Sunday Funday: Blackhawks 6, Red Wings 2 - January 24, 2021

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Sunday Funday: Blackhawks 6, Red Wings 2 – January 24, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

I hope you all enjoyed your Sunday afternoon.

The Chicago Blackhawks did all they could to help you out in their matinee matchup against the Detroit Red Wings. Following Friday night’s 4-1 win, the Blackhawks took game two of the weekend series over the Red Wings 6-2, thanks to a solid performance in net from Kevin Lankinen and an offensive explosion from rookie Pius Suter.

And I’ve got to say, it’s fun watching the Blackhawks when they are clicking. It took a couple games against a bad Red Wings team (and yes, the Blackhawks are also not good), but this Chicago squad played Friday and Sunday with a confidence they did not have on the Florida road trip. I said it during the Lightning games at the start of the season, not every game is going to be against a Stanley Cup contender. The Blackhawks have looked much better over these past three games, proving what they can do with a little bit of confidence behind them.

Pius Suter has looked like a legit NHL-caliber player in his first five games of his NHL career, and he got rewarded for his early-season effort with two goals in the first period.

https://twitter.com/NHLBlackhawks/status/1353400324707426305?s=20

The Blackhawks extend their streak on the powerplay, scoring a powerplay goal in each of their first six games matches the franchises second-best start from 1965-66. It’s the best start the team has had since the 1990-91 season where they began the year with an 11-game streak scoring on the man-advantage. Chicago finished 1-for-2 on the powerplay in the game, still ranking as a top-tier powerplay in the NHL.

Just as we all predicted, right?

https://twitter.com/NHLonNBCSports/status/1353401410675609600?s=20

Not to get ahead of myself here, but if we’re taking votes for NHL Rookie of the Year, today my vote goes to Suter. Completing his first NHL hat-trick in just his sixth NHL game!

Suter continues to be given plenty of responsibilities with this depleted Blackhawks roster, but he has stepped up and so far looks like another player that general manager Stan Bowman has struck gold with out of Europe.

Also making a super-predictable emergence on offense is Connor Murphy. Never one to light up the scoresheet, Murphy added a goal in the third period to extend his point-streak to four-games, a career best. Getting goal production from players like Murphy and Calvin de Haan in the last two games isn’t going to be expected all season, but makes a difference this year when the team is looking to build confidence.

A guy you don’t want building confidence, or to give that much space, is Patrick Kane.

Kane gets a point in his fifth-straight game for Chicago, helping set up Mattias Janmark’s first goal with the Blackhawks. Janmark had his best game so far as a member of the Blackhawks, playing 16:53 minutes and could have had two goals on the day. Good to see him get going. Additionally, Murphy reached 100 career points later in the game with an assist on the 4-1 goal. Nice.

As far as the goalie competition goes, it’s hard to argue that Kevin Lankinen hasn’t done enough for it to be his net now. He’s 2-0-1 in his first three starts in the NHL and has helped the Blackhawks earn all five points they have in the standings. He finished the weekend with 55 saves on 58 shots faced against the Red Wings and improved his season save percentage to .909. Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban will still get starts and opportunities to in the next few games, but after his last three performances, Lankinen is the Blackhawks’ guy.

Final Thoughts

•   I enjoyed seeing Philipp Kurashev get powerplay time and end up with a garbage time goal. He’s been playing well this season and his development is getting deservedly fast-tracked.

•   Some of the same can be said for Brandon Hagel. He has worked hard to keep his spot in the lineup on the fourth-line and has done what the Blackhawks have asked him to be. He played a bit on the penalty-kill this afternoon, which shows the trust that Jeremy Colliton is gaining with him.

•   Carl Söderberg made his season debut for the Blackhawks, played 13:48 and was heavily deployed on the penalty-kill. Made a few good plays defensively but wasn’t too much of a standout in his first game.

•   After starting 0-3-1, the Blackhawks have back-to-back wins and with five points in the standings now, are out of the basement in the Central Division. It’s progress. Tangible progress.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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