The Blackhawks Firepower Showed Up, but it Wasn’t Enough
The Blackhawks still scored 4 goals, which is amazing for a team that focused on “grinding wins” over winning with skill. Alex Debrincat scored on a follow-up play from a rebound, and Ryan Carpenter managed to score a goal on a partial breakaway. They have a great first powerplay unit, which does the most work (as they should) on the man advantage, but it was the second powerplay unit who got the job done last night.
The line of Brett Connolly, Ryan Carpenter, and Philip Kurashev was the best for the Blackhawks last night, which is weird to say and write. The line combined for 5 points and either an equal or positive plus-minus rating. The stars didn’t have a great game with a minus 3 rating for Brandon Hagel and Alex Debrincat and a minus 1 for Patrick Kane. Overall, this game would have been winnable IF the goaltending was solid starting the game.
Another point is that the Blackhawks’ defensemen rarely blocked shots. In this game, the leader in blocked shots was Caleb Jones with 4, while Seth Jones had 2, Connor Murphy had 1, and Jake McCabe had ZERO. If the Blackhawks want to win, especially with a struggling goaltender, they have to do more to defend their net rather than trust that the goalie will make a save. Marc Crawford has to realize this and emphasize on making life miserable for the guy screening the goaltender and get in the way of as many pucks as you can. It hurts obviously, but you need it to win, and the Blackhawks showed that tonight.
And now, the last takeaway.