Blackhawks' Skid Continues, Blues Await, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Blackhawks’ Skid Continues, Blues Await, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

In the first of two games this weekend, the Chicago Blackhawks were in Raleigh on Friday night to take on the unbeaten Carolina Hurricanes before heading to St. Louis today for a meeting with the Blues. With multiple players still in COVID-19 protocols, the Blackhawks were shorthanded again on Friday night.

•   With Frederick Andersen sitting in the second half of a back-to-back for the Canes, the Blackhawks caught a break with old friend Antti Raanta in net for the Canes on Friday night. Making his first start of the season, Raanta looked a touch slow, and the Blackhawks actually looked like they were moving the puck around pretty well early on Friday evening. Jonathan Toews worked his way around the back of the net with former teammate Teuvo Teravainen draped all over him and found Brandon Hagel on Raanta’s glove side. Hagel stuffed it home to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead 6:12 into the first.

•   Toews was behind the net, working on Teuvo Teravainen, which is nice to see from Toews, who has not looked like himself to this point in the season. That’s vintage Toews grunt work behind and around the net setting up looks for others. Hagel, who stuffed it home, worked hard on Friday night and made a few nice plays in this game.

•   Hagel wasn’t listed on the stat sheet on goal number two for the Blackhawks in period one, but he was a part of it by getting dirty in front of the net, setting up Adam Gaudette on the power play.

•   Hagel was also working hard on defense and was in a nice position to block an attempted cross-ice pass from Sebastian Aho. Unfortunately, the puck deflects off his skate right back to the stick of Aho, who flips it by Kevin Lankinen to make it 5-2 Canes.

•   The problem is, for as good as the Blackhawks looked in the first 10 minutes and change on Friday night, the Hurricanes matched their punches with blows of their own, eventually taking a 3-2 late in the first on a pair of goals in 17 seconds. Allowing opponents to score in chunks has been an issue for the Blackhawks this season, as has the next problem this evening; allowing the wheels to come off when they’re chasing the opposition. As soon as Carolina took the lead with the flurry of goals late in the first, the Blackhawks looked like a completely different team.

•   Down by a goal, the turnover bug bit the Blackhawks again, and stop me if you’ve heard this before; Jake McCabe played a direct role in the other team scoring a goal. Sebastian Aho finds Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the odd-man rush that, thanks to the McCabe turnover in the neutral zone, Carolina jumped out to a 4-2 lead near the end of period one. That was all Carolina needed as they cruised to a 6-3 win over the Blackhawks on Friday night.

•   This is what a good hockey team’s locker room looks like after they improve to 7-0-0 on the season.

•   It’s an 0-6-2 start for the Blackhawks, who now have to take on St. Louis in just about six hours. Rough sledding for Chicago, and it won’t be any easier against the Blues tonight. Despite the rough start, Brandon Hagel, who was one of the better players on the ice on Friday night and has been one of the better players all season for the Blackhawks, believes that the locker room hasn’t lost hope and that the team still believes in the guys inside that locker room and their talent despite the historically bad start.

•   The Chicago Bulls will be without their 2020 first-round draft pick Patrick Williams for the rest of the season.

•   And the Chicago Bears will be without Matt Nagy on the sidelines when they host the San Francisco 49ers tomorrow afternoon at Soldier Field.

That’s it for today!

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.