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You’re The Best Around: Blackhawks 5, Sharks 2

Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start and going down 2-0 early, the Chicago Blackhawks exploded for three goals in 83 seconds starting in the middle of the third, and ended up beating the Sharks 5-2 on Sunday night at the United Center.

Former Blackhawk Ryan Carpenter scored midway through the first to get the Sharks on the board first. He buried an Alexander Barabanov rebound that was the result of a 2-on-1 rush.

Klim Kostin made it 2-0 at 16:32 into the period, slapping home a pass from Mikael Granlund who camped out behind the net before setting up Kostin’s shot.

The Blackhawks cut the Sharks lead to 2-1 about 14 minutes into the second period. Philipp Kurashev tipped a shot from Tyler Johnson after a beautiful passing play between Connor Bedard and Johnson.

The Blackhawks scored at 10:39 of the third period to tie to the game 2-2. After Jared Tinordi’s shot attempt was deflected, it hit Ryan Donato in the midsection, then the puck landed at Donato’s feet, and Donato spun around to shoot.

At 11:58 of the third, Lukas Reichel teed up Kevin Korchinski, and the resulting shot from the defenseman’s one-timer beat Devin Cooley after hitting a Sharks’ player in front, giving the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

Then, 11 seconds later, Joey Anderson’s no-look, between-the-legs shot hit a couple of bodies in front of the net and found it’s way into the back of the net to put the Blackhawks up 4-2 with 7:58 remaining in the game.

Bedard added an empty net goal with less than a second left, and the Blackhawks closed this one out 5-2.

Notes

  • It was looking like much the same as the last game as the Blackhawks went down 2-0 before the second intermission, and looked terrible in the process. The Blackhawks owned just 40.63 percent of the shot attempts, 35.29 percent of the shots on goal, and only 27.55 percent of the expected goals at 5-on-5. Against the Sharks!
  • However, the second started to turn in the Blackhawks favor a little before the midway point — though whether it was because the Blackhawks just played better or if the Sharks were tired is unknown. Either way, it wasn’t a pretty period from Chicago by any means, but they did control the puck a lot more: 24-19 in attempts, 15-8 in shots on goal, and 13-12 in scoring chances.
  • The third period is interesting because it was quite even until luck helped the Blackhawks score three in very quick succession. Not to say that Chicago didn’t deserve those goals, but two of them were tipped off Sharks players and the other was a broken play that also involved a deflection. Luck is an important factor in hockey, though, so those types of goals are good to me.
  • It looked like coach Luke Richardson was shaking things up at the start of the second, but it was brief and settled back into the lines from the start of the game.
  • The Kurashev goal kind of shows what could happen if the Blackhawks had more quality players on the team. Neither Kurashev nor Johnson are top-line players currently, but they can mimic it occasionally, so just imagine if the Blackhawks had legit first-liners to pair with Bedard.
  • Reichel getting a point in his first game back is hopefully an indicator of a more positive stint for the young forward for the rest of the season. He looked decent in 13:04, but this wasn’t exactly a tough opponent.
  • Seth Jones had 10 shot attempts in this game but only one shot on goal, his worst conversion rate of the season. Typically when he attempts shots a lot — he’s hit 12 twice and 11 three times this season — he converts less than half into shots on goal. In one game, 7 of 12 attempts were shots on goals, the rest were between 2 and 5. But only one SOG tonight is kind of odd.
  • Why wasn’t Calen Addison using Bedard as a sled and then sitting on him for an extended period of time a penalty? Addison only got two minutes for roughing when Johnson stepped in, but that still seems weird.
  • There are plenty of fans who will be unhappy with this outcome because it hurts the Blackhawks chances in the Race to the Lottery. That’s a valid emotion, don’t get me wrong, but they also shouldn’t let it weigh them down too much. Enjoy the win for what it is and hope the lottery balls fall in favor of the Blackhawks regardless of the season-ending standings.
  • The fans in the seats certainly seemed to have fun, if their roaring cheers were anything to go by.
  • Even my doomed recapping powers couldn’t overcome how cursed the Sharks are.

Game Charts

Three Stars

  • Philipp Kurashev (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  • Connor Bedard (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  • Kevin Korchinski (CHI) — 1 goal

What’s Next

The Chicago Blackhawks are on the road for the next week with their first stop in Los Angeles on Tuesday night to take on the Kings at 9 p.m.

Talking Points