On Tuesday, the Chicago Blackhawks extended their win streak to three games, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in a shootout. That’s two wins in a row against playoff teams, as well, for Chicago.
The Golden Knights started the scoring early in the first period, as Keegan Kolesar received a pass from Nicolas Roy down low and got the puck past Petr Mrazek:
Kole world pic.twitter.com/X69GgCFwca— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 22, 2023
Caleb Jones has to do a better job of defending the passing lane there. Kolesar was left with essentially a yawning net, and Mrazek had no time to move over after defending against Roy’s position.
Luckily, the Blackhawks responded later in the first period, as Cole Guttman scored his second NHL goal in two games.
̶c̶o̶l̶e̶s̶ goals in back to back games pic.twitter.com/pjzC0CUZ1E— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 22, 2023
Guttman outskates the veteran Shea Theodore, likely one of the best skating defensemen in the NHL, in order to get the puck on net. Solid effort from the rookie, recently moved up from Rockford.
The Golden Knights would get the lead back in the second period, as Jack Eichel sniped a puck past Mrazek after a string of turnovers in the neutral zone resulted in a pass to Vegas’s franchise center:
you've heard of Michael Jordan...— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 22, 2023
now get ready for EICHEL JORDAN pic.twitter.com/5epx26kVyi
With less than 55 seconds left on the clock, the Blackhawks would tie the game up on the power-play, as Alex Pietrangelo sat in the box for puck over glass. Tyler Johnson received the puck from Patrick Kane after a faceoff win by Max Domi and picked his corner.
TYLER JOHNSON TIES IT LATE IN THE THIRD! pic.twitter.com/uRGOFgj9Vt— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 22, 2023
After a goal from Kane, who took a loose puck coast-to-coast for what appeared to be the game-winner, the goal was ruled to have come after time had expired for the 3-on-3 session.
After a shootout where Mrazek blanked Vegas, Tyler Johnson won it for the Blackhawks, beating Laurent Brossoit.
- This Guttman kid can skate. After 30 points in 39 games with Rockford, he now has two goals in the NHL, and also won more than 54 percent of his faceoffs and generated 0.2 expected goals on Tuesday. LBR, on IceHogs duty, says he could be something, which is really all I need to hear to start getting on board the CG hype train.
- The Blackhawks held their own against one of the top possession teams in the league on Tuesday night, with a 56.52 percent high-danger share and 46.04 percent expected goal share. Those numbers may seem low, but from one of the worst possession teams in the league? That’s how you win a game.
- For what seems like the first time this season, .895 goaltender on the year Petr Mrazek stood on his head. Mrazek faced 2.79 expected goals against and eight high-danger shots and made seven saves and allowed just two goals. Mrazek finished the night with a .944 save percentage, nearly 0.5 better than his season average, and made all three stops in the shootout. That’s an important win for a goaltender looking to get his mojo back.
- Hell, Richardson’s even playing the kids now. On Tuesday, Philipp Kurashev played 25:43, behind just Kane, drawing a penalty and generating a takeaway even as Kurashev didn’t generate a shot on goal. Guttman played 13:39, more than four other forwards, and Isaak Phillips played 18:07, more than Jack Johnson. The team still played as good as it did in securing the win (against a much better team). If that doesn’t get the message across, maybe nothing will.
- The line of Kurashev, Domi and Kane played 16 minutes together at 5-on-5, leading in shot share (52 percent) and high-danger share (66.67 percent) while on ice. However, the line got dominated in terms of expected goals (0.77 to 0.43) and gave up one goal without scoring one at 5-on-5. The line of TyJo, Guttman and Taylor Raddysh dominated possession and scored the Blackhawks’ lone full-strength tally. Honestly, though, not a bad night for either of the Blackhawks’ top two lines.
- That’s how the Blackhawks need to play from here on out. Even if Mrazek isn’t consistently standing on his head like he did against Vegas, playing as competitively as the Blackhawks did tonight and using the kids as effectively will be important once several (expected) moves are made.
- Tyler Johnson (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A shootout goal
- Cole Guttman (CHI) — 1 G, 54.55 FO%
- Petr Mrazek (CHI) — 2.79 xGA, .944 SV%
The Blackhawks head south to Dallas for the second game of a back-to-back set against the Stars at 8:30 p.m. That will begin a road trip out west.