The game had all the hype you want for a Sunday night. Would it be the Henri Jokiharju Revenge Game? Or the Alex Nylander Revenge Game?
For his part, Jokiharju felt that the coaching change made in Chicago last year led to his eventual departure.
Henri Jokiharju knew that Jeremy Colliton didn't view him the same way that Joel Quenneville did. So the trade to Buffalo didn't entirely shock him.
"It's a little bit about how the coach sees you as a player and a person," he said.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 17, 2019
While the prospect of two young players chasing revenge was at least intriguing, the Sabres came in far from being as hot as the Hawks; Buffalo snapped a six-game losing streak as Jack Eichel scored four times against Ottawa on Saturday night.
The Hawks got off to a bit of a sluggish start in the first period. But Kirby Dach extended his personal point streak to four games with a nicely deflected backhand shot. Eichel did not pick up an assist on the goal.
Assists were credited to Andrew Shaw and Dominik Kubalik. Dach joined some elite company in Blackhawks history with the goal.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 18, 2019
Dach’s goal was the only score of the opening 20 minutes. As has been the trend, Chicago was out-shot 13-10 in the first but had the lead.
Because his first goal was deflected, Dach came back and scored a clean backhanded goal in the second period.
Zack Smith and Olli Maatta were credited with the helpers on Dach’s second goal.
Shortly after Dach’s second goal the Sabres looked for a spark. So… Jimmy Vesey dropped the gloves with Erik Gustafsson. Vesey appeared to get in a few good shots and Gustafsson was bleeding when the two were separated.
After each team only took one penalty in Chicago’s win on Saturday night there was a steady line to the box at the United Center on Sunday. After two periods the Hawks were 0-4 on the power play and were getting out-shot 24-20 but led 2-0 on the scoreboard behind Dach’s two goals.
In the closing seconds of the second period Dach bulldozed Sam Reinhart. The huge hit led to Dach being whistled for interference and the customary conversation between skaters against the boards. The Hawks killed the penalty to open the third.
Jake McCabe went to the box early in the third period, giving the Blackhawks a fifth power play opportunity. This time the Hawks made the Sabres pay for their sins. Patrick Kane sniped home his 11th of the season to extend the lead to three.
Five minutes later, Brandon Saad attacked the net. Saad had a few opportunities during the game to get a good shot on net (including a breakaway later in the third) but couldn’t get his act together to unload. This time he was able to set up Jonathan Toews on the doorstep for the captain’s fourth of the season.
Suddenly Chicago had a four-goal lead on a Buffalo.
Unfortunately, Corey Crawford’s shutout bid ended 42 seconds after Toews’ goal when Eichel scored his 13th of the season. The Hawks lead was down to three.
In the final minute coach Jeremy Colliton sent Dach out with Kane and Alex DeBrincat and they tried their hardest to set the kid up for a hat trick but couldn’t pull it off.
The final horn sounded. Chicago was out-shot 34-27 but came away with a 4-1 win.
Crawford was terrific, stopping 33 of 34 in the win.
Duncan Keith (22:34) was the only Blackhawks defenseman over 20 minutes in the game. Calvin de Haan and Maatta were credited with six hits and three blocked shots each. In the second half of a back-to-back right off the injured list, Connor Murphy skated 17:59 and was credited with three hits, two takeaways and one blocked shot.
Saad led Blackhawks forwards in ice time (19:17) and shots on net (five). He picked up an assist in the game.
Toews won 14 of 21 faceoffs and scored a goal.
Kubalik led Chicago’s forwards with four hits.
DeBrincat and Dylan Strome were both held without a shot on net in the game. Neither had a point.