VICTORY! - Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1

Social Navigation


VICTORY! – Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1

Chicago Blackhawks

Earlier tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks opened the United Center for hockey for the first time in 317 days. With that context in mind, it was tremendous, regardless of the outcome, to see the Blackhawks taking on their longest standing rival Detroit Red Wings.

But, yes, of course, it was also even more excellent to see the Blackhawks finally get into the win column tonight, topping the Red Wings 4-1 to move to 1-3-1 on the season …

… Even if it took them five games.

I have to say, the opening of the game was so very odd. Player introductions were weird with Brent Seabrook waving … to nobody, and Jonathan Toews not in the building at all. Then, there was the lack of a roar during the anthem, which was pre-recorded. And even the debut of a Land Acknowledgement video. which will play before every Blackhawks home game this season, was new. Nice, but new.

What was familiar, however, was the Chicago Red and Black taking on the Detroit Red and White. Seeing the Blackhawks get off to a good start in the opening frame behind Kevin Lankinen was the best you could ask for from Chicago. Pair that with Patrick Kane tallying his third goal of the season on a powerplay, and the Blackhawks earned their first lead of the season (and it lasted longer than Malcolm Subban’s first game played with Chicago).

Kane’s goal on the man-advantage was the sixth of the season for Chicago and marked the fifth-straight game to begin the season where they have scored a powerplay goal. That’s the first time since the 1993-94 season that Chicago has started a year that hot on the powerplay.

***

Part of the reason the Blackhawks were successful tonight was in-between the pipes. Lankinen used his second start of the season to further his case to become the Blackhawks’ starting netminder. I did not have him challenging for the starter’s net much at all this season, but his first two games in the NHL have been impressive.

Although he wasn’t able to complete a shutout, Lankinen stopped 30 of 31 shots in his second career NHL start, picking up his first career NHL win. You may just be able to pencil him in for Sunday afternoon’s start.

To cap off the night, Andrew Shaw scored his first goal in over a year’s time to help the Blackhawks out to a 3-0 lead. It’s great to see Shaw back on the ice, playing his same style of aggressive hockey, and most importantly being healthy enough to return to the game. It was touch and go with Shaw’s future for a bit, but having him in the lineup is a huge boost for this Blackhawks squad.

I’m going to bask in this one for a hot minute. Wins are not going to be easy to come by for the Blackhawks and Sunday afternoon’s game is still going to be a test against these same Red Wings. But until then, Chicago is a city of winners.

Final Thoughts

•   Powerplay goes 2-for-5 on the night, improving to 7-for-17 on the season. Puck movement and player movement have been precise for the Blackhawks on the man-advantage this season. Keep it up.

•   Not enough can be said about Kevin Lankinen’s breakthrough performance against the Red Wings. Again, likely penciled into the starters net for Sunday.

•   Ian Mitchell looked decent outside of getting tossed by Anthony Mantha early on in the game. Finished with a 62.5 Corsi-For percentage in 13:28 minutes of action.

•   Gosh, this win feels good.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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