Eat That W, Blockbuster Trade, NWHL Bubble Begins, and Other Blackhawks Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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Eat That W, Blockbuster Trade, NWHL Bubble Begins, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Good morning! The Chicago Blackhawks are finally winners.

Last night was a breath of fresh air for the 2021 season, seeing the Blackhawks get a much deserved 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Feels good. Take this time to bask in it, because it’s a feeling we won’t get as fans very often this year. It was a reminder that not all games will have to be played against the Lightning this season, and that the Blackhawks will have opportunities to learn from their losses and their mistakes and put those lessons into action against opponents who are closer to them in skill. It was a building block, the first tangible positive building block to the season. Ah.

•   At the risk of sounding like the season is saved and everything is puppies and rainbows, the win over the Red Wings showed what this team can do when they are able to build and sustain momentum in games. It helps when the bounces go your way too.

•   Patrick Kane and the Chicago powerplay are off to hot starts to the season. Kane has five points over his last four games, and the Blackhawks powerplay has scored at least once in each of the first five games of the season. The last time the Blackhawks have started the year scoring on the powerplay this well was the 1993-94 season.

•   There might not be a better powerplay goal this season than the 3-0 goal for Chicago last night. Every player touches the puck, passes are crisp, players are moving, and it’s a bang-in finish for Andrew Shaw. Perfect. Chicago was 2-for-5 on the powerplay last night, improving to 7-for-17 on the season and ranking third in the NHL with a 41.2 percent success-rate on the powerplay.

•   Speaking of player and puck movement, Calvin de Haan was able to get his first goal of the season, thanks to some help from Dylan Strome and rookie Ian Mitchell:

•   Mitchell gets his first NHL point of his career with the secondary assist.

•   The story of the night though goes to goaltender Kevin Lankinen, earning his first NHL win in his second career start. Stopping 30-of-31 shots, Lankinen made the first good impression of the year from any of the Blackhawks goalies.

•   I’m very happy for Kevin, having watched him work his way up through the Blackhawks development system from the Indy Fuel in the ECHL, to the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, and now getting the opportunity in the NHL. Only he and fellow goaltender Collin Delia are players on this roster who have taken that path.

•   Lankinen’s performance in net gives him the clear leg-up in the goalie competition for the Blackhawks. He’ll likely get the next start on Sunday afternoon against the same Red Wings. The competition is still pretty open, but there is now a front-runner for the moment.

•   Other observations from last night at the United Center, no fans in the stands is weird still, even if we’ve seen it before. It makes a different with the players too.

•   The Blackhawks also debuted a video that will play before each home game and other team events. A Land Acknowledgement video put together to honor the Native tribes that inhabited the Illinois and Chicago area land that the Blackhawks operate on.

•   It’s a great touch for the Blackhawks as part of their initiatives to further engage with Native Nations, elevate Native-led education, cultivate Native American art and support Native communities.

•   In other Blackhawks news, the Bernie Sander sitting at the Inauguration meme has hit Chicago:

 

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A post shared by Tommy Hawk (@bhawktommyhawk)

•   Classic.

•   In non-Blackhawks news, HUGE trade this morning between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets.

•   Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois, the second and third overall picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, both wanted out of Winnipeg and Columbus and will now be headed to Columbus and Winnipeg. Jack Roslovic will also head to the Blue Jackets and has a new two-year, $1.9M AAV deal to go with it.

•   The National Women’s Hockey League starts their bubble season this afternoon in Lake Placid, New York. Six teams will play a round-robin style tournament, culminating with a single-elimination “Final Four” to determine the 2021 Isobel Cup Champions. Check it out on Twitch.TV/NWHL and watch the Semi-Finals and Isobel Cup Final on NBCSN on February 4th and 5th!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.