Blackhawks Continue To Rack Up Moral Victories, Gaudette A Keeper? and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Blackhawks Continue To Rack Up Moral Victories, Gaudette A Keeper? and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

As the calendar has turned to May, a time when we are usually talking about playoff hockey, the Chicago Blackhawks are playing in competitive games against teams that are in fact going to the playoffs later this month. Chicago is still fighting and holding onto the idea that they could still make it into the postseason, but with every passing game, with every loss, that playoff dream fades further away. The Blackhawks, bless their hearts, are not going away without a fight, which is what you want to see at this point in the season where the writing is on the wall that it’s over.

•   The loss last night to the Florida Panthers, paired with the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars heading to overtime was the worst outcome possible for the fading playoff hopes in Chicago. With five games to play, the Blackhawks must win all five, have the Predators win none of their remaining four games, and have the Stars only gain a maximum of four points over their last five games for Chicago to make the playoffs. Any tiebreakers would not go in Chicago’s favor.

•   It’s not impossible, but are we really banking on the Blue Jackets beating the Predators in regulation twice AND the Blackhawks sweeping three games on the road against the Hurricanes? I didn’t think so.

•   With last night’s 5-4 loss, the Blackhawks have now dropped five of their last six games (1-4-1) with four losses in-a-row. They have been outscored 28-19 over those six games.

•   A positive from last night was seeing the Blackhawks convert on two of their four powerplay chances agains the Panthers. The last time the Blackhawks had multiple powerplay goals in a game was March 18th against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-2 loss.

•   The resiliency of the Blackhawks coming back from being down 2-0 and 5-2 at different points last night to come back and tie the game 2-2 and make it interesting down to the final horn was great to see. The problem is that they got down 2-0 and 5-2 in the first place.

•   Chicago has had a bad habit of allowing goals in bunches this season and letting games slip away from them. Last night between the end of the second period and beginning of the third period, the Panthers scored three goals in a combined 1:34-minutes with two of the three goals coming in the first 59 seconds of the third period.

•   Defense and goaltending need to improve this year to next year if the Blackhawks are going to be playoff contenders in 2021-22. They have the personnel up-front to make things happen offensively, it’s stopping the puck that needs to be addressed, again.

•   Chicago ranks 16th in the NHL this season in goals scored (144) and 17th in scoring chances-for, but 25th in goals against (165) and dead-last in scoring chances-against. They are also 16th in the league in PDO this season at 0.998.

•   One player up-front for the Blackhawks making a case to stick around longer than this season is Adam Gaudette. With a pair of assists in last night’s loss, Gaudette has one goal and three assists in three games with the Blackhawks and has at least one point in all three games.

•   On the Connor Murphy powerplay goal, Gaudette wins the faceoff, gets to the front of the net and provides a screen for Murphy shoot through. Effective.

•   He also made a great drive to the net and setup on the Alex DeBrincat goal that tied the game at 2-2 in the second period.

•   I’m not saying he’s coming in as a savior of the franchise, but Gaudette has already doubled Matthew Highmore’s offensive production this season and could be a useful wing/center that can play all over the lineup.

•   Gaudette is part of a crowded forwards group in Chicago that is getting harder to decipher who stays and who goes for the 2021-22 season and beyond. Players like Gaudette and Vinnie Hinostroza are making their cases strong for the Blackhawks to bring them back, but you have to make tough decisions eventually. I took a stab at the 2021-22 lineup earlier in April, and The Athletic’s Scott Powers went through the forwards group today. Check them both out!

•   Some small roster moves made this morning as Alec Regula and MacKenzie Entwistle have been recalled to the Blackhawks Taxi Squad.

•   Last night was the last home game for the Blackhawks without fans in the stands, but there were a few friends and family of the Blackhawks players in attendance last night which made the excitement for the May 9th and 10th games against the Stars grow even more. With the return of fans, it appears the 2021 tradition of Patrick Kane flipping pucks to Tommy Hawk is over.

•   It will be missed.

•   Also with fans in the stands last night, the Rockford IceHogs welcomed fans back to the BMO Harris Bank Center with a 3-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

•   Missed hearing those real cheers.

•   That’s all for today. Enjoy your Sunday, folks!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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