The Timeout Heard 'Round the World, Blackhawks Have a Response, the State of Hockey? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

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The Timeout Heard ‘Round the World, Blackhawks Have a Response, the State of Hockey? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

In a must-win game for the Chicago Blackhawks last night, there was a little bit of something for everyone. There was dread, there was a timeout, there was hope, and there was triumph. Not too shabby for a Saturday night hockey game in April. With the 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, the Blackhawks were able to do more than just keep pace in the Central Division playoff race, they actually gained ground.

Helped by a 3-0 Tampa Bay Lightning win over the Nashville Predators, Chicago is now back within striking distance of the Predators for fourth-place in the Division and the final Stanley Cup playoff spot. Both teams have 14 games remaining on the schedule and there’s just a little over 24 hours remaining until the NHL Trade Deadline. It’s going to be a nerve racking fun Spring.

•   Chicago’s win started like a lot of their contests as of late, with the opponent leading. Just over a minute into the contest, the Blue Jackets scored first to put the Blackhawks on their heals early. Two minutes later, it would be 2-0 Columbus. Chicago must have still been on Central Time and thought the game was starting in another hour, or something.

•   In a break of character, Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton called timeout after the second goal and laid into his team. I can only imagine some variation of “WAKE THE F**K UP!” was the message.

•   Taking timeouts is not the M.O. for Colliton, unless there’s 0.7 seconds left in the game. But last night, he had seen enough of the same song and dance from the slow-starting Blackhawks.

•   Give him the amount of credit you want for the decision, but the team went out and responded. So whatever was said, or whatever purpose the timeout had, it worked.

•   Following a powerplay goal from Alex DeBrincat to cut the Columbus lead to 2-1, newly re-inserted into the lineup forward Carl Söderberg was able to find the back of the net for his seventh goal of the season.

•   Söderberg had been out for the past few games after the acquisition of Vinnie Hinostroza. Getting back into the lineup and getting a goal has to be a big shift for his confidence and, probably more importantly two the Blackhawks, his trade value.

•   Like I mentioned before, we are just a day away from the Trade Deadline on Monday at 2:00 p.m. CT and both Söderberg and Mattias Janmark remain on the block for the Blackhawks to move. Janmark was held out of the game last night in what was called an “organizational decision.” It’s a common move in the hockey world signaling that your time here is does and we can’t risk you getting hurt. Both players are on expiring deals and both players could be replaced in the lineup for the Blackhawks this season after getting Brett Connolly from the Panthers in a separate deal. At this point in the season, Chicago needs to grab as much future capital as they can get from players with no future with the organization.

•   After heading into the first intermission tied 2-2, the Blackhawks pulled ahead for good early in the second period with a goal that would have to be reviewed, but would ultimately be a good goal, from rookie defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk.

•   The college free agent signing from this summer has made quite the impact with the Blackhawks in the last few weeks. He’s skated in the last six games in-a-row after making his NHL debut on March 7th. Kalynuk has his first NHL goal now to go along with his first NHL assist, which came on April 1st.

•   With the 3-2 goal in the game, Kalynuk became the sixth Blackhawks rookie to score their first NHL goal with the club this season, and the fourth to do it against the Blue Jackets.

•   It may not have been the prettiest goal, but as the saying goes, “They don’t ask how. They ask how many.”

•   But speaking of pretty goals, the Blackhawks added a fourth goal to their comeback efforts later in the second period to make it a 4-2 lead. Adam Boqvist, Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach, and Dylan Strome all combined to make this perfect breakout play come to fruition. The average age on this play is 21.5-years-old. Are we getting a glimpse into the long-term future of the Blackhawks here? Maybe.

•   Chicago held their 4-2 lead into the third period before the Blue Jackets scored a 4-3 goal with less than minute to play just to get our heart rates up a little bit. Kevin Lankinen didn’t make a huge amount of saves, 23 on 26 shots, but he answered the bell on a number of quality scoring chances from the Blue Jackets. Lankinen notched his 15th win of the season in his rookie-leading 30th start.

•   Unfortunately, the Blackhawks didn’t exit this game unscathed. Calvin de Haan left the game with a hip pointer injury and his status for Monday night is unknown at this time. IF he were to miss more than even one game, it could be a huge loss on the blue-line for Chicago. He did manage to have a two-point night before exiting the game last night, though (his first multi-point game since January 3rd, 2019):

 

•   Chicago holds five wins over the Blue Jackets now this season (5-2-0), tied for the most against any team in the Central Division this season along with the Detroit Red Wings (5-1-0). Detroit has been such a weird “bad team” this season. Chicago and Detroit were expected to bring up the rear in the Central Division and the NHL as a whole this season, and while the Blackhawks have been a surprise, the Red Wings are doing what we expected but not in the fashion we expected.

•   While they are last in the Central Division, Detroit holds three wins over Carolina, two wins over Tampa Bay, and two wins over Nashville. All more than the Blackhawks have this season. 2021, I tell ya.

•   Another team that is having an expected season, but at the opposite end of the league standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs are leading the NHL with 59 points this season after a wild 6-5 win over the Ottawa Senators last night. Behind a hat-trick effort from Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs won their sixth game in-a-row, and have earned at least a point in their last ten games.

•   Matthews leads the NHL in goals with 31 on the year in 38 games played. He’s on an 82-game pace for 67 goals, which would be the highest total since Alex Ovechkin’s 65 in the 2007-08 season.

•   Matthews and his partner in crime Mitch Marner each tallied four points in the win last night, giving each of them 52 points on the season and tying them with Patrick Kane for third in the NHL. They are also the first pair of Maple Leafs to reach 50 points in 50 or fewer games in the same season since the 1942-43 season.

•   Finally, in college hockey last night, the UMass Minutemen earned the first Men’s Hockey National Championship in program history with a dominant 5-0 win over St. Cloud  State, who were also seeking their first National Championship in program history. UMass was able to take the title of the State of Hockey from Minnesota,even if just for a night, after they were the last team left standing in a Frozen Four that featured three teams from Minnesota (St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth).

•   Have yourselves a great Sunday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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