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Enhanced Box Score: Rangers 3, Blackhawks 2 – December 4, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

We talked in the pregame about the connections between the Blackhawks and Rangers tonight. Dylan and Ryan Strome playing against each other and Patrick Kane and Artemiy Panarin playing against each other. It turns out, the Rangers had the right guy in both of those head-to-head matchups tonight as Panarin and Strome each finish with three points and the Rangers top the Blackhawks 3-2. With the loss, Chicago falls to 8-13-2 on the season. The Rangers have won six-straight games overall and eight-straight at Madison Square Garden. They are 10-1-0 in their last 11 games and are just two points back of the Florida Panthers for the top spot in the NHL.

Before the game, we saw that Kane and Panarin still have their (best) friendship going strong.

It turned out that both players would play a key role in tonight’s game. Go figure, right?

Kane opened the scoring for the Blackhawks in the dying moments of the first period after Brandon Hagel batted a puck out of mid-air right to Kane who had a wide-open net to score. The play was challenged by the Rangers, but Hagel made connection with the puck below the shoulder and the goal counted. It’s the seventh time in 11 games under Derek King that the Blackhawks have scored the first goal of the contest.

Kane’s seventh of the season was just his second goal in his last 12 games played, ending a six-game goalless streak. After a low-event first period, the Blackhawks held the 1-0 lead into the second period. But penalties in the second and third periods hindered the Blackhawks the rest of the way.

In the second period, the Rangers would score on the powerplay to tie the game at 1-1 early in the period thanks to Ryan Strome’s fifth goal of the season. Later in the middle frame, it would be Strome and Panarin getting the assists on the 2-1 goal from Adam Fox, potting a loose puck in front of Kevin Lankinen.

Lankinen played well tonight, despite the loss. He made 28 saves on 31 shots faced and kept the Blackhawks alive through a second period that was heavily controlled by the Rangers. Lankinen made eight saves on nine shots faced while on the penalty-kill, setting a career-high in his young NHL career.

In the third period, it would be more controlling of the action by New York, leading to a late-period goal from Artemiy Panarin that would serve as the eventual game-winner for the Rangers.

Panarin’s seventh goal of the season, third point of the night, and team-leading 26th point of the season put the Rangers up 3-1 in the third. Alex DeBrincat would score with Lankinen pulled to make it 3-2 late in the game, a goal coming on a fluky puck squeaking through Alexandar Georgiev to ruin his night just a little bit. DeBrincat’s team-leading 14th goal of the season made it close, but Chicago wouldn’t be able to find the very late equalizing goal and come away with the loss.

This was a game that if you went by what the analytics said, the Blackhawks would have come out the winners in a close matchup. Scoring chances were 20-18 in favor of Chicago at 5v5, 26-24 at all strengths. High-Danger chances were 10-3 in favor of Chicago at 5v5, 12-6 at all strengths. Expected goals-for favored Chicago 1.77-1.29 at 5v5, 2.38-2.26 at all strengths. If not for those pesky actual goals scored, the Blackhawks should have come away with a win tonight.

Chicago is now 8-13-2 for the year, 7-4-0 under Derek King. Yes, I am going to continue to reference back to the record under Derek King because that is the turning point of the season so far for the Blackhawks. There’s not much time for the team to lick their wounds as they head from Manhattan to Queens to take on the New York Islanders tomorrow night. The Islanders lost tonight in overtime to the Red Wings and are a team that Chicago should be favored against since they have not won a game since November 6 and are 0-8-2 heading into tomorrow night’s contest.

Find the full box score here.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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