Wasted Opportunity, Assist from the Bench, Is Lankinen Tired? And Other Blackhawks Notes

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Wasted Opportunity, Assist from the Bench, Is Lankinen Tired? And Other Blackhawks Notes

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks wasted a huge opportunity last night against the Detroit Red Wings. After taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission (knowing that the Carolina Hurricanes held a lead over the Nashville Predators at the same time), things were looking up for the Blackhawks. Then it all came crashing down in the second period. Chicago allowed four unanswered goals over the next 40 minutes and the Red Wings took a 4-1 win whilst the Hurricanes topped the Predators. A perfect chance for the Blackhawks to gain ground in the Division, wasted.

•   Nothing changes in the standings. Chicago and Nashville are still four points apart in the Divisional playoff race, but with a win over the Blue Jackets last night, the Dallas Stars inch closer to the Blackhawks, now just one point behind them.

•   Special teams was a factor in the loss, mainly for the Blackhawks’ revamped powerplay look with five forwards on the top-unit not being able to convert on three opportunities last night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you have to move the puck AND your feet on the powerplay to have success. One or the other will not get it done most of the time. The Blackhawks are not in a position to just assume they’ll get their chance on the powerplay, they have to work for them.

•   Last night was just the fifth time all season where the Blackhawks scored the game’s opening goal and did not come away with a single point. (14-5-2)

•   Although the Blackhawks did eventually score a few minutes later, you have to think that the game could have changed even more had they converted on this opportunity earlier in the opening period.

•   Chicago hit three posts last night on significant scoring opportunities. Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.

•   The Blackhawks did get on the board first thanks to Duncan Keith’s third goal of the season, matching his goal total from last year.

https://twitter.com/NBCSBlackhawks/status/1382847535547617287?s=20

•   Keith scored goals in back-to-back games for the first time in over four years with his first period tally last night.

•   If the 37-year-old Keith is picking now to get back to his old goal-scoring ways, all the better.

•   Following the game, Keith spoke to the media about the loss and seemingly had a brush-off mentality to the game.

•   That mentality was felt throughout the postgame press availability from Keith, Dylan Strome, and head coach Jeremy Colliton. The way they spoke about the disappointing result in a 4-1 loss to a team they have dominated this season, while in the thick of a playoff race, didn’t seem to match the gravity of the situation.

•   Maybe it’s just me, I’m not sure, but losing two of your better (best) defensemen and having to give Riley Stillman, Ian Mitchell and Wyatt Kalynuk significant time, while also having Nikita Zadorov have to play 21:24 minutes to lead all defensemen last night, is less of an excuse and more of a cause and effect.

•   Wouldn’t use the term “a good thing” so much there, Dylan.

•   It’s good that they didn’t lose ground to Nashville, but yes they still did. Now instead of 13 games to make up a four-point gap, they have 12. It’s still ground lost.

•   What game was he watching? Detroit game to win last night and the effort from the Blackhawks looked like they thought by stepping on the ice, they had already won. This team doesn’t get that luxury whatsoever.

•   Maybe they need the time off? I know Kevin Lankinen does after starting 17 of the last 20 games for Chicago. He’s been good enough to keep the starters net away from Malcolm Subban, but he is human and he’s going to break down after a while. If The Blackhawks Are riding him to the finish line, he’s going to need the rest.

•   Someone who is possibly not fully human, could be partially super-human, is Sidney Crosby. Check out this incredible sequence from last night’s game in Pittsburgh:

•   Crosby gives up his stick to Brian Dumolin, who then helps start the breakout, where Crosby then has to jump into the play without a stick, then gets a stick from the bench on the fly and eventually scores the goal. Insane. I’ve heard of bench-minors, but how about a bench assist?!

•   Changing gears, we heard prior to the Blackhawks leaving for Detroit, that they had the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine. While we don’t know everyone who got the shot, we do know that at least Jeremy Colliton and now Ryan Carpenter took the vaccine.

•   This is all coming during a time when the Vancouver Canucks are basically pleading for the league to allow them more time to recover from their COVID outbreak, which is being traced to a variant of the virus that no team in the NHL has had to deal with this season.

•   The Canucks were expected to play the Oilers tonight, but that game has since been postponed and the situation is fluid with what the Canucks will have to do to finish the season, if that even happens. For more on it all, check out Thomas Drance’s latest on Vancouver’s handling of the outbreak and what the league needs to learn from it.

•   Switching gears again, a quadruple-Blackhawks birthday today!

•   Yes, THAT Peter Regin.

•   That’s all for today’s notes. Have yourselves a terrific Friday!


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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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