The Blackhawks started a significant road trip with Patrick Kane’s 1,000th career game. Chicago needed to rebound from an ugly loss on Sunday, allowing six unanswered goals to the Lightning after scoring the game’s first three. The blitz from Tampa was unmatched, something we haven’t seen often since the start of February.
With the eyes of the league on 88 in white as his brilliant career reaches a significant milestone, Jeremy Colliton made a few intriguing roster decisions to open the trip in Dallas.
Malcolm Subban got the net on Tuesday night. Ian Mitchell was bumped to the taxi squad; Lucas Carlsson skated on the blue line. And Reese Johnson was active for the first time in nine Blackhawks’ games.
How’d those decisions play out?
Dallas took a 1-0 lead 100 seconds into the game. Roope Hintz initiated a 2-on-1 break and fed Joel Kiviranta, who rifled home the game’s opening goal. Subban got a good look at it but didn’t react quickly enough to keep it out of the net.
The next goal came from Dallas as well. Denis Gurianov put a shot on net and Subban left a fat rebound that was slammed home by Jamie Oleksiak.
On the Oleksiak goal, Jamie Benn picked up an assist for his 700th career point. He is the third player from the 2007 NHL Draft to reach that benchmark. Jakub Voracek ranks second (710). Kane is first, with 1,060 points.
The Blackhawks were out-shot 13-6 in the first period. Dallas looked like the team that wanted – needed – this game more in the opening 20 minutes. Subban struggled but there wasn’t much offense to support his effort.
Chicago started the second period fairly well. Mattias Janmark scored against his former employer again to cut the lead in half only 104 seconds into the period.
Carlsson and Calvin de Haan picked up the assists on Janmark’s ninth of the season.
After the Janmark goal the wheels completely fell off for the Hawks.
Matthew Highmore went to the box and Dallas converted. John Klingberg scored the power play goal to extend the lead back to two with nine seconds left on the advantage. It didn’t appear Subban saw the puck well; he whiffed on a save attempt with the glove.
Dallas scored again 2:30 later. Joe Pavelski toyed with Subban, bouncing a couple shots off the netminder before eventually tapping in his second rebound opportunity. The Blackhawks were now chasing three.
When Esa Lindell scored 90 seconds later, the Blackhawks were looking up at a 5-1 score. The Hawks were getting out-shot badly and struggled to generate any sustained offense.
Frankly, Anton Khudobin wasn’t being tested nearly enough and Subban wasn’t having a good night – a recipe for disaster.
When the horn sounded to end the second period debacle, the Stars had a 30-17 shot advantage. Indeed, Dallas had as many shots on goal in the second period as the Hawks managed in 40 minutes.
The first two period were flat, ugly and inconsistent.
So let’s take a quick moment to watch Jonathan Toews congratulate Kane for reaching 1,000 games.
This is the first we’ve seen or heard from Toews since the season began. It’s heartbreaking that he isn’t with the team right now, skating next to his partner in the resurrection of the franchise. But it was good to see him again.
Back for the third period, David Kampf came out to center Kane and Dominik Kubalik. Sure, why not. Then Brandon Hagel skated with Alex DeBrincat and Philipp Kurashev. The ol’ line blender was working hard to start the third period.
It took almost seven minutes for the next goal to be scored but it was from Dallas again. Hintz batted a puck that had popped up in front of the net past a diving Subban (and Adam Boqvist) to give Dallas a 6-1 lead.
So anyways, how was your Tuesday?
When the game finally ended, Chicago had allowed 12 goals and scored twice in their last five periods of hockey. Not good.
The Blackhawks came into this game with a 12-point lead on Dallas in the standings but the Stars had six games in-hand. One team had a sense of urgency the entire night and the other was the Blackhawks.
Chicago managed five shots on goal in the third period and were out-shot 37-22 in the game. Subban wasn’t good, but the defense in front of him was flat and the offense didn’t get off the bus.
Flush twice and move on the to the next… but the Hawks need to right the ship quickly because this trip is only going to get harder from here.