Remember how flat and emotionless the Blackhawks looked against the Red Wings a couple weeks ago in Chicago? The roles were reversed on Thursday night at the new barn the locals are calling “The Dojo.”
Coach Joel Quenneville made a few lineup changes after the Hawks lost at home to Toronto on Wednesday. Patrick Sharp was a healthy scratch with Tommy Wingles drawing back into the lineup. Lance Bouma and Jan Rutta were still on the outide looking in.
While adding Wingels to the fourth line was nice, lining up Alex DeBrincat and Anthony Duclair with Jonathan Toews from the jump made all the difference.
DeBrincat, a Michigan native who had a lot of family and friends in attendance, scored his 15th of the season at 3:19 into the first.
Duclair and Connor Murphy picked up assists on the goal, starting a busy first period for the newest Blackhawks forward. Duclair extended the lead to 2-0 less than three minutes later, posting his tenth of the season.
Duclair’s first in a Hawks’ sweater saw DeBrincat and Duncan Keith pick up assists.
But the top line wasn’t done.
Three minutes after the Duclair goal he set up Vinnie Hinostroza to make the score 3-0 Chicago. Duclair had three points in less than nine minutes and Detroit starter Jimmy Howard got the showers.
That’s where the first period would end as neither team was able to score over the final 11 minutes. Chicago held an 11-8 shot advantage after 20 minutes, but their three even-strength goals showed more life than the Hawks have in a couple weeks.
In the middle of the second period, DeBrincat and Jonathan Toews put together as pretty of a give-and-go as you’ll see and DeBrincat scored his second of the night.
The Hawks would get the game’s first power play later in the second but looked like crap with the advantage. After 40 minutes, the Blackhawks led 4-0 and had out-shot the Red Wings 18-14.
Detroit showed almost no want to come back or even compete over the first two periods.
Most importantly, the goals for Chicago were scored by players who are 20, 22 and 23 years old, respectively.
Neither side got much going in the opening 14 minutes of the third period. The Wings hit a post a couple times and the Hawks wasted another power play but for the most part the two teams skated up and down the ice with little emotion. Again, the Red Wings didn’t show much want in the game at all.
Artem Anisimov went to the box giving Detroit their first power play five minutes left in regulation. While Anisimov watched Anthony Mantha broke up Anton Forsberg’s shutout bid with his 16th of the season.
Detroit pulled Petr Mrazek with two minutes left but the three-goal lead was too much for them to overcome. Toews missed an empty net opportunity and then tried to set up DeBrincat for a hat trick opportunity but the Hawks couldn’t finish. But with 18 seconds left in regulation Ryan Hartman found DeBrincat breaking away and the kid finished his first career hat trick.
— Eric Lear (@BHTVeric) January 26, 2018
DeBrincat finished with four points, Duclair three and the Hawks emerged with a desperately needed win before the All-Star Break.
Four Blackhawks finished tied with a team-high four shots on net. Three of them – DeBrincat, Duclair and Toews – were on the same line. Toews picked up an assist and won 11 of 16 faceoffs in the win as well.
Jordan Oesterle was the fourth Hawks skater with four shots on net, and he also finished tied with Tommy Wingels for the team lead with three hits. Oesterle skated a team-high 26:05 in the game; the only other skater over 20 minutes was Keith (22:31).