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Goodbye Sky Harbor: Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2

Another absymal night of Blackhawks hockey at the United Center.

Arizona Coyotes v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks turned in yet another subpar performance on Sunday night, losing 3-2 to the Arizona Coyotes.

Want some highlights? They mainly came during a pregame ceremony when Jonathan Toews was honored for playing in his 1,000 career NHL games, a feat he accomplished on Thursday night in Florida.

A slew of former teammates were in on the festivities, including one Marian Hossa:

The game was less enjoyable, although it started off well. Alex DeBrincat retrieved a loose puck from mid-air and fed it to Dylan Strome, who carried it into the zone and scored on the team that drafted him No. 3 overall in 2015:

Someone named Michael Carcone scored in the second period to tie the game at one and then Travis Boyd put the Coyotes up 2-1 in the middle of the middle period.

Chicago tied the game while on the power play in the third period, as a Patrick Kane point shot found the net, with a Strome screen of the goaltender helping matters immensely:

Regulation wasn’t enough to decide the game but overtime was, as Shayne Gostisbehere scored a power-play tally when his point shot hit off Toews before ending up behind Kevin Lankinen:

Something about this particular loss feels especially infuriating. So let’s get into it:

Notes

  • The Coyotes are an awful team. They’re deliberately tanking and were playing without their leading scorer and No. 1 defenseman. They entered this game with the lowest point total in the league — worse than the expansion Seattle Kraken! — and the preview from this morning explored their statistically abysmal nature.

And they beat the Hawks! For the second fucking time this season!

  • Chicago should be relegated just for the second-period performance alone. In the 16:45 of 5-on-5 play during the middle period, Arizona owned advantages of 23-18 in shot attempts, 15-5 in shots on goal, 13-9 in scoring chances and EIGHT TO ONE in high-danger chances. Arizona owned a 72.37% share of the expected goals in that period and, again, entered this game with the worst expected goal share in the entire NHL this season. Yet they carved up the Hawks for an entire fucking period.
  • It’s not just that the Blackhawks only have one line capable of scoring, they only have one line capable of doing ANYTHING on offense right now. The DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line generated 14 scoring chances in 16:40 together at 5-on-5. The other lines, playing 28:28, generated nine. In 5-on-5 shots on goal, the top line has 12 and the rest had seven. In high-danger chances, the top line had four and the rest had two.
  • The other infuriating part about this game is that Arizona’s coaching staff developed a sound strategy for defending the Hawks that worked quite well. Look at the heat maps below. Notice the lack of attempts in the low slot for Chicago? That’s because Arizona collapsed in the defensive zone and kept the Blackhawks to the perimeter. The 12-17-88 line was able to pick that apart at times and generate some offense but it completely stifled the other three lines, helping the Coyotes win. The Coyotes had a strategy, the players played within the confines of that strategy and it resulted in success. Would love to see the Blackhawks give that a try, for once.

These are the kinds of games that leave me entertaining the notion of this stated “rebuild” involving the complete destruction of this roster — yeah, even DeBrincat — because the current core of this team is so rotten that no part of it can be salvaged.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Shayne Gostisbehere (ARI) — GWG, assist
  2. Travis Boyd (ARI) — 1 goal
  3. Marian Hossa (CHI) — gracing us with his presence

What’s next

The Blackhawks have three days off before returning to the United Center on Thursday night to host the Seattle Kraken at 7:30 p.m.