I think there’s been a glitch.
The Chicago Blackhawks won their second-straight game on Thursday, defeating the Nashville Predators 2-1. The victory moves the Blackhawks two more points above Columbus Blue and San Jose and ties Chicago with Anaheim, which is... worrying.
The Blackhawks started the scoring in the first period with the flukiest of goals: a sliding Dante Fabbro, in an attempt at defense, put the puck in his own net.
for your intermission viewing pleasure: pic.twitter.com/2Vsgf8qR2K— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 17, 2023
Technically that goal goes to Lukas Reichel, his third of the season, but it’s not even really a shot on goal. Reichel clearly intended to get that puck over to Andreas Athanasiou and instead it bounces off Fabbro and into the net.
Be real nice if the Blackhawks’ worst defensemen could start doing that (cough Caleb Jones).
It would take until the third period for an actual, intentional goal to be scored. Joey Anderson camped out at the side of the net and received a pass from Boris Katchouk to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.
watch until the end pic.twitter.com/uq3b0Gstr0— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 17, 2023
A winning streak when it matters least: just what everybody in Chicago wants. I don’t care if it’s a hot crowd, the Blackhawks now stand a chance of ending their season with the fifth overall pick, as the Sharks have now firmly passed them in the Bedard sweepstakes. They are now tied with the Ducks.
If the Blackhawks end up with the sixth overall pick after this hell of a season, the boredom and suffering were for naught. Go back to losing games, for the love of god.
The Blackhawks did allow a goal late in the third period, but unfortunately, too late to fully swing the momentum. Roman Josi scored with a little over 24 seconds on the clock to make it a 2-1 game.
- Seriously, Alex Stalock is too good for this team when healthy and needs to take a chill pill. The Blackhawks’ netminder made 35 saves on 36 shots for a .972 save percentage and faced 2.54 expected goals against. He also saved all nine high-danger shots he faced.
- Boris Katchouk generated 1.31 expected goals in this game on three shots and 11 shot attempts. Katchouk also generated two high-danger chances and created a takeaway in the game. His pass to Anderson in the third period ended up winning the game for the Blackhawks.
- With Jonathan Toews out of the lineup, one of the big questions facing this team is who can win faceoffs. While Katchouk won the one faceoff he took, Mike Hardman won all three of his. Both are relatively surprising potential solutions. All other faceoff-takers won less than 40 percent of theirs.
- This wasn’t that fluky of a game for the Blackhawks to win, as for a wide swath of the contest Chicago was the better team. At 5-on-5, the Blackhawks created 56.17 percent of the expected goals in the second period and 64.7 percent in the third. All this despite the Blackhawks being outshot in all three periods.
- For once, it’s not the Blackhawks' defense receiving blame here for not helping their goaltender enough. I’m not here to yell at Nashville, though (but the Predators’ blue line does need to be yelled at).
- The Luke Richardson blender doesn’t appear to be as prevalent as the Blackhawks’ last two coaches, as he stuck with the same four lines throughout the night (though, to be fair, there was never really a reason to switch them around). Of those four lines, one clearly stood out above the rest — Anderson, Katchouk and Jujhar Khaira. In 11:48, the Blackhawks’ functional second line created 19 shot attempts to eight against and 0.6 expected goals to 0.3 against.
- One positive is that this is the Blackhawks’ first regulation win over Nashville in their last 18 games. Still, not a great time for it.
- Alex Stalock (CHI) — 35 SV, 2.54 xGA
- Boris Katchouk (CHI) — 1 A, 1.31 xG
- Joey Anderson (CHI) — 1 G, 2 takeaways
The Blackhawks head to the desert for a game against the Arizona Coyotes late Saturday night. That’s a must-lose game, because at this point getting back behind the Ducks may be impossible.