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Smile Like You Mean It: Golden Knights 5, Blackhawks 4 (OT)

The Blackhawks failed to capitalize on a three-goal lead heading into the third period but are still on a three-game point streak

Chicago Blackhawks v Vegas Golden Knights
Dylan Coghlan of the Vegas Golden Knights skates ahead of MacKenzie Entwistle of the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

While the Chicago Blackhawks dominated the game for most of the time against the Vegas Golden Knights, Chicago ultimately lost 5-4 in overtime as the Blackhawks allowed four goals in the third period.

Dominik Kubalik, who had not scored a goal since Jan. 26 and was scratched against the Kings, started the scoring with a shot from the point that deflected off a stick in front of the net:

It’s Kubalik’s first goal in 21 games, which seems to be a magic number lately with Kane’s 21st goal on Thursday.

The Blackhawks added a second goal in the second period as Jonathan Toews received a pass from Alex DeBrincat in the crease and tipped the puck past Logan Thompson:

The goal came after an extended period of play in the Blackhawks’ own zone.

Less than four minutes later, Thompson allowed a rebound from a Caleb Jones shot that found Dylan Strome, who scored:

The Blackhawks took a 3-0 lead into the third period.

The Golden Knights started the third period with a goal from Chandler Stephenson, who beat Kevin Lankinen blocker side. That goal was promptly followed, less than a minute later, by another Vegas goal as William Karlsson deflected a Dylan Coghlan point shot into the net.

The Golden Knights then tied it with a goal from Jack Eichel after Lankinen was pulled out of his net by Eichel’s stickhandling, leaving a yawning cage. The Golden Knights scored those three goals in 1:52 of game time.

DeBrincat went top shelf on Thompson to get the Blackhawks back the lead later in the third period:

However, less than a minute after DeBrincat’s goal, Alex Pietrangelo scored from the point when his point shot deflected off of Kirby Dach in front of the net.

In overtime, Evgeni Dadonov — the boomerang — scored to win the game for the Golden Knights 5-4.

Notes

  • I liked Derek King’s little cap and in a win it may have become the new Jeremy Colliton’s glasses.
  • The Blackhawks played a very good second period, with 14 shots to seven at even strength and controlled quality in both the second and third periods. This was not the poor game it looked like from the scoring sheet: at even strength, the Blackhawks actually came out ahead in shots (34-33) and tied in expected goals at 2.8.
  • The third period was not kind to Kevin Lankinen, however. The Chicago goalie ended the game with 29 saves on 34 shots but had made 17 saves on 17 shots before the final frame. Lankinen faced just 2.93 expected goals and eight shots from high-danger, making saves on seven.
  • The Blackhawks’ most important line of late remains the trio of DeBrincat, Strome and Patrick Kane, who accounted for three of the Blackhawks’ four goals in this game — including DeBrincat’s vital pass on Toews’s goal. The trio had a 75.63 expected goal share in 14:54 at 5-on-5, the only trio for the Blackhawks in positive territory in expected goals. The Blackhawks also outshot the Golden Knights 14-5 with that line on the ice.
  • This game could have been a lot closer a lot earlier had the Golden Knights converted on multiple rebound opportunities given up by Lankinen in the first two periods. This was a game where the Blackhawks’ defense could have stepped up a little more, as Lankinen ended up facing 74 shot attempts and 34 shots on goal. However, the Blackhawks also allowed 27.88 shots on goal at 5-on-5 when adjusted for score and venue. It’s a hard game to critique the skaters in front of the net for the Blackhawks.
  • DeBrincat led the team with 1.03 expected goals for on six shots, meaning he was seeing a lot of quality opportunities. DeBrincat had four high-danger chances and two rebound opportunities throughout the game.
  • This is a game that ends in a way that is disappointing for Blackhawks fans, but the team is facing a desperate Golden Knights’ squad and is all but eliminated from the playoffs at this point. Playing this close should be a sign of hope for the future and may have been winnable if, y’know, King played the hot hand.
  • Cause really, why the hell wasn’t Collin Delia in this game?

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Evgenii Dadonov (VGK) — GWG, 1 A
  2. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A
  3. Chandler Stephenson (VGK) — 1 G, 1 A

What’s next

The Blackhawks head home to take on the Buffalo Sabres on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the United Center.