After a brutally unorganized effort in a loss on Monday night, the Blackhawks were back on the ice in Carolina for another try to beat one of the better teams in the league. Collin Delia got the call in net.
The Hawks desperately needed to get off to a good start and they did precisely that. Alex DeBrincat took a takeaway the distance and scored a short-handed goal to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead 6:20 into the game.
DeBrincat’s 27th of the year was big. Six minutes later, a couple young Blackhawks shared a special moment.
MacKenzie Entwistle received a pass from Patrick Kane and flew up the ice. He ripped a shot on net that Petr Mrazek stopped, but left a fat rebound that Mike Hardman slammed home for his first career NHL goal.
On the goal, Hardman and Entwistle became the first Blackhawks to record their first career NHL points on the same play since Oct. 6, 2007 when Kane and (Blackhawks legend) Magnus Johansson recorded their firsts with assists on a Tuomo Ruutu goal.
After 20 minutes, Chicago held a 2-0 lead. They out-shot Carolina 12-8 in the period. Things were going well in the first period with no playoff chances.
Unfortunately, there are three periods in a hockey game.
Nino Niederreiter cut the lead in half 4:32 into the second period. Andrei Svechnikov tied the game 16 minutes into the second. And after two periods, both sides had two goals.
Talent and, more importantly, structure were winning the day for Carolina – again.
Svechnikov gave Carolina a 3-2 lead 4:08 into the third. Adding salt to the wound, Teuvo Teravainen extended the lead to two at 7:19. And Chicago was chasing. Again.
DeBrincat made it interesting at 11:52, ripping home his 28th of the season.
Kane and Ian Mitchell were credited with the assists.
Sadly, as has been the case against the top teams in the division far too often this season, any rally the Blackhawks hoped to have wasn’t enough. Martin Necas and Niederreiter each scored into an empty net in the final three minutes to make the final score 6-3.
So how do we find a silver lining in another multi-goal loss?
Dellia “only” faced 26 shots. Four of them went in, which isn’t ideal, but that’s better than a shot total in the high-30s or low-40s.
Mitchell picked up another assist as well as a hit and blocked shot in 15:26 on the ice. He has a point in all three games since returning to the NHL lineup.
Adam Gaudette skated almost seven minutes more than he had in any game since being acquired from Vancouver. He blocked one shot and had one hit in 18:13. His speed could be an asset in the future. It would be nice to see him spend some more time in the final games in the top six.
Entwistle had a decent night. He only skated 10:03 and won just two of eight at the dot but his speed was noticeable. I’d like to see more of him. But that, of course, requires the coach to put him in the lineup.
Hardman added a team-leading five hits to his first career goal in 10:24. He, too, has been intriguing when given a chance in the lineup.
Dylan Strome had a tough night. He looked completely lost on Teravainen’s goal and wore a minus-five on the night. He did win five of eight faceoffs, though.
After the game, Jeremy Colliton spoke about Kirby Dach being a scratch because of scar tissue in his wrist.
Jeremy Colliton on Kirby Dach: "I don't know exactly what the plan is going to be for the rest of the games. It's not totally unexpected to deal with some scar tissue. Just kind of came to a head today. We'll see what the next few days bring." #Blackhawks https://t.co/VEWtplRgZ2— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) May 5, 2021
Finally, Nikita Zadorov dressed again.