I Have the Power! Blackhawks 6, Hurricanes 4 - February 4, 2021

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I Have the Power! Blackhawks 6, Hurricanes 4 – February 4, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

That was fun – stressful at times – but fun.

On Thursday night, the Chicago Blackhawks benefitted from their big guns carrying the load to get a 6-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Kevin Lankinen started his eighth game of the season and was just good enough to earn the victory, moving his record to 4-1-3 on the season and moving the Blackhawks to 4-4-4 this season. Chicago has earned at least one point in the standings in eight of their last night games, going 4-1-4 since dropping the first three games of the year.

It was so much fun watching the first 20 minutes of this game. So much fun. The Blackhawks, after giving up the first goal of the game 75 seconds into the first period, responded with three (THREE!) powerplay goals in the period.

Against a Hurricanes team that was second in the league on the penalty-kill coming into this series, Chicago improved to 4-for-6 on the powerplay through four periods of play.

Dominik Kubalík was a monster on the powerplay, racking up a goal and two assists in the first four opportunities for the Blackhawks. His scoring prowess hasn’t been at the pace that we saw last season as of yet, but he is making up for it with a team-leading nine assists on the year.

But then again, he still has a cannon:

Not to be overlooked, with Nicolas Beaudin whiffing on the shot attempt, he still gets an assist on the Kubalík powerplay goal. It’s his first NHL point of his career in his fourth career game. He played 11:45 minutes, a far cry from his 20:01 played on Tuesday night, had an assist with two shots and three blocks.

Also making some history with an assist in the first period was Patrick Kane.

Kane had a helper on the 3-1 goal to take sole-possession of sixth-place on the all-time points leaderboard for US-born players. Kane finished with 23:18 minutes played, one goal on four shots, and three assists. He was named the first-star of the game, deservedly so.

But for as fast as the Blackhawks jumped out to their 3-1 lead, it all came crashing down even faster.

Carolina scored two goals in eight seconds to begin the second period, wiping the smile from my face, and tying the game 3-3. I was just getting ready to settle into my couch to enjoy my pizza while watching the Blackhawks dominate, and then BOOM! It was back to stress-eating.

But you know what? When it comes to young teams, you’re going to see a lot of streaky play and general inconsistencies.

The Blackhawks must’ve been riding high heading into the first intermission and it’s hard to experience that sudden drop off right out of the gate in the second period. But one thing you love to see out of a young team is resiliency. Chicago could have collapsed under the momentum that the Hurricanes swung in the second period, but they kept in the game and eventually took the lead back, twice.

You love to see that.

Given the cards they’ve been dealt so far this season, I’ve got to say … it’s actually pretty dang fun to root for this team this year. Their 4-4-4 record isn’t at the top of the pile, but it could very well be a heckuva lot worse. In fact, a bounce or two goes Chicago’s way in those overtime and shootout games and it could be much better. But in any case, they have a sense of identity now, and the players appear as bought-in as they ever have been under head coach Jeremy Colliton. You love to see that, too.

Final Thoughts

•   Duncan Keith played in his 1,150th game with the Blackhawks tonight. He is second all-time in games played for the Blackhawks behind Stan Mikita. Keith ranks third in games played and points for active defensemen in the NHL. He had 27:53 minutes played with two shots, two hits, and two blocks tonight. He’s just awesome.

•   Kevin Lankinen made his eighth start of the season for the Blackhawks, all coming in the last nine games. He made 30 saves on 34 shots tonight, moving his record to 4-1-3, with a .926 save percentage and a 2.32 GAA. It looked like head coach Jeremy Colliton would give Lankinen the night off after getting reps for Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia at today’s morning skate, but Lankinen was in net again. After his performance tonight, maybe he could take a night off. The Blackhawks will have two full days between games with their next contest coming up on Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Stars.

•   Brandon Hagel will eventually convert on a breakaway chance, I’m sure of it.

•   It took the Blackhawks 30 games to score 14 powerplay goals last season. They’ve reached 14 powerplay goals in 12 games this season. HOT.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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