Well, it wasn’t too pretty and it didn’t get the heart rate up too high, but a win is a win. Getting the victory against the Carolina Hurricanes in a 2-1 effort, the Chicago Blackhawks did just enough to come away with two much-needed points in the standings. With the win, Chicago keeps pace in the Central Division as the Nashville Predators beat the Dallas Stars in overtime to keep hold of fourth-place in the Division, with the Blackhawks tied in points (39) but in fifth-place based on the regulation wins tiebreaker.
Chicago closes a very difficult month of March with a 5-8-1 record, which isn’t great, but it could have been much worse. Heading into April, 10 of the next 11 games for the Blackhawks come against the teams that are in the Central Division playoff hunt, with the only game not against one of those four teams on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
FINAL: #Blackhawks 2, Hurricanes 1
Shot attempts: 62-32 CAR
Shots on goal: 32-16 CAR
5-on-5 scoring chances: 23-11 CAR
5-on-5 high danger chances: 11-3 CAR pic.twitter.com/XjECFcNgMV
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) March 31, 2021
Chicago was out-shot, out-chanced, and beaten up and down the ice for 55 minutes by the Hurricanes, but Kevin Lankinen came up huge for the Blackhawks in his fourth start this season against Carolina. Lankinen made 31 saves on 32 shots, improving his record against Carolina to 2-1-1 this season and 13-8-4 on the year.
The Blackhawks got off to another slow start, not sure if they understood the game started at 6:30 and not 7:00. But after weathering the storm (lol) in the first period, Chicago came out with a much more spirited effort in the middle frame.
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) March 31, 2021
Kirby Dach had another good game coming back from his wrist injury. He played just 13:43 minutes in his third game back in the lineup and notched his first assist of the season on the game’s opening goal coming from the Blackhawks’ newest Dad, Dylan Strome. Strome scored in his first game after the birth of his daughter over the weekend, scoring his sixth goal of the season to give Chicago the 1-0 lead.
Dylan Strome has scored in:
• 1st game of the year
• 1st game back from concussion protocol
• 1st game back after birth of his daughter #Blackhawks
— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) March 31, 2021
Maybe he should hop in and out of the lineup more often? Nah, probably not.
Minutes later, the Blackhawks extended their lead to 2-0 thanks to a tremendous stick-lift steal by Patrick Kane to set up Alex DeBrincat’s 19th goal of the season. Chicago converted on the powerplay for the sixth time this season against the Hurricanes as DeBrincat extended his team-lead in goals. With the 2-0 tally, DeBrincat surpassed his 2019-20 season goal total of 18 goals in 70 games, with his 19th in his 33rd game this season.
KANER and the CAT. 🎬
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) March 31, 2021
The Hurricanes were able to pull the game to 2-1 late in the second period with a goal that went in off of Wyatt Kalynuk’s leg, but the Blackhawks were able to put the clamps down on Carolina in the third period to close the game. I believe that makes three of the last four goals that have been scored against the Blackhawks have come from bounces off of Chicago players. If that trend could stop that would be much appreciated.
Chicago is now 13-4-2 this season when scoring the game’s opening goal and 11-1-2 when they hold a lead after two periods of play. On the flip-side, the Hurricanes are 0-4-0 when they trail after two periods of play. Just some fun facts.
These teams will do it again on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. CT at the United Center.
• Chicago’s 16 shots on goal tonight ties their season-low. They were held to 16 shots on goal on March 11th against the Dallas Stars in a 4-2 win.
• The Blackhawks have been extremely disciplined in their last three games, only having to face two penalty kills over that stretch. They’ve killed both of them. Chicago is 8-for-8 on the penalty-kill in their last four games.
• Dougie Hamilton was held off the scoresheet tonight, ending the NHL’s longest active point-streak at 14 games.