After battling with some of the better teams in the NHL over the last couple weeks, the Blackhawks went into New Jersey on Monday night looking for a victory.
Their effort did not reflect a team that wanted a W, however.
The first period was ugly. Chicago was out-shot 11-5 but trailed only 1-0 thanks to a nice effort from Cam Ward in net. The Hawks’ skaters were flat footed from the jump and Jersey’s speed was controlling the action.
If the Hawks were bad and lucky in the first period, their good fortune ran out in the second.
Patrick Kane was able to tie the game up with a power play goal three minutes into the second.
Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome were credited with assists on Kane’s 26th of the season.
Over the course of the next 15 minutes the Devils scored five times to take a 6-1 lead. The ugly Blackhawks of October and November came out to play and the Devils took every advantage.
But even as the wheels were completely off, the crap had taken a couple turns in the fan and every other negative cliche had come to fruition, the Hawks once again showed some comeback ability.
Just 21 seconds after Kevin Rooney scored his first career NHL goal to make the score 6-1, Kane scored his second of the period off a nice pass from Henri Jokiharju.
Brent Seabrook sniped home the 100th goal of his NHL career 42 seconds later to make the score 6-3.
And things were at least intriguing going to the third.
New Jersey had a 25-18 shot advantage after 40 minutes and a three-goal lead but the Hawks had a little momentum. Jeremy Colliton tried to catch some of that fire by inserting Collin Delia into the game to start the third period in place of Ward, who had allowed six goals against those 25 shots. Ward wasn’t sharp, but he didn’t get much help.
Unfortunately, the Hawks needed to score the next goal to make things really interesting but they didn’t. Brett Seney scored eight minutes into the third to give the Devils a 7-3 lead.
Chicago came right back, though, Dominik Kahun scored his seventh of the year 38 seconds later to get the Hawks back to within three again.
The only assist on the Kahun goal went to Carl Dahlstrom.
With 90 seconds left in regulation, after Kane just missed a hat trick, Brandon Saad scored his 13th of the season to cut the lead to 7-5. Kane did pick up an assist on the play, his fourth point of the evening.
Delia went straight to the bench after the faceoff to give the Blackhawks an extra attacker.
That didn’t work, though. Blake Coleman scored his second of the night with 33 seconds left on the clock to make the score 8-5. An exhausted, frustrated Kane skated to the bench after the goal. His night ended with nine shots on net.
A full line brawl broke out with 14 seconds left. Rooney hit David Kampf clean and it got crazy. Connor Murphy jumped in and then Drake Cagguila dropped the gloves and threw hands with Ben Lovejoy. Plenty of early showers to end the night on a debacle.
The Blackhawks skated seven defensemen in the game with Slater Koekkoek (wearing number 68) making his Chicago debut. He was beaten badly by Kyle Palmieri on his first of two goals in the second period – which gave Jersey a 2-1 lead at the time – and found himself stapled to the bench for a while. He finished on the ice for 12:27 with two shots on net.
Erik Gustafsson was benched for the entire third period.
Kane skated 28:50, the highest total of his career. He was the only Chicago skater with a multi-point game.
Dahlstrom was plus-three while Duncan Keith was minus-five. Dahlstrom skated six fewer minutes than Keith. Go figure.
Delia stopped 14 of 15 in the third period.