The Chicago Blackhawks failed to score in a 4-0 loss against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, the first game of a back-to-back set in the state of Florida. The loss moves the Blackhawks to three straight losses and a 24-34-10 record.
The Panthers appeared to have started the scoring in the game’s first minute, but a goal was called back as Aleksander Barkov was ruled to have put the puck in the net due to his foot in a kicking motion.
But April Fools! The Panthers still scored that first goal, just much closer to the end of the first period, as Barkov stickhandled in the crease, opening Delia’s five-hole and scoring. The Panthers have not been shut out this season, and the Blackhawks were highly unlikely to be the first team to do so.
NHL Video Highlight - Aleksander Barkov scores against the Chicago Blackhawks to make it 1-0. pic.twitter.com/B5InUgzXRZ— Chicago Blackhawks Bot (@BHawksGameBot) March 31, 2022
The Panthers continued pouring on the scoring in the second period, as Ryan Lomberg took the puck from his own blue line, streaked past Calvin de Haan, and bounced a puck off Delia’s glove and into the net to make it a 2-0 game.
NHL Video Highlight - Ryan Lomberg scores against the Chicago Blackhawks to make it 2-0. pic.twitter.com/rZnZUjLA8B— Chicago Blackhawks Bot (@BHawksGameBot) April 1, 2022
A little over four minutes later, former Blackhawks defenseman Gustav Forsling scored his third goal of the season as a shot from the point found the net due to a screen from Sam Bennett:
NHL Video Highlight - Gustav Forsling scores against the Chicago Blackhawks to make it 3-0. pic.twitter.com/jVI3vrx8k6— Chicago Blackhawks Bot (@BHawksGameBot) April 1, 2022
Who’d have thought the best offense in the league would produce a lot? Dalé.
Later in the third period, with Reese Johnson and Jonathan Toews both sitting in the penalty box, the Panthers scored on the 5-on-3 power play as Barkov shot a one-timer through the five-hole of Delia after a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau.
That would be the final score of the game, as the Panthers won 4-0.
- It’s not as if the Blackhawks didn’t try and win the game. At 5-on-5, the Blackhawks had the lead in shot attempts (60-56), scoring chances (29-27) and expected goals (3.42-3.38). However, it’s not as though the Blackhawks tried that hard either, down 18-13 in high-danger chances and 39-31 in shots on goal.
- In fact, when adjusted for score and venue, the Blackhawks’ performance becomes even less impressive, dropping to 29.49 shots on goal against 40.23 and 12.96 high danger chances to 17.65. The Panthers also took back the lead in expected goals when score and venue adjusted, 3.38 to 3.37.
- The Blackhawks did play well in the second period however — including a 69.87 xGF% in the middle frame — but the pattern of one good period and two bad ones in Blackhawk games remains.
- The line of Kirby Dach, Sam Lafferty and Henrik Borgstrom was alright against the Panthers, with a 58.13 xGF% and 71.43 SF% in 8:54 together at 5-on-5. That comes despite Dach getting flipped upside down by Radko Gudas in the second period on a rough looking hit — although Dach was fine for the rest of the game. The first line of Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, despite their lack of usual scoring, had a 67.48 xGF%, although the rest of their stats were negative. Still, they somewhat controlled for quality. However, both lines allowed a goal at 5-on-5.
- That Riley Stillman mistake that led to the called-off Barkov goal could have been disastrous and yet he still played 17:28 despite making that mistake in the first minute. Oh, and also despite a 16.65 xGF% when on ice at 5-on-5. In other news, Philipp Kurashev remains a healthy scratch and Ian Mitchell is in Rockford.
- This game was not really on Delia’s shoulders, as much as some goals he could have gotten back, including that Lomberg one. Delia faced 44 shots on goal and 3.98 expected goals against across all strengths, so giving up four goals is on par. Delia could have been better from medium danger (allowing two goals on eight shots) but made 12 stops on 13 high-danger chances. Not horrible.
- Alex DeBrincat continues to pick up expected goals, leading the team with 0.84 on Thursday, so hopefully he’ll be able to convert against Tampa. Dylan Strome and Taylor Raddysh were also both above 0.5 in expected goals.
- For individual forwards, the line of DeBrincat, Kane and Strome were among the team leaders in xGF% in this game, while de Haan, despite getting beat on the Lomberg goal, was the team leader in xGF% with 76.6. For the large part not a bad game, and in fact, in a loathsome game for the Blackhawks, one could argue de Haan was their best player.
- Just like, a very meh game all around. The Blackhawks did indeed try but were just clearly outmatched and kept putting the Panthers on the power play, including an unsuccessful challenge in the second period, with the bench minor served by — you guessed it — Dominik Kubalik.
- Aleksander Barkov — 2 G, 80% at the dot
- Sergei Bobrovsky — 37 SA, 3.83 xGA, SO
- Gustav Forsling — 1 G, 1 A
The Blackhawks head to Tampa for a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the first game against former Hawk Brandon Hagel at 6 p.m. on Friday.