Go To Sleep: Islanders 4, Blackhawks 1
The Blackhawks aren’t really good at this hockey thing yet, are they?
The Blackhawks are now 0-3-1, and started the home part of their season off on the wrong foot, falling to the Islanders 4-1 on Tuesday night at the United Center.
At least — like a CM Punk knee to the face — it felt quick. The Blackhawks again failed to win a game, but also failed to lead for a single second — another thing they haven’t done yet this season.
Hey, at least MacKenzie Entwistle scored.
The Islanders scored their first goal after a play behind the net:
🚨 BEAUVILLIER 🚨 pic.twitter.com/FD6cgBuxz6— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 20, 2021
While he didn’t get an assist, Oliver Wahlstrom did help on that play. He’d get on the scoreboard later in the game, after Henrik Borgstrom coughed up the puck:
loveeee this 😍 pic.twitter.com/2V9N4OEtSY— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 20, 2021
And then do it again:
Goal ✌️ for Wahlstrom pic.twitter.com/Ehu3n1oHpb— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 20, 2021
So I doubt very much he minded not getting that assist.
The Islanders scored their fourth goal after Riley Stillman fell near center ice (which was a pattern in the game, yet again, so perhaps this instead a trend. Alex DeBrincat collapsed in the neutral zone just a few minutes prior).
LET'S GOOOOO! pic.twitter.com/JG5SdRwWU3— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 20, 2021
Entwistle scored his goal with 26 seconds left on the clock, getting assists from Kirby Dach and Erik Gustafsson.
Entwistle goal 🚨 pic.twitter.com/i6jhrhNvgA— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 20, 2021
Jeremy Colliton started the game by getting booed and ended the game by ... getting booed. To be fair to the fans who participated in both rounds, nothing much changed for the Blackhawks during the 60 minutes of game action besides adding another tally to the wrong column.
The remaining fans boo the team off the ice. Rough times for the Blackhawks. pic.twitter.com/mwFSnDe3Rb— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 20, 2021
- The good news: the Blackhawks dominated 5-on-5 possession metrics, including a 57.41 percent shot share and 62.58 percent expected goal share, largely due to a much better first period when the Blackhawks outshot the Islanders 12-4 at 5-on-5 and generated 0.67 expected goals to the Islanders’ 0.24.
- Alex DeBrincat continues to generate shots and chances in his pursuit of a second goal on the season. DeBrincat led the team with 0.62 expected goals (0.29 of them at 5-on-5), but looked snakebitten against Ilya Sorokin, who came within half a minute of a shutout against the Blackhawks. He needs a competent assist man, which Borgstrom may not be.
- The line of Brandon Hagel, Dach and Patrick Kane did what they were supposed to and — against lesser competition — posted a 64.56 xGF% and 60 CF%. Those are good numbers. Dach looked good during the game, especially early on on the penalty kill, and set up DeBrincat for a solid breakaway chance shorthanded. That unit could do something and, given more time, this line at 5-on-5 could develop into something.
- Colliton’s theory that it’s better to be hard to play against than, y’know, productive probably didn’t turn out as he hoped. Mike Hardman left the game with an injury but during his time on ice (a team-low 9:54), he had two shots, took an unnecessary penalty and dished out six hits. A reminder that hits come when the team doesn’t have the puck.
- Marc-Andre Fleury definitely needs more help, but when he faces just three high-danger chances (although he saved two of them) and still gives up four goals, he can also help the team out more himself. On some of the goals, like the Borgstrom giveaway and the Stillman fall, he could have been bailed out with more competence, but he may not be blameless.
- The Blackhawks are still not great at converting chances into goals, especially at 5-on-5. While Entwistle’s loan tally for Chicago came at full strength, the game was over at that point. The Blackhawks generated 31 shots on goal at 5-on-5 but just one goal, meaning just a 3.22 shooting percentage.
- I doubt Colliton is long for the Blackhawks, but if Chicago can’t even beat the Canucks, who are currently 1-2-1, or the Red Wings, who have started the season 2-0-1 ... this season could get ugly. /
- Oliver Wahlstrom (NYI) — 2 goals, game-winning goal
- Ilya Sorokin (NYI) — 39 saves, 2.94 expected goals against
- Anthony Beauvillier (NYI) — 1 goal, 1 takeaway
The Blackhawks continue their homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.