Not every game can be a knock-down, drag-out, one-goal thriller, as evidenced by the first three games of this season for the Chicago Blackhawks, and, you know, last night.
That’s not to say yesterday’s loss was as bad as the first few games of the year, but it was the first time that the Blackhawks lost a game by more than one goal since January 17th, so it did feel a little familiar. But not all is lost on one result from last night and it provided a few things for the Blackhawks to take away and (hopefully) build upon.
• First and foremost, Patrick Kane is just GROSS:
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) February 20, 2021
• Kane has eight multi-point games this season. He is fourth in the NHL is scoring with 26 points this season, trailing only Mitch Marner (27), Leon Draisaitl (28), and Connor McDavid (32).
Kane on his goal: "I toe-picked a little bit…when I got my head up, I saw I had a little bit of space and thought I could try a spinorama. I missed my shot a little bit; I was trying to go high-blocker and it went through the 7-hole. But always good to see those go in."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 20, 2021
• Kane is scoring at a 1.37 point-per-game pace through 19 games, which would give him 76 points by season’s end if he plays in all 56 games. It would also be the highest point-per-game pace that Kane would have finished a season with, higher than his career-high 110 points in 81 games (1.35) in the 2018-19 season.
• Another takeaway from last night’s game was again the showing of resiliency from the Blackhawks. Down 2-0 late in the second period, Chicago scores two goals within a three-minute span to tie the game heading into the third period.
Here's a stat: The Blackhawks have trailed entering the third period just five times in 19 games this season. Three of them were the first three games of the season.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 20, 2021
• Again, this was the first multi-goal loss in over a calendar month’s time for the Blackhawks. While they are not “World Beaters,” they are competing in every game they play and have the mentality that they can skate with any team they face. Which is the kind of mentality you need to have when trying to play and develop so many rookies and young players like Chicago is.
• Kevin Lankinen didn’t have his best game last night. His record moved to 7-3-3 on the year after the 5-3 loss. He still has ranks in the top-ten in both save percentage (.927) and in GAA (2.43) in the league among goalies that have played at least seven games. Lankinen has also faced the most shots in the NHL with 440 in 13 games (33.84 per game).
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) February 19, 2021
• Among rookie goaltenders, Lankinen is tied for the most wins (7), leads in save percentage, and is second in GAA. He also leads in points with two assists.
• One last thing for the Blackhawks to take away from last night’s loss is how to play the man-to-man and relentless style of hockey that the Hurricanes play.
Ian Mitchell on the Hurricanes: "They were just all over us. Pressure-wise, they play man-on-man all over the ice. Anytime you're looking for an outlet, there's a man right on him… Kinda showed they were definitely better than us tonight."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 20, 2021
• The Blackhawks want to be that kind of team. They are trending in that direction, but being able to pressure and skate with every team, every night, is not an easy task. They are learning that. Sometimes the hard way in games like last night.
More from Jeremy Colliton on the Canes: “They probably play the most high pressure system in the league … The biggest thing is how hard they are in battles."
— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) February 20, 2021
• The schedule in March coming up is going to be the make or break with the Blackhawks this season. In March, Chicago plays 14 games, five against the Tampa Bay Lightning, four against the Florida Panthers, twice against the Dallas Stars on the road, and one game against the Hurricanes. All four teams that are in the Central Division playoff spots based on points percentage. Chicago ranks fifth in the Division with a .579 marker through 19 games.
• The Blackhawks now have the weekend off after the postponement of their game that was supposed to be played tonight. It works out in the favor of the fans though, because now we are free to watch the NHL Outdoor games this weekend in Lake Tahoe. Highly recommend checking those out between the Avalanche and Golden Knights on Saturday and Bruins and Flyers on Sunday, if not just for the visuals of the game.
• A Happy Birthday to former Blackhawk and Hockey Hall of Famer, Phil Esposito!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 20, 2021
• Finally, these Jordan Brand hockey skates are a must have.
Custom Jordan 1 "Chicago" ice skates. 👀
🎨: kotakustoms/IG pic.twitter.com/nKl94WcjOh
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 19, 2021
• I would spend ungodly amounts of money, that I don’t have, to get a pair of those.