The Chicago Blackhawks won just twice during their seven-game homestand and currently boast a 2-4-2 record.
Despite coming away with a pair of losses, the Chicago Blackhawks played the right brand of hockey against the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. They only had one point to show for their efforts, but the feeling was that better results were to come in the future.
Well, that didn’t exactly prove to be correct, as the Blackhawks fell flat during Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blackhawks were severely outplayed for the majority of the contest, especially during the second period.
Things got off to a slow start for both teams in the first period, as there wasn’t much room on the ice. The Flyers struck first as Travis Konecny found an open Oskar Lindblom on a 2-on-1 rush. It was Konecny’s fourth point in four periods against the Blackhawks this season.
It was about as boring an opening period as possible. Neither team generated many scoring opportunities, and the Blackhawks led in shots on goal seven to five.
The tempo would pick up in the middle frame, just not in the Blackhawks favor. The ‘Hawks had been better in the second period as of late, but they were utterly atrocious Thursday night.
It took less than a minute for the Flyers to find the back of the net, as Claude Giroux beautifully redirected a Travis Sanheim shot past Robin Lehner. Giroux was able to get inside position on Jonathan Toews, and that’s all it took for the Flyers’ captain to record his first tally of the season.
The Blackhawks would remain on their heels for the entirety of the second period. They managed to put just ONE shot on Brian Elliott and looked like a minor league hockey team. Through the first 40 minutes of the game, the Blackhawks had a mere eight shots on goal.
Brandon Saad opened the third period with a breakaway goal thanks to Kirby Dach and Andrew Shaw’s efforts along the boards. Dach moved the puck up the boards to Shaw, who then sprung Saad for his third goal of the season. It was the 18-year-old’s first NHL assist and second career point.
The Blackhawks defense couldn’t hold up though, as just four minutes later Kevin Hayes scored on a breakaway of his own. Brent Seabrook got caught pinching at center ice, and his wheels don’t quite work like they used to. Hayes scored a goal earlier in the game that was overturned after officials determined the play was offside.
The game felt like it was already out of reach, but the Flyers would add insult to injury with another breakaway goal late from James van Riemsdyk. The Flyers had a handful of odd-man rushes throughout the game, which came back to bite the Blackhawks. 4-1 was the final score, as the Blackhawks wound up with a 2-3-2 record during their seven-game homestand.
5 Takeaways From Thursday’s Game
- The Blackhawks’ top six continues to produce nothing offensively. Jonathan Toews had his worst performance of the season with just one shot on goal and a 33.3 face-off win percentage. Expect Jeremy Colliton to switch up the lines for Saturday’s game in Carolina.
- The powerplay came up empty once again Thursday night. After another 0-for-4 outing, the Blackhawks have now converted once in their last 20 power-play opportunities. It got so bad on Thursday that the fans started cheering when the powerplay put a shot on goal.
- On the bright side, Kirby Dach played his best game so far. The 2019 third overall pick recorded an assist, one shot on goal, and three hits in 14:09. With Brendan Perlini reportedly put on the trading block, it appears that the Blackhawks intend to keep Dach around for the long haul.
- The stats might not show it, but Robin Lehner was solid in net once again. The Blackhawks defense didn’t give Lehner much help, as he saw odd-man rush after odd-man rush on Thursday. The Flyers scored two breakaway goals and picked up another on a 2-on-1. The fourth goal came off a ridiculous Claude Giroux redirect.
- In two games without Connor Murphy this season, the Blackhawks have allowed 4.33 goals per game. With Murphy, they’ve surrendered just 2.2 goals per game. Murphy’s out until mid-November, and the Blackhawks NEED to figure out their defense fast before things begin to spiral out of control.
The Blackhawks will head to Carolina where they take on the 6-3-1 Hurricanes. It’s a little early to start calling them “must-win” games, but a 2-5-2 start with a four-game road trip looming is certainly a less-than-ideal start to the season.
The Blackhawks need to be much better than they were on Thursday if they want to come out of Carolina with two points. Expect Jeremy Colliton to make some lineup changes to shake things up and get the team going.
For more Blackhawks news and updates, follow the author (@JackBushman2) on Twitter. Make sure to check out the author’s podcast, Talkin’ Hawkey, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter (@TalkinHawkey).