While Chicago was getting slammed with yet another winter blast, the Blackhawks were in Detroit for an evening date with the Red Wings.
Detroit came in playing Dead Wings Era caliber hockey. The Hawks came in making the playoff conversation a reality. Would the trends hold?
Malcolm Subban got the start in net for Chicago. He probably would have loved to get a little offense early from his teammates, but the first period was largely controlled by the Wings.
While the Blackhawks weren’t getting the puck to the net very often, they got on the board first. Mattias Janmark scored his sixth of the season at 4:19 with the helpers going to Carl Soderberg and Nikita Zadorov. The set-up from Soderberg was a special one.
Detroit continued to dominate the puck but the Blackhawks broke through with the second goal of the game as well. Just as the primary assist was a beauty on the first goal, Brandon Hagel set up Dominik Kubalik with a gorgeous pass for the second.
Subban was keeping the Hawks in front but couldn’t keep the doughnut on the scoreboard. An awkward play that started on the stick of Vladislav Namestnikov crossed the crease, went through Subban and back out the other side back to Namestnikov to get Detroit on the board inside the final 15 seconds of the opening period.
Detroit out-shot the Hawks 13-6 in the first period. Subban made a few nice saves. While the Blackhawks had the lead, they played far from an ideal 20 minutes and the late period goal was unfortunate.
Hagel was noticeable all over the ice on almost every one of his shifts. He’s really played terrific since getting into the lineup when Ryan Carpenter was placed in COVID protocol and it will be hard to take him out of the lineup at this point.
The second period saw the Blackhawks pick up the pace offensively and Hagel continue to look great. But neither team scored. The Hawks out-shot Detroit 11-6 in the period. Subban was good; Thomas Greiss made some marvelous saves for the Red Wings.
Early in the third period the Blackhawks successfully killed a pathetic Detroit power play but the Red Wings kept the pressure on. You can only spend so much time in your defensive zone before something bad happens and a Christian Djoos goal at 5:49 into the third tied the game.
The rest of the third came and went with the Blackhawks putting three (3) total shots on net in 20 minutes. The Djoos goal held up as the tying marker and the Blackhawks headed to overtime again.
Subban stopped 26 of 28 in regulation. Greiss faced only 20 shots through 60 minutes.
Ian Mitchell led the Hawks with two blocked shots in regulation over 19:01 on the ice. Kane accounted for four of the Hawks’ 20 shots on net in 21:17 in regulation.
With 90 seconds left in overtime the Red Wings got a 3-on-1 as Mitchell just got on the ice for the first time in OT. Mitchell played it fairly well and a bad pass broke up what could have been disaster.
In side the final 20 seconds of OT, Pius Suter and Dominik Kubalik got a 2-on-1 rush. Suter patiently got it to Kubalik who settled the puck down and sniped the game-winner through Greiss with 16.4 left on the clock.
The Blackhawks played down – way down – their competition in this game and got away with it. Detroit is a really, really bad hockey team and they out-shot the Blackhawks badly in two of three periods. The Hawks took them for granted and gave up a point in the standings.
Hagel had one assist, two shots on net, one hit and one takeaway in 13:13.
The Blackhawks got only three shots on net from their six defensemen (one from Nicolas Beaudin, two from Calvin de Haan).
Reese Johnson led the Hawks with five hits in only seven shits (7:21 on the ice).