Kevin. Freaking. Lankinen.
The Chicago Blackhawks sweep the mini-series against the Detroit Red Wings, again. With one of his best performances of the season Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves, earning his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 win over the Red Wings. Chicago is now 4-0-0 against Detroit this season, out-scoring them 14-5 through the four games.
FINAL: #Blackhawks 2, Red Wings 0
Shot attempts: 51-42 DET
Shots on goal: 29-26 DET
5-on-5 scoring chances: 17-17
5-on-5 high danger chances: 6-2 DET pic.twitter.com/FPTLcapQlw
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 18, 2021
Kevin Lankinen improves his record to 7-2-3 this season in 12 starts. The Blackhawks have gone 7-1-1 over their last nine games and are tied with the Florida Panthers for the lead in the Central Division with 22 points.
What did I just type?
The Blackhawks had a better start to this game than they did on Monday night, something they desperately needed against this Red Wings squad. But it wouldn’t be that easy to sustain as the Red Wings continued to build their momentum throughout the game, testing Lankinen constantly. But the 25-year-old was up to the task on every chance.
There wasn’t a ton of offense from the Blackhawks tonight, thanks to a stellar performance on the other side of the ice from Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who made 24 saves on 25 shots. But the breakthrough goal came in the second period on the powerplay from rookie Philipp Kurashev.
It. Was. Awesome.
— NHLonNBCSports (@NHLonNBCSports) February 18, 2021
Kurashev now has five goals and nine points this season. He is one of the top scoring rookies this season, trailing teammate Pius Suter with 10 points, for the league-lead among rookies. Funnily enough, Kurashev played the least amount of minutes tonight for the Blackhawks, 10:07.
Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane drove a ton of offense tonight and they were rewarded with an empty-net goal to seal the win for Chicago. DeBrincat’s ninth goal on the year, he has 17 points in 14 games this season. Kane tallied his 16th assist of the season and continues to lead the Blackhawks in scoring with 23 points in 18 games played. He also has six points in his last four games.
Chicago is now 9-5-4 on the season, meaning they are finally a TRUE .500 team (9-9). This is the first time that the Blackhawks have been a TRUE .500 team since they were 6-3-3 on October 28, 2018. Joel Quenneville was still the Blackhawks’ coach for three more games after that.
• With an assist on the Kurashev 1-0 goal in the second period, Kevin Lankinen has two assists on the year. He and Anton Khudobin lead all goalies in points (2). Lankinen also has more points this season than 2020 first-overall draft pick Alexis Lafrenière, who has one goal in 14 games played. Hockey is weird, man.
• Eddie Olczyk talked on the NBCSN broadcast with Mike Tirico about the Red Wings potentially looking to trade Anthony Mantha. I don’t want to say there’s anything to it, but I wouldn’t mind looking past the Chicago-Detroit rivalry to acquire a player like Mantha. He would be exactly what this Blackhawks team could use in their forwards group. Again, not saying there’s anything there, but that would be interesting.
• In case you missed it during the game, Patrick Kane is one of many NHL players that will wear special edition Willie O’Ree skates to commemorate Black History Month. The design is awesome and all game-worn skates will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to Black Girl Hockey Club.