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No Closer to Heaven: Blackhawks 4, Flyers 1

This was not part of The Plan™.

Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Remember, folks: sports and logic are rarely compatible.

How else to explain this Chicago Blackhawks team being the one that ends a 27-year drought, winning a regular-season game in Philadelphia with a 4-1 win over the Flyers on Thursday night?

Philadelphia even scored the first goal! Morgan Frost opened the scoring with this tally about nine minutes the game:

That was the last Flyers’ goal of the game.

The Blackhawks didn’t get on the board until the middle of the second period, when Jonathan Toews tied the game with this nifty redirect of a Seth Jones point shot:

Chicago’s fourth line put the team ahead for good about six minutes later when Colin Blackwell jumped on a Flyers’ turnover and passed to Reese Johnson for this go-ahead goal:

The Flyers nearly tied game in the final minutes of the second after Ian Mitchell had a blowout at the blue line, leading to a 2-on-1 that triggered a chaotic scene which included a dazzling glove save by ... Caleb Jones? Yeah, Caleb Jones:

On the opening shift of the third period, Patrick Kane’s shot led to a Tyler Johnson rebound that made it a 3-1 Blackhawks lead:

The Flyers had most of the shots in the third period but not really any golden scoring chances, keeping the Hawks’ two-goal lead intact. Philipp Kurashev then provided the dagger with this empty-netter:

And that was it.

Oh, one more thing: here’s Tony DeAngelo being mad. Let’s laugh at Tony DeAngelo being mad:

Notes time!

Notes

  • Usually not one to toot my own horn — and check the time on the tweet — but ... *beep beep*:
  • The Reese Johnson goal was the result of a pretty egregious turnover by the Flyers but credit to the Hawks’ fourth line for taking advantage of an opponents’ mistake, which is something that feels like an extremely rare occurrence this season. Johnson’s ceiling is almost certainly as an NHL fourth-liner but there are moments like that when he looks closer to actually reaching it, which was not the case in his rookie season — and he would not be the first rookie guilty of that.
  • This was such an odd game. Philadelphia had the better of the possession even before the score effects of the third period are factored into the equation. But it also felt like the Flyers never really did anything with all that possession. It seemed like the only scoring chances of any significance were the goal by Frost and the one that resulted in that Caleb Jones save.
  • Apologies for sharing this bummer of a thought, but we’re all friends here, so: the realization that any Jonathan Toews goal in the next month or two could be the last Jonathan Toews goal in a Blackhawks uniform was not a pleasant one to have.
  • That Mitchell blowout at the blue line in the video above feels like it means he’s destined for the press box at the next game. Probably needs to play better but also probably needs more than just a random game here and there to develop any sort of rhythm or consistency at the NHL level. Still seems like he’s thrown into a trade at or near the deadline in March to for a disappointing end to that chapter for everyone involved.
  • Obviously, this was not the expected result and a fifth win in the last six games spoils some of the pursuit of what’s the clear best-case scenario for this season — but it’s FAR from a dagger. That 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche team that finished with 48 points in an 82-game season had a 4-2 stretch in November. Sure, Chicago is 5-1 in its last six but its also 7-21-1 in the last 29. The last few weeks feel like a bit of a market correction from that unsustainably bad period in November and December. Don’t get too concerned ... yet.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Petr Mrazek (CHI) — 37 saves on 38 shots
  2. Reese Johnson (CHI) — GWG, 11:16 TOI
  3. Morgan Frost (PHI) — 1 G, 16:51 TOI

What’s next

The Blackhawks head west to Missouri to face the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night at 7 p.m.