardly into the boards. Jamie Benn adds insult to injury pic.twitter.com/aiafw4wdvW— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 19, 2022
And because it was inevitable, the Blackhawks and Stars were 0-0 after regulation and overtime, so the game was forced to be decided by a shootout. Despite it going by quickly, the game still felt like one of the most drawn out affairs this season.
Heading to OT: Blackhawks 0, Stars 0— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 19, 2022
Hawks' first game to finish regulation 0-0 in more than 5 years (last time 12/9/16 vs. NYR).
Alex DeBrincat got the Blackhawks on the boards in the shootout:
Here's the goal by DeBrincat. The shootout continues pic.twitter.com/NddEsPoH7F— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 19, 2022
But unfortunately, it was the lone goal for Chicago while the Stars scored twice in the six-round shootout, and so the Blackhawks fell 1-0. Hey, at least the game is over, right?
- Low-event hockey doesn’t have to be boring per se, but it definitely was in this game outside of Fleury’s heroics in the second period. Is it me, or does this season seem to have far more boring/unwatchable games than usual? Even many of the wins are, “meh.”
- Speaking of Fleury though, he was obviously the best Blackhawks player tonight. If he is traded, I hope that he goes to a team that has a legitimate chance of winning the Cup. If there was ever a player in the league that deserved it, it would be Flower.
- The other big note tonight was that top prospect Lukas Reichel played in his third NHL game and looked solid. He even survived his first big hit as he was launched into the Stars bench in the second period, but he didn’t seemed phased at all:
Derek King on the hit Lukas Reichel took from Jani Hakanpaa: “That’s a big hit. That’s a big guy. Reichs is, what, 130 pounds soaking wet, right? But he took the hit, came back and he didn’t shy away from anything.” #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/My0qFaVnkE— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) February 19, 2022
- Other positives were that the Blackhawks did have solid puck possession throughout the game, especially in the first period — a feat that’s encouraging, considering how rare they have good starts to games and this was the team’s second game in as many nights. At 5-on-5 play in the first period, Chicago owned a 71.88 percent share of the shot attempts: one of the best periods all season in that regard. And there haven’t been many shot charts like the one below this season.
- The top two lines for the Blackhawks were very good when it comes to possession-based numbers. In terms of of the shot attempt share in regulation, Hagel, Reichel, and Kane were at 64.29 percent in 13:16 while DeBrincat, Strome, and Kubalik were at 93.75 percent in 10:45.
- Still, while it’s good that the Blackhawks didn’t roll over in this game — something they did just last night — they also never really felt dangerous either. If they have to lose, I’d rather it be in high-scoring, defense-optional affairs rather than whatever happened tonight.
- P.S. Why was Jake McCabe used in the shootout? Apparently he was “hot” in shootout practices this week, but ... come on now.
- Marc-André Fleury (CHI) — 34 saves on 34 shots, magic
- Jake Oettinger (DAL) — 29 saves on 29 shots, technically won
- The fans that stayed awake in the stands (CHI) — how did you do it?
The Blackhawks continue their six-game homestead against the Florida Panthers Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the United Center.