Happy Valentine's Day, Haymaker Hagel, Hitting the Road, and Other Blackhawks Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Haymaker Hagel, Hitting the Road, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Happy Valentine’s Day to those other there that celebrate it. Hope you and your significant other have a wonderful day ahead of you. And for those who’d rather celebrate Galentine’s Day, or Palentine’s Day, or Singles Awareness Day, or just hate the idea of a Hallmark holiday all together, there’s something for all of us to be happy about and in love with today: Alex DeBrincat’s overtime winner.

MmmmmHmmmmm. 😍

•   The Blackhawks dispatched of the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime last night with one of the best goals we are going to see all season from Alex DeBrincat. He has 10 points in his last six games and is second on the team in scoring behind Patrick Kane with 16 points in 12 games played. He is one of six players this season with three game-winning goals already, all tied for second in the NHL behind Auston Matthews’ five game-winning goals.

•   At 7-5-4, the Blackhawks are tied with the Blue Jackets, Hurricanes, and Panthers in the Central Division with 18 points in the standings. All four teams are in a tie for second behind the Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning with 21 points. Based on the divisional tie-breakers, the Blackhawks are in fifth-place in points and sixth-place in points percentage.

•   Chicago now embarks on a six-game road trip, with stops in Detroit, Carolina, and Columbus. It is their first of two six-game road trips this season. Chicago is 2-0-0 against the Red Wings this season, 1-0-1 against the Hurricanes, and are 2-2-0 against the Blue Jackets after last night’s overtime win.

•   After seeing how the Blackhawks handled the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes so far this season, plus the way the Red Wings have looked this year, these are very winnable games for the Blackhawks. At the very least, they should come away with two points out of every mini-series on the road trip.

•   Chicago is 2-3-3 on the road this season. At home this season, Detroit is 2-3-1, Carolina is 3-0-0, and Columbus is 4-2-2. Subject to change for Carolina and Columbus by the time Chicago rolls into town.

•   Can we take a moment to revisit Brandon Hagel’s first NHL fight from last night?

•   Patrik Laine has had some ups and downs since coming to Columbus just over a week ago. I’m not sure getting dropped by a much smaller player was on his to-do list. Hagel has been a treat to watch for Chicago. Relentless on the forecheck, power-killing penalties, creating transitional offensive chances, and now throwing haymakers. If the Blackhawks store is not selling #38 sweaters yet, they should be.

•   Another treat for Chicago this season has been the play of Kevin Lankinen in net. I don’t know how many times I can say it, but he may end up being the team MVP by season’s end. Making 29 stops on 31 shots last night, he moved his record to 6-2-3 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA. He ranks first among rookie goaltenders in games played, save percentage, and wins. He ranks third in GAA for rookies.

•   Lankinen was winless against his friend and fellow countryman Joonas Korpisalo until last night.

•   While Lankinen has been awesome in net and has plugged a major hole in the Blackhawks roster at the goaltending position, I’m not 100 percent certain he will be the Team MVP at the end of the season. Patrick Kane is doing Patrick Kane things this year and it’s been incredible to watch.

•   Kane has 22 points this season, tied for third in the NHL with Mitch Marner. He is four points behind Leon Draisaitl and six points behind league-leader Connor McDavid. Kane is the highest ranking player on a non-Canadian team, four points ahead of James van Riemsdyk with the Philadelphia Flyers and Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins.

•   In former Blackhawks news, AHL San Diego Gulls head coach Kevin Dineen reached 300 career wins last night. Dineen was a Blackhawks assistant coach under Joel Quenneville from 2014-2018, and then under Jeremy Colliton through the 2018-19 season. Congrats on the milestone win!

•   Ok, here it comes. The Valentine’s Day content. You’ve been warned.

•   The Blackhawks had two Valentine’s Day videos premiere last night. They feature Kirby Dach, Calvin de Haan, Malcolm Subban, and Kevin Lankinen answering Valentine’s Day themed questions. Part one:

•   And Part Two:

•   How about some IceHogs love?

•   And finally, the ruler of all Valentine’s Day content: Gritty.

•   You’re welcome. Enjoy your Sunday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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